Defenders assemble!
CAR|December 2021
Following a glowing review of the Defender P400, we finally get our hands on a duo of diesel Defenders for a comprehensive group test …

Following a glowing first impression of the petrol powered Defender in our December 2020 issue, we've long wanted to test the diesel-powered Defenders. Although the inline-six and recently introduced V8 petrol models are appealing, it is the oil burning variants that should prove more popular locally. Recently, a duo of diesel Defenders - the 90 D240 and 110 D300 - assembled at the CAR offices for a comprehensive test.

DEFENDERS, DEFINED

The 90 and 110 tested here was specified in entry-level S, with the addition of the Adventure package and top-line X spec respectively. Access the cabins (via keyless entry in both) and it's familiar second-generation Defender fare.

Both models feature Jaguar Land Rover's Pivi Pro 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, replete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; interactive digital driver's display, dual-zone climate control; 3D surround-view camera, and wade-sensing monitor. Six airbags and Isofix anchorages are included in the list of standard specification. X trim upgrades to a head-up display, heating and cooling functionality for the front pews, climate for the rear passengers, a Meridian surround-sound system, Driver Assist pack (the S features standard cruise control), ClearSight rear-view mirror and Matrix LED headlamps (compared to the S' LEDs), among other big ticket items.

DIMENSIONS OF DEFENDERS

Bar the seemingly glitzy approach of our Defender 110 X test unit's exterior appointments and the more old-school look of the Defender 90 press car, it is the difference in exterior dimensions that makes the biggest impression. Viewed alongside its short-wheelbase sibling-nose to nose - it immediately becomes apparent just how sizeable the 110 is. Front to back, the Defender 110 comes in at 435 mm longer than the 90 and, rather interestingly, if you were to put a measuring tape between each of these Defenders' fore and aft axles, the difference in distance would be the same, with the 110's wheelbase measuring 3 022 mm and the 90's 2 587 mm.

Thanks to its extended bodywork, the long-wheelbase Defender offers more generous luggage capacity and utility space. With our Defender 110 press car's third row of seats folded into the floor, its boot swallowed 408 litres of our industry-standard measuring blocks and 1 708 litres was available for utility purposes. Stacked in a Tetris-like fashion, only 176 litres of our ISO blocks managed to fit into the Defender 90's box-shaped luggage compartment, while its utility capacity measured 552 litres less than that of its bigger brother.

The 110's luggage compartment is also easier to load, thanks not only to its standard loading height of 871 mm, but the standard fitment air-suspension setup that can be lowered at the press of a button in the boot. The 90's loading height is 902 mm. Fortunately, the 90 seen here was equipped with air suspension.

With tape measure at hand, it seemed the Defender 90's demure boot compartment allowed for more rear legroom. Although the Defender 90's rear passenger compartment is not as quickly accessible as the five-door version, once inside, rear passengers have 42 mm more kneeroom than in the Defender 110. Interesting. Yet, rear headroom in the latter, larger SUV is more at 948 mm versus the 90's 883 mm.

Upfront, with the Defender 110 X's 14-way adjustable captain's chair dialled to its lowest setting, 914 mm of headroom was available in the 110. Equipped with only a partially electric driver's pew, our Defender 90 test unit offered 917 mm of headroom.

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