Land Rover Defender (1983-2016) review – MPG and running costs

An all time classic

Evo rating
Price
from £25,000
  • Utilitarian icon that demands every bit of your attention to drive
  • Utterly exhausting to drive, ancient, leaky and hopeless on road

Officially the 90 Station Wagon Defender returns a combined fuel economy figure of 27.7mpg, which underlines the Defender’s age as much as anything else. Emissions of 266g/km put it firmly in the 'expensive' tax bracket, which means a £500 hit each year for road tax - or the same as a 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 Range Rover.

That mpg figure is theoretical, too, so don’t be surprised if it’s more like late teens and early 20mpg on an occasional longer run given the Land Rover’s weight and aerodynamics.

Service intervals are just 12000 miles (or annually) and the Defender is not offered with one of Land Rover’s one payment servicing packs. Tyres should be cheap though and if you’re handy with the spanners you could always service it yourself, as it's not the most complex of machines. Being a Land Rover there are plenty of independent specialists that will look after it for you for less than main dealer prices, too.

In spite of their compromises, Defenders tend to hold their value well and the run-out Heritage versions landing in showrooms throughout 2015 will likely fair even better, though we’re not sure they’ll be investment-grade metal for a while yet - if ever. 

Most Popular

Mercedes S-class 2021 review – the ‘best car in the world’ just got better
Mercedes S-class – front tracking
Mercedes

Mercedes S-class 2021 review – the ‘best car in the world’ just got better

It may be slipping out of fashion, but the institution that is Mercedes’ S-class is only getting stronger
22 Jul 2021
Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110
Lotus Emira
Lotus

Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110

Lotus's first all-new car for a quarter of a century comes AMG power and sub-£60,000 price tag
13 Jul 2021
New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback – front tracking
Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster

After months of tech insights, we now finally get to see the all-new Audi RS3 in its finished form
19 Jul 2021