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. 

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