Land Rover Defender (1983-2016) review – interior and tech

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

Tech is low in the Defender; the stereo still fits into a DIN socket it’s that ancient, though at least you can plug your iPod into it to help drown out some of the unwanted noises. There’s air conditioning on some but it’s more fridge door open cool than the meat chiller the farm’s livestock will end up in. Forget electrically adjusted mirrors on any model and not all get electric windows, a radio or alloy wheels either. 

If the exterior with its exposed ladder chassis betrays the Defender’s vintage, so too does the cabin. Not only is the packaging atrocious, with the driver perched on a limited-adjustment seat near to the door, but it hales from a time pre-ergonomics. There’s not a rounded edge in there, with the exception of the steering wheel, which is positioned more like one in a van than a proper car.

Exposed Allen key bolts underline its utility, not used here ironically as a design feature, while the gearstick juts out of the floor like a lever in a railway signalman’s hut. Ventilation is poor and the materials are all hard, shiny and the buttons huge. Forget airbags, too, as the Defender doesn’t have any.

Short-wheelbase 90s come with four seats, the 110 seating as many as seven, while the Defender’s one-time party trick of seating up to 11 (uncomfortably it must be said) has long gone as the old side bench seating is no longer available.

Find used Land Rover Defender's on the Classic and Performance Car site here.

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