If you want a tough SUV but not a Landie, the new 2 door defender might be just the ticket. It’s a bit expensive, but it has a nice balance of functionality and technology inside.
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The interior is a mixture of soft-touch leather and rugged-feeling plastics on the one hand, with some exposed screw heads and body-colour metal panels on the other. There’s a lot of attention to detail, too, with a big central screen and Land Rover’s Pivi Pro infotainment system.
Performance figures are hard to get right, but the new Defender feels much better on the road than the old model did. Compared with the beam axle bounce, body-on-frame shudder and slow steering response that characterised Defenders in previous generations, this one feels incredibly agile through corners.
On the open road, it doesn’t quite have the same level of refinement, but it does feel comfortable and smooth over long distances. It has some great safety kit too, such as a blind-spot warning system and radar-guided cruise control, which is handy when driving on a motorway or in busy city streets.
You’ll need to be a bit brave to take the Defender off-road, but that’s not going to stop you enjoying it when you do. The nimbleness of this air-equipped model is more than enough to take you off the beaten track and into the woods, and it’ll still be fun to drive on a fast gravel or sandy road as it’s not frightened by the beam axle bounce and body-on-frame shudder that the old Defender could sometimes deliver.