2023 Land Rover Defender 110 P400e X-Dynamic S L663
It was the vehicle that experts said was impossible to replace, and critics casted doubt as to whether it would sell, questioning who would actually buy it.
And while its predecessor was usually bought by hardened enthusiasts and farmers, it’s more a question of who won’t buy this latest Defender, as it has such broad appeal. In fact, it’s a regular in the top ten best sellers list. Originally launched in 90 and 110 guise, you’ll be able to read elsewhere in this magazine about the new elongated 130 editions.
Here we test the most eco-conscious plug-in hybrid version that marries up a 19.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack, 141bhp electric motor and a 296bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Combined, the powerplants develop 398bhp, hence the P400e model name.
Firstly, let’s throw some figures around – 59g/km is the CO2 emissions that it emits, while 109.5mpg is the quoted fuel economy on the combined fuel economy cycle. There’s the ability to travel up to 27 miles using electricity alone and acceleration to 62mph occurs in just 5.6 seconds. That’s astonishing for a vehicle that weighs 2.6 tonnes. It’s more than 5 metres long and 2.1 metres wide, and yet it doesn’t feel like it when you’re getting busy with the throttle down a curvaceous back road. The Defender shrinks around you and is incredibly agile for its size. Well weighted steering, neatly contained body roll and excellent grip levels all conspire to plaster a smile across the driver’s face. And despite its new age electrification, this Defender can cut it in the rough stuff, equally as well as its petrol and diesel sister cars. There’s just one downside, it can only tow 3,000kgs, compared to 3,500kg on the Derv-powered vehicles. The petrol engine is nicely refined and you’ll only hear it when you’re driving in a press-on manner. Switching between electricity and the combustion engine is seamless, and the eight-speed automatic transmission is a good match, with smooth changes aplenty.
Buyers can choose all kinds of different seating combinations with the petrol and diesel editions, but not with this plug-in hybrid version, which is restricted to five-seats only. The cabin is stylish, while being hewn out of rough and ready materials that are built to survive punishing life, whether that be from the family or at the hands of business operators. Squidgy bars across the centre of the dashboard, as well as door tops, adds some tactility to the otherwise hard, robust plastics. Everything is designed to be wiped clean, and there’s a huge array of different storage options all around the cabin. The 10-inch Pivi Pro infotainment system is perfectly placed for viewing, and as well as being easy to operate with classy looking fonts, it features Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth smartphone connectivity.
We like the gear selector that sprouts out of the dashboard and the fact that Land Rover hasn’t lumped all of the ventilation controls into the touchscreen, there’s separate controls on the console, with a selection of buttons arranged around the edge to control every function that you’ll find on the Defender. Space is excellent both front and rear, and there’s 786 litres of luggage room in the back that opens up to 1,875 litres with the rear seats folded down. You’ll need to open the heavy side opening tailgate first, though, which means reversing into parking spaces isn’t really an option if you want to still be able to gain access to the boot once you’ve been shopping.
Forward vision is excellent thanks to a commanding view from the driver’s seat and the provision of large door mirrors. Over the shoulder vision is impaired by the chunky rear quarter pillars, and the view out of the back is masked to some extent by the rear mounted wheel. So it’s pleasing that a 360-degree camera system is provided as standard, along with parking sensors front and rear. It takes the guess work out of manoeuvring in tight town spaces, though make no mistakes, this is still one hunk of a vehicle.
The plug-in hybrid P400e models are offered with the five-door 110 bodyshell only, but with a choice of five different trim levels – X-Dynamic S, X-Dynamic SE, X-Dynamic HSE, XS Edition and X. It wouldn’t be a Land Rover if there were not endless ways of personalising the vehicle, and it’s the same with this Defender P400e. As an example, our car came with almost £8,000 worth of extras, including 20-inch alloy wheel with off-road tyres, partial leather seats, a panoramic roof, digital rear-view mirror, electronic active differential and premium LED headlights. Be careful when you’re specifying your own Defender as the costs can mount up very easily, but we reckon it’s worth buying, at any price.
FACTS & FIGURES 2023 Land Rover Defender 110 P400e X-Dynamic S L663
- Price £72,200
- Built in Nitra, Slovakia
- Codename L663
- Generation 2
- Platform D7x
- Bodystyle 5-door SUV, 5-seats
- Layout Four-wheel-drive
- Powerplant 1,997cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbocharged petrol with electric motor and 19.2kWh lithium-ion battery pack
- Transmission 8-speed automatic ZF 8HP22
- Max power (engine) 296bhp @ 5,500rpm
- Max power (electric motor) 141bhp
- Max power (combined) 398bhp
- Max torque (engine) 295lb ft @ 1,500-4,400rpm
- Max torque (electric motor) 203lb ft
- Max torque (combined) 472lb ft
- Top speed 119mph
- 0-62mph 5.6secs
- CO2 emissions (WLTP) 59g/km
- Economy (WLTP combined) 109.5mpg
- Fuel tank size 90 litres
- Range (electric motor) 27 miles
- Recharge time (Domestic socket/7kW home charger/50kW rapid charger) 9 hours 12 minutes/2 hours 30 minutes/30 minutes
- Insurance group 43
- BIK rate (2022/2023 tax year) 16%
- Size (length/width with mirrors) 5,018/2,105mm
- Boot space (min/max) 786/1,875 litres
- Kerb weight 2,600kg
- Max towing weight 3,000kg
- Euro NCAP crash rating
- Warranty 3 years/Unlimited miles
- Wheels (Repair kit/spacesaver/full-size) Standard/no/no/no/no
- What’s Hot Looks great, drives great, is great. Roomy inside. Quick off the mark. Eco-conscious drivetrain. Strong residual values.
- What’s Not Side opening tailgate is heavy. Over the shoulder vision is hindered by thick side garnish. No longer built in the UK.
- Also consider Ineos Grenadier Station Wagon Fieldmaster Edition, Mercedes-Benz G 400 d AMG Line Premium Plus
- Verdict You can’t help falling in love with the Defender after climbing aboard. It’s one of the most desirable SUVs on the planet.
- Rating 9/10