Exploring the new Land Rover Defender 110 X Dynamic SE

  • Land Rover Defender

In the modern world we are spoilt for choice with old and new vehicles. In the realm of rugged, off-road vehicles there are plenty of manufacturers, but few names carry the same weight as Land Rover Defender. For decades, Land Rover has been compatible with adventure and their latest addition, the Defender is by far no exception. In this blog, I am going to cover some of my feelings towards this iconic piece of engineering and explore why some enthusiasts have strong emotions to this new era of Defenders when compared to the classic models of the past.

The Land Rover Defender 110 X Dynamic SE boasts an impressive array of features and specifications that make it a strong contender in the off-road segment. There is a few engine options but the ideal off-roader would have to be the 3.0-litre inline-six-cylinder turbocharged engine, which delivers a potent combination of power and efficiency. This is mated to an 8 speed auto box which is seamless when shifting through the gears. Selecting neutral on the shifter allows you to engage low range at the press of a button. Off-roading with this Land Rover has proven that it’s equipped with the latest in off-road technology, including a Terrain Response system, which optimises vehicle settings for different terrains, ensuring a smooth and capable ride on everything from mud and rocks, to sand and snow. In my time of using the loan vehicle, I had taken it through mud, sand and even water. I found very little to complain about with its capabilities however, using the vehicle with the road tyres fitted restricted its off-road performance. This is less than ideal but the Defenders complex Terrain Response system seems to hold its own when trying to move forward in these off-road situations.

Going anywhere in an old Defender can be extremely fatiguing especially when you are above the 6ft mark. Space within the cab is limited and the materials used are definitely of an agricultural spec on most of the models. The new Defender boasts a luxurious interior with a sense sophistication, featuring high-quality materials, advanced infotainment systems, and comfortable seating for up to five people. This however has been designed in a way that makes you feel like it would stand the test of time with high use and little wear. Land Rover have used little design cues that remind you its still a Defender and not the Range Rover you might first assume. Land Rover seem to have prioritised safety with features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and emergency braking, providing peace of mind during both on-road and off-road adventures. The headlight technology within it amazed me every time darkness came around. The automatic full beam which illuminates the road perfectly in front of you was enough to make driving this large 4x4 a breeze in the dark.

I think Land Rover’s design team clearly centred its project around modernising a classic Defender while retaining its rugged DNA. They have set out to combine the iconic design elements of the original Defender with cutting-edge technology and comfort to cater to a broader more “modern” audience. Iconic design elements with the new Defender retains the boxy, upright stance that made its predecessors instantly recognisable. It’s a deliberate nod to its heritage which also includes other key and very notable similarities. For example, the dashboard inside takes me back to my very agricultural 300tdi 90 model from 1996. Iconic grab handles and the built in cubby box used as part of the centre console make it feel like you are looking at something very familiar. For me, Land Rover are clearly celebrating the timeless design that has captivated enthusiasts for generations.

The world can feel like a big rat race at times, traffic getting increasingly busier day by day and being comfortable seems very important. Spending time unwillingly, in traffic, or on your daily commute doesn’t seem like much of an issue inside the cockpit of the new Defender. The Meridian sound system plays harmony that soothes the soul or when turned up, it unleashes a crisp, immersive surround sound. From driving the Defender over 4 days and nights its clear that Land Rover’s approach to the Defender’s capabilities has been at the centre of their drawing board. The Terrain Response system and various driving modes allow the vehicle to handle diverse terrains and conditions effortlessly. The Defender 110 X Dynamic SE offers a refined interior with premium materials and advanced technology, acknowledging that many owners use it as a daily driver, not just an off-road machine. The materials however do not feel like they would compromise you keeping the interior looking fresh. When you have a four legged companion covered in the environment of your adventures, this is very important when choosing a suitable vehicle. This models wipeable surfaces, dark colours and durable materials give you that Defender feeling.

Modern conveniences such as the very clever camera systems that allow you to view the immediate surroundings of the vehicle, make life and driving a more positive experience. The ability to watch your front wheels while navigating steep declines over the brow of a hill top is something I would love to have on my 2008 Defender. Its a very clever system that genuinely aids your driving ability, however, keeping these clean and clear is important for accurate use. Puddle lighting when you open your doors at night remind you that you’re in a Defender with the front end image of the vehicle your driving illuminating on the ground. This was a novelty but a memorable one which serves no purpose other than giving you some additional foot lighting before stepping in or out of the vehicle.

Being connected on social media has allowed me to follow Defenders and their owners closely having some great in depth debates regarding the arrival of the modern Defender. I have seen many different opinions on Land Rovers new addition to the range of vehicles. Many die hard Landy fans have not welcomed the new defender because it “lacks” the utilitarian properties that have been so useful across the years that Land Rover made Defenders. I personally find myself on the fence with this view as its a very nice vehicle that deserves the respect this heavy price tag demands. Using the vehicle as a tool might seem absolutely crazy, but in the same breath its the right vehicle for the job. The drop down tow bar at the press of a button keeps the vehicle looking smart on the exterior whilst making it 100% available to perform tasks such as towing a trailer or even having a bike rack mounted in seconds. The rear boot space of the vehicle has a very durable checker plate made from plastic, so doing weekend chores or filling it with tools keeps it in line with the utilitarian truck we all know and love. Accessories are available to expand storage space and even open up options of using the vehicle in an overland scenario by fitting a rooftop tent to a roof rack and having a snorkel fitted to the engine. In my opinion it has all the qualities of a modern 4x4 that I would personally look for when browsing the market.

Leaving the Defender after 4 exhilarating days of getting to know more about it, was no easy task. I was soon reminded that driving this modern masterpiece is a luxury comparing it to the 110 I own. It has left a lasting impression on me, that has created a new and more open view to what is perceived as a good 4x4 vehicle. What’s lost in classic looks and basic engineering is gained with a modern approach to comfort and capability, all while adhering to the new era of emissions and safety specifications that car manufacturers have to abide by when designing vehicles. The real question is can Land Rover eventually change the opinions of the strong hearted enthusiasts of the Land Rover community?

Written by: Samuel Coltman-Bates, Guest Editor

Written by Samuel Coltman-Bates Guest Editor
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