The embargo for reviews of the all-new Land Rover Defender lifted today, which is why the internet is awash with them. It’s also the first truly new Defender since Henry VIII was King. So it’s a big deal. Turns out, though, that the new Defender warrants the publicity in its own right as it seems to be damn good. After reading and watching some reviews today, I have a strong feeling that Land Rover is going to eat BMW’s, along with the other Germans’, lunch.
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In its segment is the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class and Audi Q7. All of those cars are around the same price to start, when equipped similarly — hovering around the $60,000-mark — so none of them have a substantial price advantage over the other. However, the Land Rover Defender has one distinct advantage over all of them — it’s cooler.
Say what you want about people that buy rugged SUVs without any intention of actually using them to their ability but the new Defender is icy-cool. It’s a bona-fide off-roading badass and it has the looks to match. It’s butch, square-jawed and tough looking, without being too much. It doesn’t look like it’s trying too hard yet it still lets the world now that it really can go anywhere and do anything. It’s a fantastic looking SUV and one that will absolutely stand out among the crowd of typical Germans on the road.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the new BMW X5 a lot, as well as the Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLE (I haven’t driven the GLE but I do like how it looks). However, the Defender is different. It cuts through the noise of every other premium brand speaking the same SUV language. Not only does it look great but it’s a proper off-roader, capable of tackling the most treacherous of terrain known to man. So it isn’t a sedan with a tall roof, like the others are. It’s the real deal.
Yet despite its off-road cred, it’s lovely on the inside and has a comfortable air suspension. One of the video reviews I watched today claimed its as-standard air suspension to be capable of making a bumpy gravel road feel no more uncomfortable than smooth tarmac. So it’s as luxurious as it is tough.
Sure, its infotainment system still needs work and its electronics might suffer some reliability issues. But customers aren’t going to care much. People are going to buy Defenders up like crazy and I can see German SUV sales suffering because of it.