The oft-admired Land Rover brand continues to add excellent rides to its popular roster. Add in the welcome reassurance of its iconic 4-wheel capability, overcoming various climatic and terrain challenges, to continue adding to the brand’s allure as a superb choice for the sedate urbanite and off-road adventurer.
A terrific new option is the much-anticipated 2024 Land Rover Defender 110 SE. The Defender had a great run beginning in 1984, suspended in 1997 (to North America) before its welcome resurrection in 2020.
The Defender 110 SE strikes a Goldilocks “just right” footprint, melding design notes from the siblings while ramping up the tech with enough room to comfortably schlep families and handling whatever mayhem Mother Nature throws at it.
The tested Defender 110 SE adds the robust V8 engine. You ride confidently high in the saddle, surrounded by a robust shell and upscale interior materials. In essence, the Defender is comfy and luxurious while feeling nearly bulletproof with its safety and off-road capabilities.
My ever-curious neighbors immediately noticed the Defender 110 SE adorned in beautiful Carpathian Grey Satin Protective Film ($1,000). It’s an eye-catching look. While there’s no mistaking its heritage, this Defender casts a more modern, aerodynamic silhouette with just enough glossy black and silver/grey accents providing the perfect contrast. Exceptionally bright LED headlights (with superlative Auto High Beams) surround the new mesh grille. Land Rover says the headlight design is meant to re-create the feel of a compass with breaks in the LED to represent the four main directions. The cool rear Led lights and conversation-starting puddle lights add to the allure.
Tasteful rectangular black skylights for rear passengers add to the eye candy. I found myself (along with others in the parking lot) admiring it from near and far. Optional 20” Off Road rubber and alloy 5-spoke Satin Grey Finish rims look terrific. Integrated quad exhausts complete the masculine motif. Suffice it to say, it’s a crowd-pleaser.
The Defender 110 SE is powered by a 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine, delivering ample power at 493hp/450 lb.ft. of torque to scoot 0-60 in 5.2 seconds. Sport mode kicks up the RPMs for more spirited driving but I found the regular drive mode good enough to zoom up on ramps. It’s a bit gas thirsty at 14/19, yet I squeezed about 17 mpg overall – not bad for a 5,700 lb. warrior. It will also tow up to 8,200 lbs.
As with the entire Land Rover four-wheel drive line, this sublime cargo carrier is all about confidently navigating to your destination no matter the obstacle. With an abundance of custom terrain settings in the All-Terrain Progress Control, the Defender 110 SE puts any nervous driver at ease by automatically adjusting to on- or off-road conditions. In fact, the Air Suspension/Adaptive Dynamics raises the ride from 4.9 to 11.5 inches of clearance and will navigate through a water height of nearly three feet! That is some serious water wings. It’s a worthy pet trick at your next soccer game.
The Defender offers ABS brakes, Hill Descent Control (HDC), Roll Stability Control (RSC), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), Hill Start Assist (HSA) and All-Terrain Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) when facing grass/gravel/snow, mud/ruts and sand. That’s a slew of acronyms, but suffice it to say all are worthy when called upon.
Yet, for such an off-road beast, it’s surprisingly calm on asphalt, cruising extremely well. There’s Normal, Sport and Manual shift modes upon request inside the eight-speed transmission. The able suspension allows you to carve the turns, feeling extremely planted.
Even with all those driving attributes, the 2024 Defender 110 SE amps up the wow in the man cave cocoon. Luxurious appointments abound with excellent materials, lovely, grained leather seats and Torx screws in the doors for a rugged yet comfy cabin. The 18-way power heated and cooled front seats are some of the most comfortable I’ve experienced, and as stated, you ride mighty tall above the fray.
The dash is nicely laid out with updated, clearer displays. The patina-colored 11.4” infotainment screen is delightfully quicker in response – a great improvement over the previous “laggy” configurations. They are bright and easy to read. Even the gear shift is off the middle console to allow for more storage there if needed.
You’ll notice tasteful attractive trim throughout and ambient interior lighting options. Improved aerodynamics and insulation keep the interior library quiet. The tester had a convenient deep refrigerated drink compartment (what I would choose to do for everyday use).
The roofline is tall and the expansive panoramic folding cloth moonroof shade unfolds early to the rear, giving passengers an illuminating open-air feel. Windowsills are blissfully low enough to comfortably rest your elbows. The lower doorsills are watertight, so you won’t soil your pant legs when entering some H20.
Rear seats are heated, easy to enter and exit, and the Rear Cooling Assist is mighty helpful during the hellish North Texas summers.
Head-Up-Display with speed sign recognition and navigation is available on the windshield to keep the peepers safely on the road. The high-def Overhead Camera gives important views when parking in tight spots. A bonus feature is the full camera in the rear-view mirror. With the high rear seats and spare tire on the rear, visibility is a bit compromised, but the crystal-clear camera view is completely unobstructed (going three lanes across). Genius.
Cargo room is good to shlep gear at 34 cu.ft. behind the second row and 78.8 cu.ft. behind the front seats. Copious storage shelves in the dash hold all kinds of road trip knickknacks and multiple cup holders with storage bins for every seating position. The split rear seats fold but not flat (unless you remove the seat cushions). Multiple golf bags easily fit. A cool rear trunk hatch opens sideways.
The Pivi Pro Infotainment system includes NAV, Rear-View and Surround cameras, satellite radio, Bluetooth phone and mp3 music files and Voice Activation.
The responsive infotainment via a faster processor delivers near immediate response and the displays are ultra clear. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto seamlessly connect with your Bluetooth.
The tester housed the impeccable Meridian 14-speaker audio system. Combined with the improved cabin acoustics, the sound is superb, and you can preset stations across all formats. Bluetooth transmission is clear.
The 2024 Defender 110 SE starts at $93,000. Yes, the options can quickly raise the sticker cost, but Land Rover’s target audience tends to value extravagance, technology and secure 4-wheel drive. Thus, this Defender continues holding the mantle as the optimal luxury off-road warrior. You’d be wise to try one on for yourself.
Golf Bags: At least two
Curbside Appeal: Gorgeous mix of off-road warrior and urbanite pizazz
0-60: 5.2 seconds
Gas Mileage: 14/19. Observed 17 in spirited driving
Must-Haves: Head Up display, Satin Protective Film,
Warranty: 4-year/50,000 miles
Base Price: $93,300
Price as Tested: $113,988
Who Buys It? Families desiring upscale refinement, modern tech and performance
Finish Line: Another stupendous Land Rover choice to consider
Test-drive the 2024 Land Rover Defender 110 SE Park Place Land Rover DFW