2024 Land Rover Defender 110S County Proves Capability Is Its Own Luxury

In the beginning, way back in 1948, pos-war Land Rover had one model cribbed from the American Jeep.  Its aluminum-intensive body covered a chassis engineered for war, farms, and crawling across deserts.  Seventy-six years on, we have the more luxurious Discovery series and the stupid-exclusive Range Rover, but if you still want an all-capable SUV that borrows from its upscale siblings, you’ll consider the 2024 Land Rover Defender 110S.

County Retro Vibe

In County trim, there’s a definite retro vibe with white alloy wheels, side stripes, and Tasman Blue roof over Santorini Black paint.  You can also see the classics in round LED headlamps, silver bumper inserts, and raised roof with side windows.  There’s a lot of plastic in the facias, but like the originals, also a lot of aluminum in the bodywork.  I especially like the hood patches that look like step plates, taillamps with surfaces flush mounted and the streamlined forms.  There’s an obvious connection to history, but with a decidedly forward direction.

Land Rover purists may scoff at the comfy interior, but there’s a lot of tradition in there too.  While many surfaces are soft and stitched, exposed bolts, rubber floormats and synthetic materials beg to be washed down after adventures.  Yet, grained leather heated seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic glass roof, and deep Meridian audio bring luxuries – as do tri-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, and illuminated treadplates.

If there’s a downside, it’s the touchscreen infotainment system.  The glossy dash screen delivers access to audio, phone, and navigation functions, but tapping into it without becoming friendly with the owner’s manual will have you cursing in both Yiddish and Pig Latin.  Land Rover can do better, but at least devices connect easily through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to avoid that drama.

The safety suite is considerably easier to understand as adaptive cruise, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, and rear cross path alert protect the flanks and human cargo.

Smooth Wafting Performance

Driving approaches divine.  Smooth seamless power flows from the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six and mild hybrid system that acts as an electric supercharger.  It’s swift in its actions, accelerating from 0-60 mph in just 5.8 seconds, and formidable as that power routes to the four-wheel-drive system and electronically active differential through an eight-speed automatic transmission.  I suppose it’s efficient for a nippy off-road tank that can tow 8,200 lbs., but fuel economy rated 17/20-MPG city/highway is far from frugal.

If the Defender simply used that power like a mountain goat or splash mud like a piggy, it would be impressive, but its air suspension adds both capability and comfort that translate to actual paved streets and highways.  It can be raised for serious off-roading, and lowered for easier entry, but it also allows the big wagon to waft down the highway and soak up potholes like a Range Rover.  Beyond that, the Terrain Response System configures the powertrain for all types of conditions.  With turbo-electric power and magic carpet ride, capability equals luxury.

The Land Rover Defender may indulge fuel, befuddle infotainment, and cost a pretty penny, but I’d get over all of that if it appeared as a gift in my driveway.  As expected, it has very luxurious prices that start at $60,600 for a Defender 110 and rise to $82,053 as-equipped.  Competitors include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, GMC Yukon, Ford Bronco and Lexus GX.

Storm Forward!

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