Tiff Needell Reviews 2020 Land Rover Defender On and Off the Road

After Richard Hammond had a go in the all-new Defender, Tiff Needell is much obliged to give his thoughts on that very same Defender. Seriously, just check the license plates! But as opposed to Richard’s criticism, Tiff defends the unibody sport utility vehicle for an understandable reason.

Speaking of body-on-frame models of old, our protagonist remembers how much he hated driving the Defender on the road for “more than a dozen or so miles.” Land Rover Defenders from that era definitely aren’t luxurious, and the ride quality isn’t comparable to the air suspension of the newcomer.

Once in the driver’s seat, Needell can’t escape the feeling that he’s in something different from the previous generation of the Defender and the Land Rover Series from days long gone. The heritage design elements such as the exposed screw heads and chunky grab handles “are just token gestures,” though. Make no mistake about it, “this car is all about luxury.”

As far as the driving experience is concerned, “this is nothing like the Defender of old. This is an enjoyable family SUV.” Right after that line, Tiff corrects himself by adding “sorry Land Rover, four by four.” Reading between the lines, the people behind the Defender wanted the Defender to appeal to a much wider audience than the body-on-frame model. Given the high starting price of the newcomer, profit margins had a huge say as well.

At 43,625 pounds sterling for the short-wheelbase version with the mild-hybrid and twin-turbo diesel Ingenium engine, there’s no denying Land Rover is gunning for different customers. Compare that price to 23,100 pounds sterling for the body-on-frame Defender in 2016, and you can clearly tell how much has changed in such a short amount of time. But does it surprise you? Lest we forget, demand for SUVs is at an all-time high.

Tiff also takes the newcomer off-road, worrying about the fancy wheels, but the Landie does a good job in this scenario without breaking a sweat. As for the verdict, Mr. Needell gives the Defender his blessing.

Still, something’s been bugging me about the whole review. As one YouTuber puts it in the comments section, “is this a car review or an advertorial?”

Article Credit: Mircea Panait
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