By on July 29, 2021


2022 Defender 90

There are more than a few readers looking at this installment of The Right Spec and opining that the best way to spec a Land Rover – any Land Rover – is to not do so at all. Given some, uh, challenges that have befallen early adopters of the rebooted Defender, they may have a point.

Nevertheless, this thing turns more than a few heads and stylists in Coventry certainly got it right when putting pen to paper (or mouse to screen, as it were). For 2022, the Defender’s base price has jumped a bit; but, as we’ll see, the best models are much further up the food chain.

Before you all scream bloody murder about the six-figure SUV which has been selected, note we are seeking what we feel is the best spec for a model – all things considered – and not necessarily the cheapest one. Never has this ethos been more on display than with the Defender V8, a machine whose sticker price is more than double that of the entry-level trim. We’re sticking with the Defender 90 for this purpose, thanks to its agility and lighter weight (cue everyone saying no one actually takes a $100k rig off-road). The 90 has better proportions, too.

The mighty V8 between its front fenders is supercharged and cranks out 518 horsepower to create a machine that is apparently capable of scampering to 60mph in less than five seconds. The ZF 8-speed automatic should be more than stout enough to withstand the mill’s 516 lb-ft of torque without reducing itself to 10,000 oily bottlecaps. That is 22-inch rubber on all four corners, a decision at which your author would normally chuckle if not for the fact that purveyors of true off-road rubber, such as Nitto, now make their gnarly offerings in these sizes when replacement time rolls around. Land Rover offers 20-inch off-roads from the factory for $350.

2022 Defender 90

All V8-equipped Defenders come with the Terrain Response 2 system from the Defender X, along with air suspension and an electronic active diff. All of this kit should get you into (and out of) the fox hunt with ease. Those cold and rainy British mornings are aided by a heated windshield and heated washer jets, permitting drivers to peer forward in the gloom while enjoying the Windsor Leather interior. And, yes, the FitBit-like ‘activity key’ shows up here in case your fox hunting clothes don’t have pockets.

Exterior design packages are expensive and rather useless, though we do wish Land Rover would offer paint colors more expressive than ones that look like London fog. Paying extra money for an infotainment touchscreen that’s only 1.4 inches bigger than the standard 10-inch Jumbotron is a waste of money, but the front undershield costing $650 is a smart investment.

2022 Defender 90

No one is arguing spending over $100,000 on a two-door Land Rover with a history of difficult build quality is the best idea anyone’s ever brought to the table. But if you are keen on proudly waving the Union Jack while hanging out in a pair of muddy boots, this is The Right Spec.

Please note the prices listed here are in United States dollars and currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less (obscene market conditions notwithstanding). Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.

[Images: Land Rover]

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34 Comments on “The Right Spec: 2022 Land Rover Defender...”

  • avatar

    Good God, Matt. Just buy a f*cking Range Rover.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “the best way to spec a Land Rover – any Land Rover – is to not do so at all”

    You were reading my mind.

    What’s with the virtual photos – is this a concept car, or is this what the LR configurator presents to show ‘your’ vehicle in the wild?

  • avatar

    The V8 models are $100K???

    I love a powerful 2 door SUV more than just about anyone, but even I have limits.

    This made sense at $60-70K, not at 100.

  • avatar

    Defender 110 SE “Base” trim in Pangea Green
    + 3.0L I6
    + Off Road Tires
    + Black exterior package
    + 3rd row jumpseats (I’m about the only person on the internet that likes 3rd row jumpseats).
    + Black headliner
    + Towing package (includes most of the offroad things as well)
    + Air suspension (seems to be a requirement on the tow/offroad things)
    + Rubber mat and cargo protection package

    Total with destination : $76,060

    Now that is quite pricey, but I guess it isn’t much worse than any other 400hp luxury SUV. Plus there is the added benefit that Jalopnik commenters and Doug DeMuro will think you’re cool compared to if you bought a Cayenne or Yukon AT4.

    Personally I think I’d take the towing capacity hit and get a GX460.

  • avatar

    The only spec of RR you should acquire is a lease. Everything else is a demonstration of self hatred and a show of resentment toward money.

  • avatar

    BOF 2 door V8 SUV – YES, YES, YES!!!
    $100K+ – NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

    I’d rather take last-gen Full-size Bronco, Blazer/Tahoe, Ramcharger and resto-mod it and id probably be under 100K. Or buy a short bed Pick up and have it modified – Hello Dave Kindig?

  • avatar

    Is this really THAT much more capable than a Wrangler or Bronco?

    • 0 avatar

      Decidedly less capable I’d say. Especially with those tires.

      It is more capable of making an impression in the school drop off line, which of course is its primary purpose.

    • 0 avatar

      Much less capable than the Bronco or Wrangler. It will be interesting to see how many tires it takes to get it out.

    • 0 avatar

      Off-roading I think the Wrangler and Bronco beat it.

      Towing capacity is very good on the Defender though (up to 8200lbs compared to just 3500max on the Bronco and Wrangler).

  • avatar

    I would want a base 3 row with front bench and a few offroad options. That’s it. But this would only be if I had real money and could have a car just for kid transport and weekend gravel road driving.

  • avatar

    One thing that has most surprised me about the online “enthusiast” community is the overwrought concern about reliability. Obviously if you don’t care about cars you get a RAV4 or whatever and focus on the things you actually value.

    In terms of overwrought concerns – the online estimate of the difference in reliability between any two models is probably an order of magnitude larger than it actually is. Cars either go 300k miles without an oil change or they are lemon lawed after 6 months – and nothing in between.

    And of course there is always the fox and grapes stone throwing at things people can’t afford.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d care less about reliability in enthusiast vehicles if there weren’t so many choices offering similar performance without the tradeoff.

      Back in the 80s people put up with 10K mile engine rebuilds and the like from Ferrari and Lamborghini because there was no other way to get the performance. Now, I fully expect to get as trouble-free an ownership experience with my 640 hp Viper as I would with any mass market vehicle.

      I’m hard pressed to think of a vehicle that’s so superlative in it’s class that I’d put up with needing regular dealer visits just to drive it over its more reliable competition. Clearly other people have different standards for that decision.

      I do agree that the difference in reliability is smaller from best to worst than most people seem to think.

      • 0 avatar

        But if you look at various sources best case with a RAV4 you’re looking at 1 issue per year after 3 years of ownership. At the other extreme you have Land Rover at 2.2. So you’re looking at roughly a problem ever year with the RAV4 and ever 6 months with the LR. That’s something, sure. But one extra problem a year isn’t that big of a deal. And not nearly the impression you’d get from the B&B.

        • 0 avatar

          What’s the issue being taken care of in those cases and what is the standard deviation on those numbers?

          • 0 avatar

            Before we even get into finer points of the statistics, would you agree that the B&B tend to have an inaccurate view of the number of issues various vehicles would have after 3 years of ownership?

            The reality is RAV4 1 LR 2. I think a poll of the B&B would say 0 and 5…or 7. The B&B consensus is the RAV4 is vastly more reliable than it is and the LR is vastly less reliable than it is.

          • 0 avatar

            “would you agree that the B&B tend to have an inaccurate view of the number of issues various vehicles would have after 3 years of ownership?”

            No I would not agree. Not unless someone gives me an actual data set to analyze.

            “The reality is RAV4 1 LR 2.”

            I’m certain you know enough about how statistics work to know the issues with that sentence.

          • 0 avatar

            “I’m certain you know enough about how statistics work to know the issues with that sentence.”

            Not really. Toyotas have on average 98 problems per 100 vehicles in the last 12 months after 3 years of ownership. Jaguars have 189 problems per 100 vehicles and LRs have 220 per 100 vehicles.

          • 0 avatar

            You have a data point but it hardly gives the entire picture.

            -No standard deviation
            -No quartiles
            -Nothing given related to problems per mile
            -No discussion of downtime to the owner
            -No discussion of problem costs

            But in the end, I think people should buy what they want within their budget. If this Defender does it for you then go for it. In 2018 I bought a Kia Stinger GT instead of a Camry V6 or a used Lexus because I felt what the Kia offered in better acceleration and RWD dynamics was worth the potential durability trade offs. I might end up with a Hellcat or 392 as my next car even though my experience with my last Dodge was a disaster.

          • 0 avatar


            Those are all valid things to explore but a lot of that info is proprietary.

            To your other point if someone wants a Stinger rather than a IS that’s great. But if they don’t get one because they mistakenly think the Stinger will require 3-5 dealer visits a year and the Lexus 0 that’s a suboptimal outcome.

        • 0 avatar

          “That’s something, sure. But one extra problem a year isn’t that big of a deal.”

          But my point is, what am I getting for that inconvenience?

          Even leaving aside ajla’s question about the severity of the average Toyota/Lexus issue vs the average JLR issue, is the Land Rover that much better than an equivalent Lexus? I mean, I like the uniqueness of the 2 door-V8 combo, and I’d probably give it a test drive if it wasn’t $104,000. But knowing nothing specifically about the vehicles, it seems like the Lexus would give me 95% of the driving experience with 50% of the worry about being stranded.

    • 0 avatar

      “is the overwrought concern about reliability.”

      We still need to get to work and don’t have limitless free time. That doesn’t necessarily mean “buy a RAV4” but it might cause concern over buying something with last place quality rankings. Especially when like Jack said there are reasonable alternatives.

      “And of course there is always the fox and grapes stone throwing at things people can’t afford.”

      That idea would work better if people didn’t have such a Lexus hard-on. It isn’t like an LX570 or LC500 are cheap vehicles.

      As far as JLR is concerned, just read what their own CEO has had to say:

    • 0 avatar

      JLR has a longstanding and well-earned rep for quality issues, unfortunately.

  • avatar

    I’ll take mine Bronco. It’s amazing how well Ford captures some of the most prestigious British names at half the price and at least similar capabilities

    Would I buy a knock-off Rolex? If it looked as good and kept good time, you bet I would

  • avatar

    The only winning move is not to play.

  • avatar

    This new “Defender” is desecration of the legendary Defenders of yore.

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