2012 Land Rover Defender 90 Review
Owner review by: Gavin
Make: Land Rover
Spec level: Standard
Engine capacity: 2.2-litre
Fuel type: Diesel
Owned: 3 years 4 months
Uses: Off-road | Work | Touring & camping
PROS: Looks | Toughness | Practicality
CONS: Quality | Safety | Noise
Would you buy this car again? YES
For sure the Defender isn’t for everyone but I love it. I could write a big list of everything that might be considered wrong with it but that would sell it short.
Mine is has the 2.2 litre turbo-diesel which Landy folk refer to as the “Puma” which was the code name for the Ford engine type when it was being developed. The Ranger can be bought with the same engine and it powers thousands of Ford Transit vans around the world.
It’s got plenty of pull for a little engine, although there is a bit of lag on take-off. Perhaps the hardest thing to get used to is the weird throttle that delays the engine returning to idle when the clutch goes in. It makes it difficult to drive smoothly without pausing between each change. Can be very annoying.
Mine has developed a few clunks in the drivetrain which I’m told could be one or both of the diffs or the transfer case, which has already been replaced once due to it leaking and whining.
There were a few water leaks when new as well, but the dealer seems to have fixed those.
Being a short wheelbase (90 inch) Defender the ride is fidgety but that doesn’t mean I don’t love driving the Landy and people clearly love seeing it out on the road. It’s so much fun that I can forgive it it’s various quality issues and compromises.
The interior is nothing special, but the air-conditioner works and the Alpine stereo (with sub-woofer) has a reasonable sound. It’s really all about the driving experience.
My two biggest beefs would be the really small (50 litre) fuel tank and the lack of space in the rear. It’s fine for around town and short trips, but my mates are doing a couple of outback trips a year these days and the 90 struggles to fit all of my gear.