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Land Rover Defender: Buying guide and review (1991-2016)

Land Rover Defender: Buying guide and review (1991-2016) Classic and Performance Car
Land Rover Defender buying guide Land Rover Defender buying guide Land Rover Defender buying guide
The Land Rover Defender is the modern incarnation of the classic rugged utilitarian vehicle that made the company what it is today. While the Defender as we know it was launched in 1991, it was just an evolution of the original Land Rover – with lineage stretching back as far as 1948. When the final Defender rolled off the line in 2016, it genuinely was the end of an era. 
 
For now, the Land Rover Defender remains without a rugged utilitarian replacement from Land Rover, which means demand for the Defender remains particularly high. It’s easy to fall for the simple charms of a Defender, too. Look at one objectively, and it’s slow, noisy, uncomfortable and extremely cramped – but it’s all these things that somehow make it such an event each time you set off down the road.
 
Which one to buy? 
 
The Defender model was introduced in 1991 and was similar to the outgoing Ninety and One Ten, but powered by the new 200Tdi engine. The Tdi motor was based around the old 2.5-litre turbo with a new aluminium cylinder head, turbo, intercooler and direct injection fuelling. 
 
The later 300Tdi engine was similar. The Defenders were known by their wheelbases of 90 and 110, and the 127-inch became known as the 130 and was built on a dedicated chassis rather than the modified One Ten chassis which had been used on the earlier 127. 
 
Both Tdi engines are highly respected as dependable non-electronic power units, giving higher speed cruising over the Ninety/One Ten mills. Plenty of new and used parts available at good prices, and construction is still simple, though engines are more complex than earlier types. Lots of modification and upgrade kit is available. 
 
The five-cylinder Td5 engine was the last diesel to be designed and built in-house by Land Rover. It was sophisticated and relatively complex, featuring electronic unit fuel injectors. Its electronic engine management was received with suspicion, risking the Defender’s ‘fix it anywhere’ reputation. Td5s are now the most prolific Defenders on the road, testimony to the engine’s long-term reliability, and offering plenty of buying choices. 
 
The Td5 engine gives a significant performance improvement over the Tdi and can be slightly better on fuel. Long-lasting engine, given correct maintenance and proper use. Electronic engine management allows tuning options. Plenty of special models to search for, including Tomb Raiders, SVX and Defender Black. Top end Td5s have high trim levels, electronic traction control and air conditioning. 
 
The 2007-on TDCi is powered by Ford’s Duratorq engines, albeit with lubrication and sealing improvements to cope with Defender’s special duties. Initially a 2.4-litre, followed by the greener 2.2-litre, though both have the same performance output using a variable geometry turbocharger and delivering the business via a six-speed manual gearbox. 
 
Body options include 90 and 110 hard tops and station wagons, 2-door pick-ups and 4-door double-cab pick-ups. The 130 remains in the line-up. The 110 utility wagon is an ideal combination with full four-door access plus the conventional van load space at the rear. Prices are holding strongly and are likely to continue that way. Bespoke versions by specialist builders are increasingly popular and becoming abundant on the used market. 
 
This is the sophisticated Defender. Improved ride, comfort, heating, forward-facing rear seats, a more comprehensive dashboard and an engine with long term reliability if it is serviced properly. Plenty of tuning and customizing options from independent suppliers. Top of the range models will replace the family car, and go anywhere in the world. 
 
Sadly, this model does not have the bulkhead vent flaps which are so distinctive a part of the Defender brand. Happily, this ultimate evolution of Defender is as perfect as it gets. 
 
Performance and specs
 
Land Rover Defender 90 TDCI
Engine 2198cc, four-cylinder turbodiesel 
Power 122bhp @ 3500rpm 
Torque 265lb ft @ 2000rpm
Top speed 90mph
0-60mph 14.7seconds 
Fuel consumption 28.3mpg 
CO2 emissions 266g/km
Insurance group 12
Gearbox Six-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2360mm
Length 4040mm
Width 1790mm
Height 2182mm
Weight 1889kg
 
Common problems
 
• The Tdi Defenders are now elderly and many have covered high mileages. Examples that have been well maintained and used properly should last well, but many are hacked, have towed or been off-roaded hard, and some are modified badly. 
 
• Check for engine smoke and crankcase pressure when lifting the oil cap, all of which suggests a worn engine, though they’ll run a long time like this. Check all the transmission controls work, including diff lock and low range, and beware of excessive play in the rear diff above the normal driveline slop. 
 
• Chassis corrosion is still an issue, though late models fare better, but still check every inch with a screwdriver or tapping hammer. Expect to find aluminium corrosion spots on the doors, and on the lower body panels where corrosion is often hidden behind chequer plate. 
 
• Bulkheads are more corrosion resistant on TD5 and later models, and the chassis is improved. Holes can still appear anywhere, so check all of the chassis. 
 
• Chassis and bulkhead corrosion can be terminal, at least for those components, rather than the whole vehicle. 
 
• Some 200Tdi engine parts, including cylinder heads, are becoming difficult to source. Low security means a good one might get nicked. 
 
• On Td5 models, listen for whistling from the engine under load, which may be a warped exhaust manifold or broken studs. 
 
• Misfire from the engine can be caused by oil entering the injector harness, but might also be down to injector sealing problems (or head crack on early models) especially if accompanied by a smell of fuel on the dipstick. 
 
• Fuel leaking down from the back of the engine needs a new fuel pressure regulator. 
 
• As with all Defenders, the Td5 can seem to go forever and 200,000 miles on the clock need not put you off if there is evidence of good maintenance. 
 
• Rattles and bangs suggest the suspension needs re-bushing, but drivetrain and engine vibration may by a worn dual-mass flywheel. Look for body corrosion on lower panels doors, door shuts and window frames. 
 
• Land Rover has steadily improved the Defender over the past 24 years, so it’s not surprising that the current evolution is seriously sorted, and there is little to check beyond the routines that apply to any vehicle. Bodywork corrosion appears to be eliminated by new paint processes and galvanised parts, and the chassis is showing no concerns thus far. 
 
• Early TDCI vehicles had problems with power steering pump seal failure, clutch springs and fuel system ventilation, but these have all been addressed by Land Rover and it is unlikely that any vehicles would show these problems now. 
 
Model history
 
1991-1994: 200Tdi, 2.5-litre turbocharged, direct-injection diesel. 107 bhp, 195 lb-ft torque. LT77S five-speed transmission. 
1994-1998: 300Tdi, 2.5-litre turbocharged, direct-injection diesel. 111 bhp, 195 lb-ft torque. R380 five-speed transmission. 
1998-2007: TD5, 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel, 122 bhp, 221 lb-ft torque. R380 five-speed transmission, permanent four-wheel drive.
2007-2012: TDCI, 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, 122 bhp, 221 lb-ft torque. Six-speed MT85 gearbox, permanent four-wheel drive. 
2012-on: TDCI, 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, 122 bhp, 265 lb-ft torque. Six-speed MT85 gearbox, permanent four-wheel drive.
2016: Production of all Defender models comes to an end.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.landroveraddict.com – Land Rover Monthly magazine’s website
• www.landyzone.co.uk – Land Rover Forum
• www.landyzone.co.uk – Land Rover Forum
 
Summary and prices
 
As production spans such a large period, prices are understandably varied. While production might have stopped, it’s still possible to find brand new Defenders. You can expect to pay £50k plus for one in top condition with minimal miles – Especially if it’s one of the Heritage editions. Rough TDCI models start at around £6200, up to around £17,000 for something with plenty of life left in it. 
 
The thing is, Defenders are generally in high demand, which means there are few bargains out there. You might be able to find an early 200Tdi for close to £2500, but don’t expect something this cheap to be anything less than very rough. Solid cars start nearer to £3500, and a genuinely clean example will fetch closer to £6000. A perfect example on a recent galvanised chassis could cost up to £12,000. The later 300Tdi models are generally valued a little higher, but condition is more important. 
 
If you want a faster and more refined drive, the Td5 is the best choice. These characterful turbocharged engines are considerably more desirable than earlier in many ways, and although less reliable range from £3500-£5000 in poor condition, to £12,000-£17,000 in the best shape.
Land Rover Defender buying guide Land Rover Defender buying guide Land Rover Defender buying guide
Last updated: 21st Jul 2016
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Land Rover Defender cars for sale

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Land Rover Defender
2495 95500 GBP
  • 2014 Land Rover Defender 90 County

    POA POA

    Xenon Headlamps, Front Arm Rest, Extended Seat Runner, UK Supplied, Immaculate Example! Alpine Stereo, CD Player, Front & Rear Rubber Mats, Ventilated Disc Brakes, 4 Seats 2+2, Passenger Seat Map Pocket, Front Mud Flaps, 2 Front & 2 Rear Speakers, Heavy Duty Suspension, ABS With ETC, Front & Rear Anti-Roll Bar, Tow Ball Drop/Plate, Heated Rear Windscreen, Electric Front Windows, Rear Steps, Brunel Grille, Convenience Pack, Remote Central Locking, 6 Speed Manual.

    • Mileage: 11455 mi
    For sale
    Romans International
    01737 742 805 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Land Rover Defender 2.4 110 County high capacity PickUp

    £14,500 £14,500

    08 57 Land Rover Defender 110 County High Capacity Pick Up In Corris grey Metallic With black cloth trim 2 Seats Colour coded roof Boost alloys x5 New set of grabbers 235-85-16 tyres x5 Side steps Low pack Mud flaps front and rear Bumper end caps Rear canopy on stick frame CD Player Electric windows Fully carpeted LR overmats Quality set of black seat covers Drink tray Remote alarm with central locking Been waxoyled regularly Service pack 2 sets of key and fobs Comes fully serviced Full MOT Complete Valet Absolutely stunning condition throughout 2 owners Covered 110000 miles Must view to appreciate £14500 no vat AWAITING PREPERATION £14500.00 NO VAT Please fill out the form below and we will contact you shortly. Please let us know the vehicle you are enquiring about. Between 3 and 12 characters. Between 3 and 60 characters. Must be a valid email address. Between 5 and 100 characters. Between 1 and 100 characters. Min 5, max 5000 characters. Please complete the captcha. Copyright © 2017 Silkstone 4x4. All Rights Reserved.

    • Year: 2008
    • Mileage: 110000 mi
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 110

    £19,995 £19,995

    Air Conditioning, Half Leather, Heated Seats, 7 Seater, Side Steps, Parking Camera, CD Player, Quick-Clear Screen, ABS, Traction Control, Power Steering, Electric Front Windows, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Tow Pack, Rear Wash/wipe, Metallic Paintwork, Alloy wheels, 4x4, Service history * Viewing available 9am-5pm Mon - Sat only *

    • Mileage: 82000 mi
    • Engine size: 2402
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 2005

    £10,000 £10,000

    Landrover defender 110.000 miles m.o.t,jan 18 Electric windows,central locking,four new tyres,cloth seats no rips or tears,cubby box mono steering wheel.few age related marks but in all a lovely defender

    • Mileage: 110 mi
    • Engine size: 2495
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 110

    £11,995 £11,995

    Air Conditioning, Traction Control, ABS, CD Player, Electric Windows, Remote Central Locking, Power Steering, Remote Alarm, 4x4, Full service history County Hard Top with air-conditioning and ABS. The internal racking and shelves could all be removed to create more space. Probably the nicest of this specification Defender for sale at the moment. * Viewing available 9am-5pm Mon-Sat only *

    • Mileage: 87000 mi
    • Engine size: 2402
    For sale
  • 1997 LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90

    $89,500(£69,398.30) $89,500(£69,398.30)

    --British Racing Green with Grey interior, Black floors with Black removable soft top, 50,328 miles from new, Automatic transmission. The last year of the Land Rover Defender 90 NAS in the U.S. is arguably the best vintage of this vehicle. The aluminum-bodied Defender was introduced in 1994 and after a hiatus for 1996, it was brought back in 1997 for a final run. During its run of three model years, fewer than 7,000 were brought into North America. All 1997 models had the upgraded and cleaner-burning 4.0L V-8, which yielded 182 horsepower and 233 lb-ft of torque, almost identical to the power output of the 3.9L it replaced. Also new to the Defender for 1997 was the electronically operated ZF four-speed automatic transmission; no manual was offered in its final model year. This three-owner Defender 90 has been well-cared for as evidenced by its current condition/quality. Throughout the years, it has been treated to many options including rear light guards, Hella fogs on front grill guard, modern stereo, and more. The quality and condition of both the interior and exterior will be appreciated by anyone who knows and lusts for the ownership of a D90! This Defender 90 is complete and r

    • Year: 1997
    • Mileage: 50328 mi
    For sale
  • 1995 LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90 TDI WAGON

    $89,500(£69,398.30) $89,500(£69,398.30)

    --Coniston Green with Alpine White roof with Grey interior, 37,000 miles from new, 5-speed R380 manual transmission, 300tdi engine, NAS (North America Specification). Factory options include: Air Conditioning, Factory Glass Sunroof, Freestyle Alloy Wheels. Land Rovers are generally known as the first car that reached most of the developing parts of the world. It's a merited reputation where these go-anywhere vehicles have rarely met an obstacle they could not overcome. The Defender 90 follows the grand tradition of these tough-as-nails Land Rovers. The Defender 90 Wagon, new for 1995, featured an Aluminum Hardtop, Alpine white roof, sunroof, padded headliner, sliding side rear windows, four rear jump seats, full carpeting, ash gray interior seating surfaces and a full size rear door complete with washer, wiper, and defrost. It came with full-time four-wheel drive and high-low range selection. The 300Tdi engine was an evolution upon the earlier 200Tdi with many improvements and refinements for better on road performance. This 1995 Land Rover Defender 90 Wagon has had 3 owners, covering only 37,000 miles. It was a complete build by East Coast Rover (ECR), restored on galvanized frame

    • Year: 1995
    • Mileage: 37000 mi
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 2.4 County Double Cab PickUp TDCi

    £17,990 £17,990

    This Ever popular Land Rover 110 Crew Cab pick-up is finished in Izmir Blue with Black Interior. Specification includes Alloy Wheels, Radio CD, Remote Central Locking With Alarm and Immobiliser, Electric Front Windows. Vehicle Protection includes Genuine Checker Plated Sills, Wing Tops, Rear Light Guards, Side Steps, Protection Coated Load Area, Drop Plate Tow Ball. A Good, Clean, Solid, Well Maintained Vehicle PRICE IS PLUS VAT. £17990+£3598=£21588 Classic Marques have been in Harrogate, North Yorkshire for over 20 years supplying quality handpicked second and used cars, expertly sourced through our buying department who have over 100 years experience between them. We do not generate automatic car valuations or finance quotes which you may receive from third party advertising companies imposed on you whilst viewing our cars. Above or below market values automatically produced by these sites do not reflect specifications and condition and will substantially affect prices quoted from these automated sites. We will only discuss part exchange prices and finance once we have spoken to you and have all the facts required to professionally value your car. We are open seven days a week an

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 73308 mi
    For sale
  • LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90 TD HARD TOP 2015

    £41,976 £41,976

    Late Defender less than 1,000 miles! Leather/Alcantara Interior - Seats, Doorcards, Dash, Centre Console, Roof Lining, Leather/Alcantara Wing Back Sport Seats, 16" RVS BLSYTEM Wheels, Pioneer Sat Nav with Reverse Camera, Pioneer Sound System, MOMO Leather Steering Wheel, KBX Front Xenon/LED Lights, KBX Rear LED Lights, LED Running Lights, KBX Front Grill, KBX Body Vents, Side Steps, Privacy Glass, Bluetooth Handsfree, Cobra Alarm System, Electric Windows. VAT Qualifying. View by Appointment please get in touch, credit and debit cards accepted, finance available, non real time finance examples, HPI clear

    • Mileage: 789 mi
    • Engine size: 2.198
    For sale
  • Land Rover: Snatch 2A Armoured : Defender 110 RHD

    £9,250 £9,250

    Just arrived, direct from the UK MoD, uprated & improved Land Rover Snatch 2A armoured Land Rovers. These were fully refurbished in 2005 and brought up to a higher standard than the previous model. The drive train has been improved and full air conditioning added. The vehicles were re-chassised by Otokar at this time & a new heavy duty chassis fitted, along with new engine, gearbox & axles. They were in effect re-manufactured to new standards at this time. These vehicles are ideal for police forces, internal security organisations, overseas governments and private defence contractors. Specification: 300 TDi Diesel Engine R380 Gearbox Uprated Heavy Duty Front Vented Disc Brakes & Rear Disc Brakes Salisbury Front and Rear Axles Power Steering S-2 Glass Reinforced Phenolic Resin Composite Shell. Front Grille protection for Radiators Front Wing lighting clusters are fitted with protective grilles. Rear Lighting clusters are fitted with protective grilles. Air Conditioning 235/85/16 Michelin off Road Tyres equipped with Tyron Bands on Land Rover XD Heavy Duty Rims Top Cover Sliding Hatch Wire cutter for top cover protection Snorkel for Fording Air Intake protection Twin opening rear doo

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 20575 mi
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 110 Adventure Station Wagon TDCi [2.2]

    £47,975 £47,975

    DEFENDER 110 ADVENTURE finished in FUGI WHITE, DISTINCTIVE BLACK BONNET with FULL PREMIUM BLACK LEATHER. The limited number produced of the adventurer edition make the low mileage example desirable. The high specification of the 7 Seat version includes 7 comfortable high back premium leather seats all with 3 point seat belts, Air conditioning, Heated seats, Heated screens, leather Door panels, fully carpeted. The Alpine sound system provides CD Radio and Bluetooth connection for your phone. the Seats can be folded in various configurations to provide cavernous space .The Defender has Land Rovers famous 4WD system with split ratio high and low ratio gear drive train to get it out of the most difficult situations on your next adventure. The Defender will adequately cope with the towing requirement to accompany you, your caravan, horsebox, or boat. The Adventurer is fitted with a full length Land rover roof rack and rear steps to access your equipment, the Adventurer has its specific alloy wheels snorkel and detailing , the interior has nice touches with leather stitched gear knob and handbrake cover, Alloy handles and finishing. The lights are LED and Bulls eye headlights. Still unde

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 7915 mi
    For sale
  • LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90 AUTOBIOGRAPHY

    €95,500(£87,449.35) €95,500(£87,449.35)

    BRAND NEW CAR WITH ONLY DELIVERY KILOMETERS Brand Land Rover Type Defender 90 Autobiography Color Bering Grey/ Santorini Black duo-tone paint Interior Black Year of build 2016 Price € 95.500,- (+ VAT) 2016 LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90 AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 of just 180 Autobiography models worldwide produced Built by Land Rover for the person who would like to have the most unique Land Rover Defender ever built by the Land Rover factory Highly collectable example Completely new car with just delivery kilometers on the clock (approximately 35km) Sadly, 2016 is set to be the end of the road for the Land Rover Defender. Which is almost ironic considering that a road coming to an end has never stopped a Land Rover before. The company does plan a replacement for the Defender and has teased concepts like the DC100, but the uproar it caused resulted in Land Rover parking the concept in a backroom somewhere in Solihull and heading back to the drawing board. The Defender and the Series I, II and III models that came before it are major automotive icons – right up there with the Porsche 911, the Mini, the Beetle, the Mustang, the Aston Martin DB5. This icon status means that there are a lot of people in

    • Year: 2016
    For sale
  • LAND ROVER DEFENDER 2.4 90 XS STATION WAGON 3d 175 BHP

    £29,950 £29,950

    Features For more info on this vehicle call our showroom on 01825 841148 Classic TMD Lowering Kit - Including Progressive Springs, Koni Shocks, Front & Rear Anti Roll Bars TMD450 Tuning Package, Hi Flo Intercooler with Cast Tanks, Engine Remap - additional 50BHP & 90NM Torque Full Stainless Steel Exhaust System with Sports Cat. TMD Classic Grille & Headlight Surrounds. TMD Side Runners Vision-X Led Headlights with Halo. SVX Style Led rear lighting. Classic TMD 18 inch Alloy Wheels with BF Goodrich Tyres. Classic TMD Dials & Clock, Premium Half Leather seats, XS Cubby box with High Lid, Black Alston Headlining, Momo Millenium Sport Steering wheel with Slimline Boss. Security Door Hinges Alpine DAB Radio with G type Speakers Front & Rear. Engine Refurbished with New Pistons, Big end shells, Re-bored, and a new Head Gasket. All Extras are brand new and have only just been fitted. Vehicle supplied with:- 12 Months Warranty - 12 Months Mot & a Full Service 90 Boost Alloy & General Grabber, ABS/ETC, Air Bag Driver, Air Bag Passenger, Air-Conditioning, Air-Conditioning - Unspecified, Alarm - Unspecified, Alarm/Immobilisation, Anti-Lock Brakes, Central Door Locking - Remote, Centre Rear Se

    • Year: 2007
    • Mileage: 47000 mi
    For sale
  • Land Rover: Snatch 2A Armoured : Defender 110

    £8,250 £8,250

    Just arrived, direct from the UK MoD, uprated & improved Land Rover Snatch 2A armoured Land Rovers. These were fully refurbished in 2005 and brought up to a higher standard than the previous model. The drive train has been improved and full air conditioning added. The vehicles were re-chassised by Otokar at this time & a new heavy duty chassis fitted, along with new engine, gearbox & axles. They were in effect re-manufactured to new standards at this time. These vehicles are ideal for police forces, internal security organisations, overseas governments and private defence contractors. Specification: 300 TDi Diesel Engine R380 Gearbox Uprated Heavy Duty Front Vented Disc Brakes & Rear Disc Brakes Salisbury Front and Rear Axles Power Steering S-2 Glass Reinforced Phenolic Resin Composite Shell. Front Grille protection for Radiators Front Wing lighting clusters are fitted with protective grilles. Rear Lighting clusters are fitted with protective grilles. Air Conditioning 235/85/16 Michelin off Road Tyres equipped with Tyron Bands on Land Rover XD Heavy Duty Rims Top Cover Sliding Hatch Wire cutter for top cover protection Snorkel for Fording Air Intake protection Twin opening rear doo

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 20161 mi
    For sale
  • LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110 TDCi COUNTY STATION WAGON 2014

    £33,000 £33,000

    2014 64;;Aintree Green with Black Cloth - Tow Ball, Cold Climate Pack Including Heated Seats and Windscreen, Sunroof, Light Guards, Last serviced on 02/12/2016 at 9,645 miles, Full dealership history, Perimetric and Volumetric Alarm, Single Slot CD and Radio with MP3/AUX Speakers, Alloy Wheels-16in, 5 Seats - One Private Owner. Never been off-road.

    • Mileage: 14000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.198
    For sale
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