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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
6250 165000 GBP
  • LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90 Autobiography

    €95,500(£80,344.15) €95,500(£80,344.15)

    1 OF ONLY 180 EXAMPLES PRODUCED Brand Land Rover Type Defender 90 Autobiography Color Metallic Dark Grey/ Santorini Black duo-tone paint Interior Ivory Year of build 2015 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 Only 4.000 Km’s since new 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 the world who’ll get very upset if the design team at Land Rov

    • Year: 2015
    For sale
    The Houtkamp Collection
  • 2001 Land Rover Defender 90 County Td5

    POA POA

    The Land Rover Defender was launched in 1948 and, incredibly, production only finished in January 2016 after a continuous run of 67 years. Outwardly, there is little to distinguish the post-1983 vehicles from the Series III Land Rover. A full-length bonnet, revised grille, plus the fitting of wheel arch extensions to cover wider-track axles are the most noticeable changes. Internally, coil springs offered a more comfortable ride and a permanent four-wheel drive system derived from the Range Rover featuring a two-speed transfer gearbox with a lockable centre differential. A modernised interior and a new series of progressively more powerful and modern engine characterised things under the skin. The County 4x4s were sold as multi-purpose family vehicles featuring improved interior trim and more comfortable seats. The Tdi engine finally allowed the Defender to cruise comfortably at high speeds, as well as tow heavy loads speedily on hills while still being economical. In 1998, the Defender was fitted with an all-new 2.5-litre, five-cylinder in-line turbo/diesel engine, badged the Td5. This striking example was once the property of the Land Rover Special Vehicles department as all vehi

    • Year: 2017
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 110

    £18,000 £18,000

    16'' Sawtooth Alloy Wheels, High Level Spot Lights, Snorkel, Off Road Mud Flaps, Electric Front Windows, Side Steps, Tow Pack, CD Player, Alarm, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Cloth Upholstery, Head Restraints, Rear Headrests, Power Steering, Colour Coded Body, Radio, 16'' Alloys, 4x4, Full service history We are proud to offer this fantastic example Land Rover Defender 110. The car has been well maintained with service receipts at 13k miles, 28k miles, 37k miles, 46k miles, 51k miles and 56k miles. Whilst preparing the car we have fitted 4 brand new B F Goodrich all-terrain tyres, a new clutch and had the gearbox professionally refurbished to ensure the new owner has many trouble free miles of motoring. Prior to collection, the car will get 12 months MOT, serviced and also undergo our multi point inspection. This car comes as standard with a gold cover warranty.

    • Mileage: 73703 mi
    • Engine size: 2402
    For sale
  • LAND ROVER DEFENDER 2.4 90 COUNTY HARD TOP

    £13,950 £13,950

    Features For more info on this vehicle call our showroom on 01825 841148 Defender 90 County Hard Top finished in Tamar Blue, Tubular Front Bumper, Steering Guard, Side Runners with Chequer Plate, Nas Rear Step, Alloy Wheels Alpine Lights, Remote Central Locking, Electric Front windows, Full Headlining, Cloth Front Seats, Hard top side panels, Rubber loadspace mat. Vehicle supplied with:- 12 Months Warranty - 12 Months Mot & a Full Service Alarm, Alloy Wheels - 16in, CD Player, Electric Windows - Front, Immobiliser Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the above information but errors may occur. Please check with a salesperson.

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 101000 mi
    For sale
  • LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110 LE STATION WAGON - FULL LEATHER - 7 SEATS

    £29,950 £29,950

    Features For more info on this vehicle call our showroom on 01825 841148 Bespoke Leather Interior (Ruskin), Alpine Double Din Stereo - 2 tone paint, Half Black, Half green both metallic, ADV 18 inch wheels with BF Goodrich All Terrain Tyres ,Old Man Emu Shocks & Steering Damper, TMD front & Rear anti roll bars, Black Grilles, wing top vents, & Side vent, Xenon Headlights, LED additional Lighting, Panoramic Glass, TMD Single arm Spare wheel carrier, TMD cross member plate, Nas Rear Step, TMD gloss black mirrors, TMD Black chequer plate to, wings, sills & corners, Heated Front Screen, Heated Front Seats, Electric Front Windows. Interior Full Ruskin Antique destressed Nappa Leather interior to all 7 seats, Dashboard & Cubby box. Lamb's wool seat backs & cubby box interior, Alpine double din with Gloss Black Fascia, Alpine R type speakers, Momo Trek R with slimline boss, Suspension Lowered by 2 inches. Vehicle supplied with:- 12 Months Warranty - 12 Months Mot & a Full Service Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the above information but errors may occur. Please check with a salesperson.

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 72000 mi
    For sale
  • LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90 Autobiography

    €95,500(£80,344.15) €95,500(£80,344.15)

    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 90 Heritage Edition

    £46,950 £46,950

    The Land Rover Defender (initially called the Land Rover Ninety and Land Rover One Ten) is a British four-wheel-drive off-road utility vehicle developed from the original Land Rover Series launched in June 1948. In October 2103 Land Rover announced that production would end in December 2015 after a continuous run of 67 years. Production finally ended on 29 th January 2016 when the last defender, H166 HUE, rolled off the production line at 9:22. One of the last few cars to come of the production was named the Defender ‘Heritage’ which is finished in the iconic Grasmere Green metallic with a contrasting white roof. Other old school additions include the heavy-duty steel wheels, painted hinges and finally the left-hand wing gets a black and white HUE 166 badge, which is a direct reference to the registration plate of the oldest surviving Land Rover, affectionately known as ‘Huey’ by supports of the brand. The Heritage Defender here at Hofmann’s is a 2016 “65 Plate” covered a mere 8,991 miles. Supplied new in January 2016 by Shukers Land Rover this extremely rare edition has 2 owners and boasts upgraded Alpine stereo, Tow Bar, Heated front Seats, Heated Windscreen, Remote Central Locki

    For sale
  • 1997 Land Rover Defender 90 convertible

    POA POA

    1997 Land Rover Defender 90 convertible, S/N SALDV2248VA114529, Beluga Black with black/grey updated Exmoor seats, full safari cage, full updated Rovers North soft top with zip out windows, full time 4 wheel drive with high-low range, automatic transmission, air conditioning, 2 Euro-style side facing rear bench seats for 4 with seat belts, multi-spoke black alloy wheels with new BFG All Terrain tires, front brush guard with lamp guards, 2 brush guard mount Hella driving lights, side steps, rear lamp guards, updated stereo with Sirius satellite radio, front wing, hood and lower panel diamond plating in black, heated front seats, heated windscreen, owner’s manuals and spare keys, one of just 215 1997 Beluga Black D90 convertibles imported by Land Rover North America. this low mileage D90 arrives the week of May 1st.

    • Year: 1997
    • Mileage: 37400 mi
    For sale
  • LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110 HI CAP Hi Capacity PickUp Td5

    £7,495 £7,495

    **** NO VAT! **** 5 Speed Manual, 3 Denim Vinyl Front Seats, Rear Ladder Rack, Power Steering, Radio Cassette, Adjustable Towbar. Genuine, Clean Original Condition. Supplied with 12 Months MOT, and 3 Months Warranty on Engine, Gearbox and Axles. Part Exchange Welcome. UK Delivery Arranged. Road Tax Costs £240/Year. www.hallambros.co.uk (Family Firm, Est 1932)

    • Year: 2001
    • Mileage: 102000 mi
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 2000

    £6,250 £6,250

    Smart short wheel base pick-up, red. with Ifor Williams back and grille.  Full MOT, recent service, clean cab and seats, sound chis, good tyres plus 5 spare boost alloy wheels with good tyres available if required.  Lively engine, perfect tug. 

    • Mileage: 108000 mi
    • Engine size: 2495
    For sale
  • Land Rover: Defender 90 300TDI RHD

    £10,750 £10,750

    Increasingly rare Land Rover 90 Hard top, right hand drive (RHD), featuring: 300TDI 2500cc engine R380 5 speed gear box Transfer box with Hi/Lo ratio & centre diff lock Good chassis & bulkhead Hi back Vinyl Seats Disc Brakes Soft type steering wheel PAS (power assisted steering) Michelin Tyres Full size spare wheel Rear Step NATO hitch There are no known faults with the vehicle having been used in the Royal Air Force which is in good original condition structurally and cosmetically. Viewing is highly recommended prior to purchase and to arrange an appointment to view please contact our Sales Team on 01476 861361 Our Ref : LC14325

    • Year: 2017
    • Mileage: 86459 mi
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 2.4 110 XS Utility Wagon TDCi

    £17,750 £17,750

    Defender 110 xs utility in silver with black half leather seats, electric windows heated seats, heated windscreen, remote central locking with both sets of keys chequer plate to sills and wing tops, rear wash wipe, radio c/d player, centre cuby box with cup holders, air conditioning, electric windows, full service history last done January 2017, mot to September 2017, this car drives perfect no rattles or clunks when changing gears superb car well looked after, this is a directors car so please call for an appointment to make sure the car is on site. Classic Marques have been in Harrogate for over 20 years supplying quality handpicked 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 requ

    • Year: 2011
    • Mileage: 102456 mi
    For sale
  • 1993 Land Rover NAS Defender 110 #41/500

    $165,000(£127,413) $165,000(£127,413)

    1993 Land Rover NAS Defender 110 #41, S/N SALDH1289PA917860, Alpine White with grey cloth seat upholstery, full time 4 wheel drive with high-low range, original 3.9 litre V8 gas engine, 5 speed manual transmission, 9 passenger seating with 4 side facing rear seats with seat belts, full NAS external roll cage, full sleeper rack and ladder, 2015 refurbishment to include galvanized chassis, later generation dash board with updated heating and defrost, later style under-dash air conditioning, new front and middle row seats in charcoal grey cloth by Exmoor of UK, ARB front bumper and brush guard with integrated 9000lb Warn Winch, 2 brush guard mount Hella lights, Euro style side steps, Tuffy Box center cubby, owner’s manuals and spare keys, fresh major servicing and sorting at Rover specialist CitySide Garage, NAS Defender 110 #41 one of just 534 North American Spec 110s imported by Land Rover North America.

    • Year: 1993
    • Mileage: 33200 mi
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 110

    £19,995 £19,995

    Air Conditioning, Half Leather, Power Steering, Traction Control, ABS, Tow Pack, Side Steps, Rear Wash/wipe, Metallic Paintwork, CD Player, Electric Front Windows, Alloy wheels, 4x4, Full service history High spec Utility Station Wagon, Air-con, abs, traction control, half leather seats, alloy wheels. central locking, electric windows. Price includes VAT. ( ie £16,662.50 + £3,332.50 vat = £19,995 total) * Viewing available 9am-5pm Mon-Sat only *

    • Mileage: 61000 mi
    • Engine size: 2402
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 2.2 110 XS UTILITY

    £28,800 £28,800

    Landrover 110 XS IN Coris Grey with Half Black Leather Heated Seats. Nice Speck this one All the usual Xs extras Air con,ABS ,E Windows , Central Locking , Traction control Boost Alloys ,Alpine Sterio with Blue tooth ,etc Plus Rear camera ,Abar, Light Gaurds, Rear Tints Tow Pack ,EGR Wind deflectors ,KBX Grill covers ,Snorkel , Stering Gaurd , 30mm Whele Spacers , Wich Makes this a particully usefull all round Vehicle Classic Marques have been in Harrogate for over 20 years supplying quality handpicked 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 and accept both debit and credit cards. Warranty and MOT’s are inc

    • Year: 2013
    • Mileage: 48470 mi
    For sale
  • Land Rover Defender 2.5 90 300 TDi Factory County

    £11,995 £11,995

    1995 M Land Rover Defender 90 300 TDi Factory County In Rioja Red Metallic with moorland cloth trim 7 seats colour coded roof power steering side steps tow pack rear wash wipes HRW rear step snorkel front bar with driving lamps roof rack rear ladder tinted glass boost alloys on general grabber TR 235 85 16 Tyres Chequer plate wing tops and sills front lamp guards sun roof rear belts disc lock comes with full MoT waxoyled chassis 5 owners only covered 81000 miles lots of receipts and old MoTs £11995.00 NATIONWIDE DELIVERY PLEASE ASK FOR QUOTE 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 3 and 100 characters. Min 5, max 5000 characters. Please complete the captcha. Copyright © 2017 Silkstone 4x4. All Rights Reserved.

    • Year: 1995
    • Mileage: 81000 mi
    For sale
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