How Does The 2020 Land Rover Defender Perform Off-Road? We Race It Against The Old One To Find Out!

It’s been nearly three decades since the Land Rover Defender was officially for sale in the U.S. Now, though, you can actually find a brand new example at your local Land Rover dealer for the 2020 model year. Back in the mid-2000s, the closest model you could get was something like our old LR3, but how separate are these two when it comes to their off-roading ability in the real world? To find out, Roman and Tommy stage the first “Razor Rock Race” — a challenge of guts, glory, and ultimately determining whether the old warhorse is just as capable as its newer sibling when the going gets rough.

In this race, it’s up for Roman in the Defender and Tommy in the LR3 to choose their own path up the trail. Both cars have modern tech like a Terrain Response system (with the Defender using the latest iteration), as well as adjustable height air suspension. Continuing with those generational changes, one major area these two differ is under the hood.

How Does The 2020 Land Rover Defender Perform Off-Road? I Race It Against an Old One To Find Out!
The 2020 Land Rover Defender packs nearly two decades of modern off-road tech over the LR3, but does that make it a better option for a no holds barred race? [Photo: TFLcar]

The old LR3 packs an old-school powertrain, by modern standards. Opt for one of those, and you’ll get a 4.4-liter naturally-aspirated V8. That was good for 300 horsepower and 315 lb-ft of torque when it was new, and comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. As for the Defender, you can buy two powertrains: either a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four with 296 horsepower, or a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with a mild hybrid system and 395 horsepower, as well as 406 lb-ft of torque. In either case, the more modern Defender comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Both make a reasonable amount of ground clearance, though the 2020 Land Rover Defender can raise itself all the way to 11.5 inches in its highest setting. The LR3, on the other hand, can manage about 9.5 inches.

So, which one ultimately wins in the Razor Rock race? Find out in the video above, and stay tuned for more off-road races coming soon to TFLcar! For even more videos, check out our TFLoffroad channel as well: