Video: What’s Going On With Our Land Rover Defender? It’s Complicated

Land Rover Defender
It’s been awhile since we’ve seen our “original” Land Rover Defender – keep that keyword in mind as we tell you the rest of the story. (Photos: TFLcar)

Since we first published issues stemming from our base-spec 2020 Land Rover Defender, dozens of you have e-mailed us every day asking for an update. In brief: It’s a complicated situation. The video below is our latest update, where Roman and Tommy lay out the scenario so far, and where we’re planning to go from here.

First, a bit of context. When we originally bought the Defender, the idea was to get a no-fuss, no-frills model. We ordered one of the least expensive (if not the least expensive) version you can feasibly get your hands on. All in, it ran just a shade over $55,000 for a base four-door Defender 110. For that, you get steel wheels — the best option, in our collective opinion — three-abreast front seating, and not much in the way of seriously luxurious features. Mind you, if you really spec up a Defender you can get well over $80,000. Even though this is a 21st century take on the most utilitarian, honest-to-goodness Land Rover, it’s still, well, priced like a modern Land Rover.

A few months ago, we took another Land Rover Defender into the Colorado backcountry, with our old (and remarkably stout) LR3 close behind.

What happened to the Defender?

The TFL team, namely Roman and Tommy, took delivery of the Land Rover back at the beginning of October. After a couple days, they took it for its first off-road expedition. Things went perfectly fine up on the trail — check out the video to see how that went — but coming down off the mountain is where the troubles began. A check engine light illuminated after a brief driving period, so naturally we took it to the local Land Rover dealer so their technicians could sort the problem out.

They were able to fix the issue, though upon bringing the car back to the office another issue arose. The surround-view cameras with which our Land Rover arrived were inoperable. So, back to the dealer it went.

A defective module ended up being the culprit for the camera issue, and while technicians were able to work on that the check engine light came on once again. Through a thorough investigation including Land Rover engineers working from the UK to solve the problem, they determined the engine was operating outside its set parameters. Those involved provided no further detail, other than to say the best course of action was to install a new engine. That revelation hardly sits well with the buyer of any brand new car, so we ultimately decided to try and get another, similarly-equipped Defender.

More developments in November

By this point, we’re already approaching the far side of November (remember, the dealer had physical possession of the first Defender since early October). While the Land Rover PR team has been thoroughly engaged and communicative throughout the process, matters ultimately took another noteworthy turn.

Take a look at the latest update video to see how things are going now. It’s a complicated situation, and again we do want to emphasize that Land Rover is diligently working to fix it. That said, we’re also keenly aware of how this situation would play out if we weren’t in our unique position. Particularly, this scenario would look dramatically different if we didn’t have access to other vehicles, and this Defender was our only means of transportation. Nonetheless, we’ll continue to keep you all updated on how things are going. Thanks for your interest and support!