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Land Rover Australia has reintroduced the Defender 90, six years after the old car was dropped from the local line up.

The full-time four-wheel drive is powered by a 90kW 2.4-litre diesel engine which punches out 360Nm of torque – 60Nm more than the 2003 model.

Combined fuel economy remains the same at a flat 10.0-litres/100km but CO2 emissions are down from 282g/km to 266.

A new six-speed manual transmission comes with a lower first gear and a higher sixth to improve both off-road ability and highway cruising refinement.


Land Rover marketing and public affairs manager, Kevin Goult, said that with almost two million units sold since 1948, the 90 has a reputation for getting you there and back regardless of climate or terrain.

“With the reintroduction of the 90 in Australia, Land Rover now offers nine different Defender derivatives, across three wheel bases.

“We believe the enhancements to the iconic Defender 90 will win the hearts and minds of new and existing customers alike,” he said.


The new 90 is shorter in length but taller than the 2003 model with a greater ground clearance (323mm).

Wading depth is up to 500mm while max towing weight with a braked trailer is 3500kg (750kg unbraked).

Safety features come in the form of ABS and traction control.

Land Rover chief designer, Dave Saddington, said very few changes have been made to the model’s exterior but the interior received much more attention.


“The interior’s a different story. We wanted to change the heating system and instruments, as well as improve ergonomics, all of which gave us the opportunity to introduce an all-new fascia.

“The new fascia is better integrated, more robust and functionally superior to the old unit, whilst still entirely in keeping with Defender 90’s character.”

Inside is a new in-dash CD player, rubber floor mats and electric front windows.


The air-conditioning system can now cool the cabin in half the time and by seven degrees more than the old unit, while the heater works 40 per cent quicker and up to 12 degrees hotter.

Land Rover chief program engineer, Gary Taylor, said upgraded sound insulation and a quieter engine make for a far superior cabin experience.

“For many customers, the step change in Defender 90’s refinement will be one of the most welcome advances.

“Not only are noise levels significantly lower, but sound quality is transformed too.”

The Defender 90 is on sale now at a recommended retail price of $44,990 before statutory and delivery charges and will arrive in Australia early next year.

  • Seo

    “Powered by Transit”

    Does it still have a wading plug for deep water crossing?

    Rather a Jeep Wrangler, NO oil leaks or “issues”

    • http://KIA mic o

      No – Defender hasnt had wading plugs for years. That motor is actually a real reliable, and fast engine. I’m a courier and Ford Transits are one of the most favoured vehicles for reliability and guts. There are heaps of blokes I know with over 500,000 kms on that motor with absolutly no trouble. You’ll find the Transit motor is designed for real heavy duty work too. Load mine up and I’m over 3 tonne, and that is every working day! You won’t get engines leaks with this baby!

  • Jo

    The JK doesn’t have any issues eh?

    1. Diesel Slow fill problem
    2. Death wobble (traction control/abs issue)
    3. Auto/Diesel/towbar overheating issue resulting in fires

  • Mitch

    Those engine figures are pretty bad.

    • http://KIA mic o

      Yeah, I dont know why Land Rover tunes the motor down so much. You can easily rechip them, get 140kw and 40% more torque, and better fuel economy. I know that this motor can easily take it. Remember theres been some changes also to the motor, like the lubrication system, that allows the engine to run at 45 degrees from all 4 sides. It also is tuned to run on shodding fuel mixes.

  • jeff walker

    Fer crissakes Landrover, stick either the V6 TDI and /or option the V8 TDI into this vehicle, and re-ignite the passion!

  • Mitch

    Put the hyundai R engine in it.

  • bob

    Put the S/C V8 in it from the RR Sport, big brakes and some suspension attention. Create a hero car in the mould of the Merc G55. If that doesn’t get people excited and passionate about the lower rung models, nothing will.

  • Safety Frist

    Love these things they are still the most capable off road vehicle out there…

    But most importantly I want this job Land Rover chief designer. Dave Saddington must be working his A off over the last few years………… LOL :p

    • Tomas79

      Nah, there is a heaps of 4wd that are more capable offroad!!
      The defender doesnt even come with diff locks!!

      • akula

        Rear diff locks are factory options.

        • Tomas79

          But difflocks at front are even more important!!!

      • aaron

        Defender drivers do not have to get into trivial arguments over the abilities of the cars , the merely recall hanging forward against the seat belts on slopes you can’t walk down , or of getting into a deeper muddier water over the bonnet hole and just churning through it , traction control has replaced diff locks and this will be an asset to the unskilled , the simple fact is that land rovers only really come into thier own on terrain you simply do not encounter in run of the mill off roading , if your winch breaks , in the pissing rain in the middle of no where , you want to be in a defender , and that before you think about the fuel economy load carrying, approach, departure and ramp over angles , ground clearance , simply incredeble wheel travel , towing ability landie owners can look at what’s ahead and say lets do it other 4wd owners see the rovers go through and think maybe i can do that aswell

        • keith

          well said mate to many wingers on here that will never own one

  • Baddass

    I think it’s funny that the Defender interior gets a special mention because it has an integrated CD player, rubber floor mats and electric front windows! Times have changed LR, people aren’t going to be wowed by a CD player in this day and age.

  • http://www.deyrv.com Fleetwood RV

    I am not much a fan of cars,but this Land Rover car is really awesome!!Sounds and that color like a great combination.I think this car is HOT!!!

  • tim

    Avoid this one, I’ve got the same model in the 110, to date it has received a new engine, rear diff, steering gear box, brake master cylinder, several vacuum pumps, front prop shaft, numerous seals and bearings to name a few. tim

    • andy tyrrell

      hi tim, presently looking at buying a 90 series (new )defender when they arrive here in oz in a couple of weeks – however, just read your comments and you have me worried. are they really that shit and unreliable – was intending to do some serious offroading, however, don’t fancy breaking down in the middle of bum fuck nowhere and would be pretty pissed off after having spent that much money on a piece of crap. spoke to a guy in the shopping centre car park not long ago who was driving a newish 110 station wagon. when i asked him if he had had any reliability issues, he replied no not really, but then went on to list a host of stuff he has had to have fixed under the warranty that has gone wrong – everything from the glass in the windows coming off thier rollers whilst off roading and being stuck inside the doorskin to numerous oil leaks. HAS ME VERY WORRIED AND AM WONDERING IF I AM MAKING THE CORRECT DECISION.

  • Dave

    Everyone is soft. Badass, you are retarded, go buy a Terracan and be wowed.

    If Tata is never going to invest the amount of money to design an all new Defender that can get the crash ratings etc to get into other markets they should continue to sell it as farm machinery. My hope is that in this plastic obsessed world icon cars like the defender will continue to be available. My friend owns a series 3 and it still runs every day – the defender, series landrovers etc are largely unchanged, they don’t need to be they are awesome. Only make them more reliable, increase the crash safety, and more economical. Keep the look, keep the aluminium, keep the class leading 4WD ability. Good idea about the TDV6.

  • galileos

    Jeep wrangler what a piece of scrap,do not compare a true 4×4 with something as bad as wrangler what a joke

    • Tomas79

      You are the Joke!Every 4wd publication, and anyone who knows anything about 4wding places wrangler, especially the Rubicon as much more capable offroad 4wd, then the Defender…

      • http://KIA mic o

        Is it radio controlled??

      • keith

        yeah a kids model wrangler + american = crap

  • Nefarious Wheel

    Meh. Nissan Patrol for the win. I’ve had my TI for over 10 years and its been everywhere. Reliability? I had a flat tyre once.

    • Nath746

      I have a Nissan Patrol ST Manual with the 3.0L Diesel Engine. I took it off road once and I never will do it again for two reasons:
      1. Fuel Economy – When it is in low range 4WD, or High Range 4WD for that matter, it drinks all the fuel before you can start to have fun.
      2. The Lack of Torque – I often have to stop on a hill, engage low range and then take off again to get up. The engine does not make anough torque.

  • pacas

    This car looks mad, but isnt a 2,4 engine to small for it? You fancy guys may laugh, but i have an 87 pajero 2.5 turbo diesel 2 door and it is sick, got big offroad tires and its unstopable. Does not have a good acceleration, but after you get some speed it goes sweet on the highway,even has overdrive!. Never let me down, doesn’t have one rust spot and i bought it for 3,500 and i wouldnt sell it for nothing! What kind of trusty 4×4 can i buy at this budget?

  • pacas

    This car looks mad, but isnt a 2,4 engine to small for it? You fancy guys may laugh, but i have an 87 pajero 2.5 turbo diesel 2 door and it is sick, got big offroad tires and its unstopable. Does not have a good acceleration, but after you get some speed it goes sweet on the highway. Never let me down, doesn’t have one rust spot and i bought it for 3,500 and i wouldnt sell it for nothing! What kind of trusty 4×4 can i buy at this budget?

    • http://KIA mic o

      Please do not compare a Pajaro to a Defender. Pajeros are for shopping in – same for Prados, and actually most vehicles without a live front axle (Hilux, Tritons, Navaras, Territorys, extrails – the list is long). Compare it to a Patrol, or Land Crusier for off road Caperbilty. Yes the motor is the right size for off road work and what it is designed to do – but not for screaming down the freeway at 130kph. There are plenty of red necks that feel that need hugh horsepower, but what you need is traction, and momentum – this engine has way enough tourque to get you out of trouble.

  • Ben

    First up, I have never owned a defender but believe strongly that it is my destiny to own one. I am now currently in the position of re-leasing my Navara st-x with all the bells and whistles (winch, air lockers, suspension uupgrades, bull bar, recovery bar etc etc etc) OR trading it in on a brand spanking shiny new defender 90 or 110. I like the idea of a 90 due to having owned a TJ wrangler and, as much as people may think they’re a toy car. Shorties OWN offroad. Sure my navara feels more planted and can drag itself up the most horrifying of inclines without giving the feel of impending tip over that the jeep did but the bump and grind of a short wheelbase got me in and out of some serious trouble that I would not even consider in the nissan. So I guess I’m looking for opinions on A. the reliability of the new land rovers and B. whether the 90 is worth the trouble of sourcing over a 110. Cheers in advance guys.

  • roverjeep

    you want a reliable off-roader, get those old Suzuki Samurais! :)

  • Landie40

    I began with an ’84 Rangie, went to a ’93 V8 then ’95 V8 Disco, then bought a new 2001 Defender Extreme and now have an ’05 Disco3. I did in excess of 250 000kms in all but my current vehicle which is averaging 40 000km+ per annum. Every one of these vehicles did a lot of towing, travelled across Australia more than once, did long-distance daily running etc. Not once have I been let down by a Land Rover. The Defender TD5 Extreme remains my favourite, even though I love this D3. Fuel consumption is excellent, servicing is inexpensive and tyre wear is astounding. I have many aquaintances with the big Japanese 4×4’s and their stories are not always good. e.g a 2002 Patrol on its second gearbox and 3rd clutch … A new Land Cruiser with a bent chassis (when delivered)…. new Pajero owners saying the car is tinny compared to previously owned models….etc.

  • Stephen Jones

    Cant help but feel this car is a little under powered. Yes I drive a CRD 2dr wrangler and Its got power to burn, as to whether its the most capable, I let you know tmw as I’m tagging along for a comparison between one of these, a new prado and my JK ! Should be a laugh. Death wobble are easily fixed, slow fill – well I fixed that with a larger hose, Oil coiler now available for Auto.

    • keith

      Wrangler wow that would last well off road in mud and sand the cheap plastic exterior wont last a minute Wrangler = American = Crap

  • H in Beijng

    I tried hard to love LR. As a Brit, it is as dear to me as tea and biscuits. I even rented one for a 4 week safari over Namibia, and it left me disappointed. I agree, it is unsurpassed for real 4×4, but in all other respects it is lacking. Underpowered when loaded, dusty, noisy, crazy position for the handbrake and window winders, average build quality, average reliability (I need super rliable in the bush). On the other hand, it’s excellent for storage and living out of, and even though I know it’s limitations I still want one. You can mitigate many of it’s faults by sensible options, and I think I would get a D90 for pure FUN and weekends off. For serious work (I am in Mining/Exploration), or for a vehicle dependent expedition, Landcruiser is still #1.

    • Martin Heywood-Stokes

      Hello H in Beijing.
      I too am a brit, exiled like yourself. I have to take issue with your reliability doubt over Land Rover. I purchased a 1950 80″ series 1 landrover in 1989, restored it thoroughly to precise original specs ands have driven it in excess of 730,000 kilometers since that time in all manner of extreme conditions. I have trekked Northern and Southern Africa and living in Australia, have crossed the worst tracks this country has to offer. In all honesty in the 21 years I have run the Landy, I have broken 1 leaf spring, replaced universal joints twice only and replaced wheel bearings and seals once in almost three quarter of a million kilometers. I have NEVER, had a mechanical failure with the old 1.6 that has left me on the side of the road, and the vehicle has only been ‘bogged’ requiring recovery on a handful of occasions, all due to over-zealous driving! I can honestly claim to have recovered over 100 vehicles in that time, ands funnily enough, most of them were Toyota, simply far too heavy for the conditions and not having low enough gearing or quite enough torque for the heavy duty work. Toyota build a wonderful vehicle, but in my opinion, based on my experience over 40 years of driving expedition and heavy duty off road, there is no match for a Land Rover. I have owned 30-odd Land Rovers over the past 40 years and still own 6 of them today, and can honestly say that I have found them to be exceptionally reliable vehicles, even given some of the terrible batterings that they have endured on my expeditions. The key to it is simply preventative maintenance and ensuring regular servicing, with the emphasis squarely upon oil changes and greasing EVERYTHING that takes grease and regularly. My 80″ is living testament to the absolute legend that is Land Rover and I fully anticipate the vehicle and I making it to a million kilometes without any difficulty.

      • akula

        My first car was a 1949 80″ S1, absolutely brilliant car, miss it to this day. It took all my p-plater abuse and neglect in its stride and it was already 40+ years old and looked as if it had a hard life. All the ‘just so stories’ from the Toyozealots make me laugh, if only they actually driven one.

  • Curtis Allardyce

    OK, First up, this is my first Landrover, I have been a Toyota man since 1978, force of habit and all that.
    I bought the Landrover mainly on price but also because the brother in law has raved on about his Rover since taking delivery of it 10 years ago, I had driven it and was totally impressed with its ability but no so much the ergonomics and comfort. However, the new 90 is incredivle, and it leaves for absolute dead anything I have ever driven before, its offroad ability is mind blowing, it really can do anyhing and go anywhere. The interior is also a big improvement over earlier efforts, it is actually a very comfortable vehicle to operate in any environment, yes it is a tad on the narrow side for a big fella, but it also fits into more places than my old Toyota would! I have to confess to having (ignorantly) heaped scorn on the rovers previously, but I am big enough to admit that I was WRONG! I am finding that the rover people and owners in general have a real passion for these things and I regularly get waved at by other owners and even people in beaten up older models! a very freindly and knowledgable bunch.

  • Want to tow

    To the best of my knowledge the Defender is the only dual cab available in Australia with a towing capacity of 3,500kg. I doubt the 2.4td would handle it but i haven\’t heard any owners complain. Anyone tried towing 3,500kg?

    • Hugh Allen

      Want to tow. In 1964 I used to tow glider winches in RAF Hendon (when it was still an airfield) They weighed in at just over 4 tons. We were really careful, but towed them out and back every weekend for 2 years without a problem. Mind you, on an airfield there’s not that much to hit and you can plan your braking about 10 minutes in advance.

    • nickdl

      You’d be much safer buying a LandCruiser 79 Series, I know it’s not a dual cab but much better car in all aspects and the boot of the wagon could take a fair beating (as could the rest of the car).

      • keith

        Is that not made for school run mums and ponces

    • http://KIA mic o

      Yes, and it tows heay weights easily. It has heaps of torque. Dont expect to travel at really high speeds though. What you will experience if you are carting over 3t around ervery day is reliability, and great fuel economy. If you are in a hurry – dont be. The engine is as solid as a rock and built to pull. You will probably have some guys tell you its too small. But they are probably speed demons, but ask them about they\\\’re fuel economy. With a 3 t load on all day on 50% country to 50% Adelaide City roads, Im getting 12.8 ltr/100km.

  • Want to tow

    I have googled it but people who have owned one seem to love them. I want to buy one because i want a dual cab to go camping and i need to tow 3.5 tonne on my camping trip. I find it hard to believe a 2.4 litre will tow 3.5 tonne on the open road but haven’t heard anyone complaining.






  • http://KIA Mart

    Ive owned 2 patrols, and a land crusier in the last 10 years, now Ive had a defender for the past year. I will buy a crusier again, or even a Patrol if I’m travelling around Australia and towing a van. This is what the Defender dose not do so well. But if we are talking real off road – the Defender is better – no doubt. Its better because the engine is right for off road use. Its light, torquey, and responsive. The last thing you need is a V8 in mud, and slop. Big motors are too heavy. The Defender is lighter, with a larger payload, has far more spring travel, and the way the drive train works with traction control is definatly inovative. The japs are building vehicles that sell. Land rover have built the Defender to travel off road – and they make no excuses for why some things are included and other items are not. The Japs may not follow Land Rovers lead, as there are too many yobbos that have not truly owned and driven models to coment without bias, and the japs will just produce what these guys want. Put simply Jap 4WDS lean towards 50% road to off road work. The Defender leans 80% off road 20% on road. This is my un bias experience driving these 3 different models.

    • http://KIA gas

      Recently I traveeled to the NT driving a 2006 Prado. My mate had a 2009 Defender. We hit some really wet and slippery muddy river crossings and flats – also rocky terrain. My next 4wd will be a Defender! I thought Id do better than him but the defender could not be bogged easily. I was bogged in mud to the axles, but the Defender just seems to not sink in! There was 2 Land Crusiers bogged, and it was obvious these crusiers were just too heavy at over 3t plus gear. I crossed a steam with water over my bonnet, and lost power coming out, then needed to be winched out. We spent 3 hours drying out under bonnet electrics, But the Prado went on. The Defender crossed a whole lot easier – so the real wading depth of that defender, is more then the Prados stated wading depth. The whole thing with traction control and centre diff lock, and its combined power to weight is a more balanced design. My wheels were spinning and digging holes, when his drive chain wasted nothing. In my experience power to weight is crucial. Thats why a land crusier never got places the Prado could. And so the defender seems to actenctuate that again. My mate Nikko says “I reckon Toyoto will do what they have done for the past 40 yrs, and copy Land Rovers lead!” I’m a keen off roader, and can see that off road, his defender with its extra suspension range (which is standard) and its overall power to weight combined with the drive train design is better suited to the real difficult stuff than my Prado. The only thing I would say is that the Prado is a little better on the highway. Oh yes – the Defender is better over the real rocky, and large boulder type terrain.

      • Tomas79

        Mate, My prado with twin arb air lockers would totally smash your defender offroad… and with a the standard 180l, it would get twice as far too!

        • Waz

          That’s the point. A toy-ota needs to have front and rear lockers to keep up with a stock Defender. Toy-ota: overpriced and overrated.

          • Saph1r3

            Too right! for the price of a new Landcruiser I could have bought 2 of these and still never have to spend a cent to out perform 1 Landcruiser.

  • Hansome_AL

    Landrover should stop making this car by Hand, and using aluminum. Instead, concentrate on better Rubber, Engine and consistent product quality. I prefer to have a working car without its body panel than a complete body panel car but I have to push it. If I want a car like that, I could just go to a museum..

  • Keith

    All you guys that hate the defender have you ever owned driven or sat in one or is it just easy to write off something you can’t afford,75% of defenders ever built are still on the road to me that speaks volumes , it won’t Ever be a fancy prado or wrangler but it never has tried to be ,it’s exactly what it says on the package. I’m waiting on my defender 90 2011 model with dual finish alloys goodyear wrangler mt/r tyres sunroof metallic paint all for 39.000 aud .and I’m happy with that so if you are never going to own one keep the useless remarks for someone else

  • Keith

    Ps the 39,000 was full on road costs

  • http://Caradvice.com.au Ric

    Sure mate ,the only you’ll smash off road will be your flimsy diffs
    and as for fuel ,you need 180 lts to travel a little more distance. ,

  • keith

    can we have that in english now RIC

  • Davo’s itchy feet

    Am tempted by the Defender 90.Yet to drive one.I expect it is a like a light truck to drive but with power steering & air conditioning,I would feel under no hardship.
    No over the top electronics I don’t need or want.
    Aluminium body & a 2.4 turbo Diesel can’t be all bad.
    Would like to know of Keith’s real life experiences with it.Price seems to be right to me.

  • keith

    I pick it up next week so will update you with the details

    • 2D

      How r u gettin yours next week? i ordered mine on the 12th of January and still waitin, it is in South Australia, got from UK quicker.

  • Desmodr

    a few test drives and I pick mine up on Saturday, no use for the old TD5 110, so 280K Km of a working life, so time for a smaller off road tourer!
    more later!!

    • 2D

      Dealer in WA cannot give me a date

  • Keith

    i got mine 2 weeks ago it’s identical to the one in the pictures the only thing I can fi d fault with was the stereo I put a better one in .love the machine best thing I have driven

  • Keith

    i got mine 2 weeks ago it\’s identical to the one in the pictures the only thing I can fi d fault with was the stereo I put a better one in .love the machine best thing I have driven

  • Mick

    Hey keith, where you getting your defender from for that price. I’m interested and on the lookout for a good dealer that won’t jerk me around. Cheers Mick.

  • Marco

    I’ve had my Defender 90 since mid ’10 – same as the one in the pic but in black. To date it’s mostly only seen city driving but loading stuff in and out for work is great.

    Agree with one of the previous comments with a downside being the factory stereo but that was an easy change along with the speakers.

    Few issues with cold starts on cold morning, but to be honest, it seems to be part of the fun of owning it!

    Wouldn’t trade it for anything else on the market at the moment, including a Wrangler (owned one of them from new for nearly 5 yrs and it was falling to bits by the end of it)