Defender by name, but pure awe-fence by nature. Yes, we just made-up an adjective to describe the 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 S P300, mostly because we felt like it. It’s a vehicle that makes you want to discover the great outdoors.
Ready for battle in Pangea Green warpaint, and featuring LED lighting, a front and rear skid pan, a rugged demeanour, and pumped guards housing a set of Style 6010 19-inch 6-spoke Gloss Black rims, the Defender 90 is one tough little package.
Those wheels are a near $4,000 optional extra, but you do get a full sized spare and a body-coloured spare wheel cover. Inside, it’s a no nonsense scenario that features 8-way semi-powered front seating, with a real back to basics feel.
The Ebony interior, with similarly coloured leather seats feels like a clash between a hint of luxury, paired with solid, sturdy, removable and completely utilitarian. You do still get some creature comforts, like two-zone climate control and heated and cooled seating.
There’s centre arm rests, 12V ports front and rear, six USB ports (one USB-A and two USB-C up-front, as well as two USB-C for the rear seat entertainment) and six cup holders (four for the rear and two for the front seating).
Being a 2 door, you can imagine how the vertically challenged need to negotiate entry and exit, especially to the second row. We did get the optional $1,309 air suspension package, but at the lowered height setting, there is no major wins for those shorter individuals.
It does make for cool “car goes up, car goes down” show-off display though. If you do happen to draw the short straw (no pun intended), second row seating is still quite roomy and comfortable.
The P300 is still kid friendly and manageable for three average sized adults in the back, while you get 397-litres of boot space that can be expanded to 1,563-litres by dropping the back seats.
If the second row seating could slide forward and back, this could offer a few more storage configurations, but it doesn’t. Not all is lost though, you can still stack a few cases of your favourite adult beverages, so the important things are covered.
If you’re planning to get a Defender 90 S P300 for those family trips, invest in roof mounted storage, or you can get inventive and utilise its 3,500kg braked towing capacity and just throw it all in a trailer.
You can choose to add the $999 optional privacy glass to the back windows (have you guessed there’s a tonne of optional extras for the Land Rover yet?), or you can have the Signature package.
The latter adds very odd interior storage, while being a nod to the Defender of old. It’s a good spot to store an iPad, but absolutely useless for back seat visibility. It also hinders blind spot/over shoulder merging for the driver too.
The Pivi Pro 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment is outstanding. It’s here you’ll find Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and DAB+ digital radio. Put on your shades, drop the windows down and pump your favourite beats.
The P300’s 6-speaker 6-channel amplifier combination delivers a damn fine audio experience. The standard analogue dials with central TFT display are great too, and offer a unity of old and new.
You could opt for the additional $845 digital driver display, but why would you. There’s also a Land Rover remote app that lets you lock and unlock your vehicle, adjust the climate control settings, journey track, and check your vehicle status.
The mixture of hard plastics, rubber flooring, exposed bolts and multitude of grab handles epitomise the fact this car is designed to get you to your destination via the most rugged, scenic route possible. Once you’re there, park it up, and enjoy life.
You can even leave your keys in the vehicle, and thanks to active key technology, lock and unlock with a waterproof wristband. Super convenient for when nature calls after you’ve nailed that killer trail or successfully waded through croc infested waters.
The air suspension package combined with the optioned electronic active differential also makes the P300 an absolute treat to drive on Sydney roads. The ride is super smooth and Land Rover’s suspension settings help to deliver a comfortable experience.
Cabin noise is minimal, handling is responsive and precise and while there’s no Sport mode, there is Eco and Comfort, along with a host of off-roading options, including wading, for when you need to cross a river. There’s great brakes as well.
Riding with all-wheel drive, the P300 Defender is powered by a 2.0-litre Ingenium 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 220kW of power and 400Nm of torque. That’s matched with an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
A claimed 0-100km/h time of 7.1 seconds is quite decent given that it hits the scales at 2,074kg. When the situation calls for it, a bit of foot down action can deliver a pleasant result too. You won’t break the sound barrier, but it’s decent enough.
Fuel consumption is a claimed 10.1-litres/100km, but in our mix of light off road stuff and suburban exploration, we averaged around 12.5. A high achiever, the 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 S P300 has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.
Safety tech includes autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, and front and rear parking sensors. Its 360-degree camera system is crystal clear, detailed and has a super helpful 3D mode, for negotiating tracks when you’re off the bitumen.
In typical Land Rover fashion, all the good bits are going to cost you extra though. This vehicle in its base form is around $100,000 plus on-roads. Add the numerous options on our tester and the price jumps to about $111,000 plus on-road costs.
You do get a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and identical roadside assist. There’s the option of a 5-year service plan too. A total of 10 exterior colours are on offer, including Fuji White, Tasman Blue and Lantau Bronze. Most are even free.
Interior wise there’s a few choices too, including some with a whopping $10K cost (it’s Windsor leather people). The 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 S P300 is a ‘fun size’ package, stylish daily commuter and the right instrument for your weekend escape.
Our test vehicle was provided by Land Rover Australia. To find out more about the 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 S P300, contact your local Land Rover dealer. Thanks also to Amaroo Park at Annangrove in NSW for use of their venue.