Land Rover Defender 90 XS: Options / Verdict


  Intro / Mods    


Practicality / Spec Engine / Performance Driving / NVH

Faults / Injuries

    Options / Verdict  



By far the best optional extra I would recommend would be a dog.

It’s awesome having a dog in the back; they get to enjoy the view and they have a flat floor to fall asleep on easily. Mind you, it’s entirely possible that it falls asleep from the dizziness caused by the handling, but nevertheless, a dog should be listed as an optional extra in the brochure!

Defender dog

Audio System Upgrade

The standard stereo can be loud enough as it is, but I’d like to have specced the upgraded system with the Sub-woofer for a lot more depth. The standard 4″ speakers are a bit tinny!

Privacy Glass

There’s a vast amount of glass so I’d fit Privacy Glass for security reasons and for getting less hot in the sun; it’ll be easier than fitting them yourself afterwards too. They did help reduce glare by an appreciable fraction too.

Smaller Steering Wheel

A smaller steering wheel of some kind would benefit your right arm for a bit of room as well as easing manoeuvrability – A Land Rover Sports steering wheel can be found online, but just be aware of the number of splines required.

Underside treatment

Seal the underside with Dinitrol or Waxoyl as soon as you can. The sooner it is, the easier it is to apply and minimises rust for years down the line.

LR Defender underside
What it looks untreated after 10 months
Security Upgrades

Anything that acts as a deterrent is good. Steering / Pedal locks, tracking device.


What can I say, it was quite intimidating to drive at first and I did question what I’d gotten myself into! But after 1,100 miles, you just can’t drive anything else that provides the level of involvement and feeling of invincibility from a 90 CSW XS.

Just looking into those side mirrors remind me of Jurassic Park, and I expect to see a T-Rex every time

LR Defender Jurassic-Park-t-rex mirror

I would like a bit more in-line pace (the 150Ps special editions may see to that), but I’ve been very happy otherwise, and that’s to the point where I don’t mind having to cater for its diesel appetite, or my own appetite for deodorant.

It certainly has been the different kind of fun we’ve been looking for, and just trying to drive the thing normally is a great stress relief. The Fiesta ST‘s main answer to stress relief was the hot-hatch acceleration, but if you got held up by traffic it didn’t work – in fact, not being able to access more often than not just aggravated you more.

People have likened the Defender to a faithful old dog and it’s true in a sense. It smells funny and you put up with its foibles, but I’m glad its not literal to the point of the rear wheels shaking under its own weight while moving.

Yes, it’s pretty clumsy on the road dynamically, but it made me a better driver for it. It’s basic, honest and that’s what kept this immune from the SUV-haters throughout it’s life. It shouldn’t be diluted.

Despite the ‘creature comforts’ added from 2007 and the colour-coding ‘Black Packs’ of recent, it’s avoided being hateful – even with LED lights attached….and whatever the hell A.Kahn do to it.

I can’t be the only one who’ll come to this conclusion either. Land Rover have had to ramp up their production to 125 Defenders per day since Summer 2015 in a bid to meet the increase in demand – previously the daily count was 80.

Spinning seal

Spec: 90 XS County Station Wagon 2015MY 
Engine: 2.2 TDCI Diesel, 122bhp, 266lb ft 
Transmission: 6 Speed Manual 
Mpg: Official: 27.3mpg Achieved: 23-26mpg 
Performance: 0-62mph: 15.5 Secs, 90mph (Ltd) 
Colour: Montalcino Red 
Running Period: Winter 2014 – Summer 2015, 6100 Miles 
Options: Tow ball + electrics

6 thoughts on “Land Rover Defender 90 XS: Options / Verdict

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