If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, the saying goes. And that’s an ethos Land Rover stuck to religiously with the old-shape Defender, a car that had its origins back in the 1940s.

But the demands of safety, technology and efficiency eventually won out, and it was pensioned off in 2016. The new car came out in 2020 and has been a huge hit ever since, with a blend of ruggedness and luxury not many can match. For those looking for the best used tow car, it has few peers, although you’ll certainly need deep pockets.

What’s a used Land Rover Defender like inside?

The overall ambience is that of luxury, but with wipe-clean usability, and it works well. In the longer-wheelbase 110, there’s a vast amount of space up front for two people, and finding a comfortable driving position is easy, something that stood out when we reviewed the Land Rover Defender 90 P300 X-Dynamic SE in 2022. The second-row seats are almost as roomy, so three adults will be perfectly comfortable. A third row of seating was optional when the car was new, but be aware that there isn’t a whole lot of space for occupants of the two rearmost seats.

Cabin of the Defender
Inside, spacious cabin offers a combination of luxury and rugged practicality

Unless you regularly carry more than five, it’s better to go for the boot space instead – the Defender has up to 1826 litres when all of the seats are down. If you need yet more space, there’s the even longer 130 model, with up to eight seats.

As you would expect, every Defender is well equipped, with electrically adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, air suspension and Pivi Pro infotainment, for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Add in the best caravan sat nav and you should have all the gadgets you could need for your tow car!

How does a used Land Rover Defender drive?

The 2.0-litre diesel engine may produce 237bhp and 317lb ft of torque, but the Defender 110 also weighs nearly 2.4 tonnes, which is always going to blunt performance; acceleration is best described as ‘stately’.

The weight and barn-door aerodynamics influence the car’s thirst, which is mighty, especially when towing. But as a tow car, the Defender is resolute, no matter how heavy the caravan or how blustery the weather. Even passing large vehicles on a windy day only causes minor tugging at the rear, always reassuring to know when you’re matching a car to a caravan.

Tailgate open on the Defender
Hitch up with the tailgate open to avoid the spare wheel getting in the way

The electric handbrake makes hill starts a doddle, and the big Land Rover easily deals with slippery surfaces at caravan sites. The 360-degree camera system makes manoeuvring simple.

However, the tailgate-mounted spare wheel does rather get in the way when you’re hitching up, so it’s best to do this with the tailgate open.

Driven solo, the Defender behaves far more like a luxury car than its predecessor.


Comparing the latest Defender with its predecessor is like comparing the latest smartphone with two cups tied together with string. Better to match it against rivals such as the Mercedes G-Class, in which case, the Defender has it licked.

It’s every bit as rugged and capable, and significantly more luxurious to drive.

Make sure you’re ready to tow safely and comfortably by checking out our caravan towing tips.

What to pay for a used Land Rover Defender

  • High: Price: £94,995; model: 2023 3.0 D250 X-Dynamic SE; miles: 12,500
  • Sweet spot: Price: £46,690; model: 2020 2.0 D240; miles: 37,000
  • Low: price: £37,500; model: 2020 2.0 SD4 110 S; miles: 103,000

Land Rover Defender towing capacity

  • Kerbweight: 2380kg
  • Towing limit: 3500kg
  • Noseweight limit: 150kg
  • 85% match: 2023kg

Running costs

  • Insurance group: 37
  • Annual VED: £570*
  • Average economy: 29.3mpg
  • Full service: £238
  • Servicing prices by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262

*Car had a list price of over £40,000 when new, so an extra £390 VED applies on top of standard £180 for the first five years

Trouble spots

Land Rover had to recall 509 early examples because a passenger-seat occupancy sensor was missing.

Then 18,151 vehicles were recalled to have the water pump drivebelt replaced, because it could fail.

An exhaust issue caused a recall of 4002 cars, then 2981 were recalled for a seatbelt pretensioner problem.

A faulty oil system then caused the recall of 499 vehicles in 2022.

A full list of the Defender recalls can be found at www.check-vehicle-recalls.service.gov.uk.

Alternatives to consider

Land Rover Discovery 4

Used Land Rover Discovery 4 (2017-)

One of the Defender’s biggest rivals is another Land Rover. The Discovery is also a large SUV that is incredibly capable and comfortable on the road, and highly capable off it. In addition, the Disco has seven seats, and the two rearmost accommodate adults, which enhances practicality. It also has an enormous boot.

Audi Q7

Used Audi Q7 (2015-)

The Audi Q7 is a consummate towing option, providing plenty of space, comfort and luxury for caravanners, whether it’s used as an everyday car or for towing.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Mercedes-Benz G-Class (1979-)

The G-Class has been updated over the years, but the song remains the same. So it’s massive (on the outside), heavy and a fine tow car. The driving experience feels like it’s from a different era, with slow steering and stodgy handling, but the G-Class also feels unstoppable off road. Even used examples are on the pricey side.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Caravan magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things caravan related.