Best luxury SUVs 2020: Land Rover’s third Defender has supreme wading capabilities and the most advanced all-wheel-drive system

In this year’s Best of the Best 2020 awards, we recognise the brands that have pushed boundaries in design and innovation, and those that have made significant contributions to alleviate the pandemic. This year’s best luxury SUV is the Land Rover Defender

To say there’s a lot resting on the broad, squared-off shoulders of Land Rover’s new Defender (S$314,999) would be a bit of an understatement. Not only does it have to live up to the go-anywhere, do-anything reputation of its legendary forebear, it also has to appeal to a completely new demographic, one that appreciates the off-roading capabilities of the original, but aren’t prepared to live with its rough-and-ready (read: crudely built) nature. And on that front, the new Defender absolutely succeeds. Of course, if its price tag in excess of S$300,000 isn’t enough to convince you it’s a premium product, a quick glance at its options list will (a S$5,000 roof rack, S$2,400 air intake ‘snorkel’, S$400 bonnet decal… you get the idea).

Still, it wouldn’t mean a thing if the Defender has gone soft. It can still approach slopes of up to 38 degrees, wade in waist-deep water and effectively brutalise any sort of terrain it might encounter. And yet, the Defender will still do more prosaic tasks like school and grocery runs with the aplomb of its roadgoing counterparts like the Velar and Evoque. The breadth of its ability and the poise with which the Defender goes about it is truly astounding.

The new Land Rover Defender is fascinating but its seven-decade history is equally engrossing

70 years

The length of time the original Defender was in continuous series production, a testament to the model’s longevity and timelessness.

2015

The year that the two-millionth Defender rolled off the assembly line, with a very special commemorative model assembled by Land Rover ambassador Bear Grylls.

21,000km

The distance The Last Overland expedition undertook from Singapore to London in August 2019 in a classic Defender, recreating in reverse The First Overland journey of 1955.

Did you know?

It is incredibly light

Unlike the old Defender with its body-on-frame chassis, the new model rests on lightweight aluminium underpinnings that are three times stiffer than before while retaining impressive amounts of durability. This also has the happy benefit of improving on-road handling, with the new Defender having all the refinement and comfort of a luxury SUV.

21st-century Defender

In addition to its design, which clearly hearkens back to the original Defender, the new Defender also has a slew of advanced electronics to bolster its cause, from the terrain-sensing adaptive all-wheel drive and suspension to the multitude of cameras dotted around the vehicle making sure you’ll always know whatever is underfoot.

Clean machine

The materials used on the new Defender don’t just serve to underscore its rugged nature, they are also there for practical reasons. The rubberised materials and chunky plastics used in its cabin add to the Defender’s charm and make for surfaces that can be easily wiped down, which means it can tackle the jungle one day and the urban jungle the next.

Our full list of Best of the Best 2020 winners here

Land Rover

Stay in touch with the latest in luxury