The new Land Rover Defender was undoubtedly one of the biggest vehicle releases of 2020 – and it’s been raking in awards ever since.
There are plenty of R1.1-million 4×4 alternatives in South Africa, however, with the range-topping Toyota Land Cruiser Prado being a major competitor.
The Defender and Prado were developed with a dual purpose in mind, as both have permanent all-wheel-drive with drive modes for all terrains.
Both can fit up to seven people, although the required third row of seats is optional in the Defender, and both have at least 215mm of ground clearance.
These capabilities are bolstered with class-leading entry angles of 37.5-degrees on the Defender and 31-degrees on the Prado; departure angles of 40 and 25 degrees; maximum incline angles of 45 and 42 degrees; and wading depths of 900mm and 700mm, respectively.
Additionally, the Prado carries up to 974 litres of cargo in five-seater mode, whereas the smaller Defender manages an impressive 857 litres.
However, the Land Rover does support an additional 100kg on its integrated roof rails.
The 2,420kg Prado and 2,323kg Defender then need proper engines to push them around.
Toyota opted for a 2.8-litre, inline-four cylinder, turbo-diesel motor in the top-end Prado – which is good for an output of 150kW and 500Nm.
Power is handled by a six-speed automatic transmission, adaptive variable suspension, a limited slip differential with a central and rear diff lock, and double wishbone suspension at the front with multilink at the rear.
The setup allows a 7.9l/100km combined fuel consumption and a top speed of 175km/h, alongside a maximum braked towing capacity of 3,000kg.
On the Defender’s side, it is fitted with a 2.0-litre, inline-four cylinder, turbo-diesel engine that generates 177kW and 500Nm.
Power is put down via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, a twin-speed transfer box for both high and low ranges, electronic air suspension with adaptive dynamics, and a terrain response system.
Fuel consumption comes in at 7.7l/100km and top speed at 188km/h, with a maximum braked towing capacity of 3,500kg available.
When it comes to features, a long list of comfort and assistance systems are shared – including leather upholstery, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and climate control.
The Defender does sport 12-way electrically adjustable front seats, while only the driver in the Prado can adjust their seat with buttons.
Front and rear seat heating is fitted in the Toyota, however, whereas the Land Rover makes this available in the more expensive variants.
Additionally, these SUVs are treated to the latest infotainment systems – in the form of Pivi Pro in the Land rover, and Toyota AVN in the Prado.
Both support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, and integrated navigation – with the Prado throwing Toyota Connect into the mix.
This allows communication between your smartphone and Prado for easy access to vehicle information, and a 15GB Wi-Fi hotspot is provided upon registration.
New-age tech extends to the interactive digital instrument cluster in the Land Rover, while the Prado comes with an analogue instrument cluster and a smaller info display.
You will also find the following safety features in both:
- Hill assist
- Brake assist
- Trailer assist
- Cruise control
- Lane keep assist
- Traction control
- Stability control
- 360-degree camera
- All-round parking sensors
This is in addition to ABS with brake force distribution and at least six airbags.
The 4x4s are differentiated through a few key features, however, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and crawl control in the Toyota.
The Land Rover then comes with wade sensing, brake hold, cornering brake control, roll stability control, and low traction launch.
The Land Rover Defender 110 D240 S has a South African price of R1,158,804.
This includes a 5-year/100,000km Land Rover Care Plan.
The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 2.8GD VX-L is the range-topping variant, with a South African price of R1,150,500.
Included in the price is a 3-year/100,000km warranty and a 9-services/90,000km service plan.