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Daily driving a Land Rover Defender – Owner’s review

A 2002 Land Rover Defender 90 can take on any obstacle in its path – as long as it’s not a highway.

This is according to TopAuto reader Michael, who tells us what’s it like to own the off-roading legend.

Which model do you own?

I own a 2002 Land Rover Defender 90 TD5 with 230,000km on the clock.

When did you get the car?

I bought this car from a private seller in 2019, and it had done 200,000km.

What are your three favourite things about the car?

I like the elevation of it, allowing me to have a unique driving position.

The compact Defender 90 is also great as it has tons of space in the back while being easy to drive.

I also love the iconic Defender design that was used for decades.

Which three things do you like least about the car?

It is quite an uncomfortable car to drive. The seats have no bolstering and there is not much space in the cabin.

The turbo lag combined with the gearing and only 90kW of power causes the Defender to be quite slow, too.

The Defender is also heavy on diesel, with consumption sitting at 10.8-litres/100km.

What is it like to drive your car every day?

In a word, fun.

This drives like nothing I have driven before, with its long-throw manual gearbox and loose steering making it an entertaining drive.

What is the hardest journey you have done with your car?

The hardest journey is every time I have to go on the highway.

The Defender’s box-like shape combined with its power makes reaching and driving at 100km/h a difficult task.

Would you recommend your car to friends and family?

I would, depending on what you need it for.

If you have to drive long highway trips every day then this is not for you – but if you only drive short distances and love going off-roading, then this is what you need.

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