Vehicle Type: Luxury midsize SUV.
Price Range: $104,200 - $114,400
Powertrain: The 2022 Land Rover Defender V8 comes with one powertrain option.
It features a 5.0-liter V8 powertrain that puts out a massive 518 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 461 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 revs.
The engine is supercharged and intercooled with an aluminum block and heads.
It runs through Land Rover’s eight-speed automatic transmission and is available exclusively with a four-wheel-drive configuration.
It's available as a two-door model (Defender 90) and a four-door model (Defender 110).
What’s New for 2022?
2022 is the first year that Land Rover is offering a V8 engine in the Defender and it is available in both the Defender 90 and the larger Defender 110.
This version can now also be upgraded to the Carpathian Edition, which features Carpathian Gray exterior paint, black exterior accents, and Xenon Blue brake calipers.
You can also now upgrade to an 11.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, heated seats, and a host of other high-end features like rear climate controls and complete connectivity throughout the vehicle.
- One of the few SUVs in its category that offers a high-powered engine alongside a short, driveable wheelbase that enhances handling and acceleration.
- Available as a two-door Defender 90 or a four-door Defender 110, both of which have lots of power to spare and tight, responsive steering that is unprecedented in this category.
- A high-end SUV that is more than capable in off-road situations and the V8 version takes that philosophy to the most extreme end of the spectrum.
- Many available luxury-oriented add-ons and features like a touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot.
- The higher-end Carpathian trim level gives you a sleeker, more contemporary feel than what comes standard on the vintage-inspired Defender V8.
- With a starting MSRP of $104,200, this is not a budget-friendly SUV and it won’t be accessible to all drivers.
- Doesn’t have the same roomy passenger space that comparable SUVs in this power category will have, making it a less-than-ideal choice for families, even in the four-door version.
- The all-independent suspension is stiff and won’t offer the smooth ride you would expect from an SUV with this much high-performance equipment.
- At lower speeds, the Defender’s eight-speed automatic transmission tends to stay in higher gears, which can lead to erratic acceleration and unexpected power surges with little throttle response.
Would we buy one? Absolutely! Even at the higher price tag, the performance and massive engine power make it an incredibly fun vehicle to drive.
The Land Rover Defender has had a reputation for high-end driveability and practicality wrapped up in a high-performance package and this continues in the 2022 model year. For this year, the Defender is now available with a supercharged V8 engine that puts out an enormous 518 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque.
What makes this unique is the fact that this massive powertrain is pulling an SUV with an incredibly short wheelbase. The V8 model Defender is available in a two-door version, called the Defender 90, and a four-door version called the Defender 110. The 90 has a 101.9-inch wheelbase and the 110 is just 119 inches. This gives the Defender V8 a quick, responsive feel that is usually reserved for a hot hatchback instead of a luxury midsize SUV.
On top of the powerful engine, the Defender V8 comes with all the amenities and features you would expect from a Land Rover vehicle. The interior successfully straddles the luxury, vintage, and practical lines and features the look and feel that the Defender has been known for years. The rugged look is only a cover for the luxurious features like dual-zone climate control and complete connectivity for the Pivi Pro infotainment system.
The Defender V8 also features new Dynamic and Comfort driving modes that allow you to select between different shifting patterns and the response of the active dampers. The Dynamic mode will also allow you to reduce the stability control system, which can give you more responsive steering in tight corners, especially if you opt for the all-season 22-inch wheels. The height-adjustable air suspension and electronically-locking rear differential also give you some very capable off-road capabilities in conjunction with the anti-roll bars, which give you a lot more control, especially for a vehicle as tall as the Defender 90 V8.
The new Defender 90 V8 also comes with safety features that are essential for any modern vehicle out on the road. These include standard automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane-keeping assist. It also has available adaptive cruise control if you want to upgrade.
Overall Score: 4/5 stars
Driving Experience: 5/5 stars
If you can look past the cost of ownership, the 2022 Land Rover Defender V8 is a joy to drive.
The flexibility of the independent suspension gives the Defender V8 a nimble, athletic feel that people who are used to SUVs of comparable size will be surprised by.
The Defender V8 drives more like a sports car than a midsize SUV, even if you choose the four-door Defender 110. If you are looking for an SUV that drives like Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, or BMW, it could be a great choice.
The V8 also offers incredibly quick acceleration, which can come in handy on both pavement and rougher terrain.
The Defender V8 is also incredibly quiet, which is rare for V8 engines, especially those with a supercharger.
Safety Features: 4/5 stars
The 2022 Land Rover Defender V8 comes with a fairly large suite of standard safety features including automated emergency braking and lane-keeping assist.
While the Defender is very tall, its short wheelbase gives it less surface area on the ground, the different driving modes give you a wide range of control so you can adapt to different road conditions and get the right feel for the terrain.
The standard tires on the Defender have a short sidewall, which offers some limited stability, and a gentler tread pattern. If you want a little more grip on the road, it may be worth it to upgrade to the optional all-season tires.
The Brembo brakes on the Defender V8 offer an incredibly short stopping distance and a responsive feel that contributes to the safety and driveability of the vehicle.
The unibody construction of the Defender V8 gives it the stability and tight feel that you need if you want to feel like you have constant control at all times, which will, in turn, make the vehicle much safer on the road.
Value: 3/5 stars
While there are a lot of great features available with the Defender V8, the six-figure price tag will decrease the overall value no matter how impressive it is.
One of the biggest contributors to the lower score on this portion of the Defender V8 review is its cost of ownership. According to Kelley Blue Book, the 2022 Defender V8 has a five-year cost to own of $123,185 at around $1.64 per mile.
On top of this expensive total cost of ownership, the higher-powered engine also means that the fuel consumption will be much higher than comparably-sized SUVs with smaller powertrains.
Tech Features: 4/5 stars
When searching for a luxury SUV, tech features are always going to play a part in how you make your choice and the Defender has a lot to choose from.
The Defender V8 comes with a standard 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that can be upgraded to 11.4 inches if you want a little more space.
The infotainment system on this model also runs on Land Rover’s Pivi Pro system, which is an upgrade from the previous Touch Pro Duo interface.
The steering wheel also has a wide variety of buttons and switches that can control all the tech in the cabin, which is incredibly convenient, especially when driving on rough terrain.
Practicality: 3/5 stars
While the Defender V8 is on the high-end luxury SUV spectrum, it is missing some of the practicality that you might expect from a vehicle in this class.
The cabin is much smaller than it looks from the outside and the back seat doesn’t have nearly as much legroom as other SUVs, especially the two-door Defender 90 model.
The very poor fuel economy also makes the Defender V8 less practical and usable for things like commuting or long road trips.
The large pillars that hold up the tall roof of the cabin also tend to create blind spots that can be disconcerting, especially on the highway or on crowded city streets.
A cheaper SUV by Ford, Toyota, or even the Jeep Wrangler may end up being more practical even though they won’t have the same thrilling top speed as the Defender V8.
Styling & Design: 5/5 stars
Aside from the engine, the most exciting thing about the 2022 Defender V8 is its sleek style and rugged design.
The tall, boxy exterior cuts an incredibly striking profile and the vintage-inspired interior is both unique and classically beautiful.
If you go for the more-expensive Carpathian Edition, you get even more elegant design touches like painted calipers and black accents throughout.
If you are looking for a luxury SUV that looks like it can take you to the mountains and has the power to back it up, the Defender could be a great option for you.
Fuel Efficiency: 2/5 stars
The Defender V8 is not going to win any awards for fuel efficiency and, as with any vehicle, the powerful engine is going to make it much more of a gas guzzler than cars with smaller motors.
With an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 14 MPG city and 19 MPG highway, you are going to be spending much more on fuel than you would with a Defender with a smaller engine or a similar SUV.
This lower fuel economy is partially due to the fact that the engine is turbocharged. Turbo will always consume more fuel and even though it is a smaller SUV, the Defender’s supercharged 5.0-liter V8 is no exception.
The engine specs aren’t the only thing contributing to the lower fuel economy. The tall body and high ground clearance of the Defender V8 also make it less aerodynamic, which can be a big issue if you are trying to save money on fuel.
What’s it Going to Cost Me?
While the standard Land Rover Defender comes with a variety of trim options, the V8 variant has only two: The base model and the Carpathian Edition. Both of these trim levels are available as two-door Defender 90 versions and four-door Defender 110 versions.
The 2022 Land Rover Defender starts at $104,260 with an additional $1,350 destination charge. if you are going to opt for the two-door Defender 90 model. If you want the larger four-door edition, the 110, that is going to start at $107,460. While this is cheaper than a Mercedes AMG G63, it is still nearly double what you will pay for a base model Land Rover Defender with the standard four-cylinder engine.
The base Defender V8 comes with the turbocharged 5.0-liter V8 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and 22-inch wheels. The available colors are Glacier White Metallic, Storm Gray, and Ultimate Black Metallic and all interiors come with suede Ebony seats. There is an available Extended Black Exterior Package that features gloss black fender vents, a Narvik black hood checker plate, and glass black Defender script skid pans.
If you want to upgrade to the Carpathian Edition of the Defender 90 V8, you can expect to pay $112,550. The Defender 110 version of the Carpathian Edition starts at $114,400. While the Carpathian Edition has the same performance specs, it has some extra exterior stylistic features like Carpathian Gray paint, satin protective film, a black contrast tailgate door, and a black contrast hood. The available interior stylistic enhancements include Windsor leather, Dinamica Suedecloth, and Robustec seats.
Extra things like all-weather tires will cost you an additional $350 and if you want to upgrade the touchscreen infotainment system, this will tack another $140 onto the final price tag. There are also several performance enhancements available like custom transmission tuning and updated roll bars.