Is there a suitable replacement for a Land Rover Defender?

I have a 25 yr old Land Rover Defender 110, it gets used for taking the dogs walking, runs to the tip, shopping, tows a caravan to the odd muddy festival I working on summer time. I’d like to get something newer to give it a rest from the winter salt, I do not want a pick up as they are classed as a commercial vehicle, that causes issues running garden rubbish to the tip. I live rurally in the Fens, anywhere I take the dogs is pretty muddy at this time of year, so some ability to get in and out of mud is vital, single track roads, you get forced onto verges to pass oncoming traffic.

Most modern SUVs appear full of needless technology and lacking in robustness, my wife has a Kia Sportage and tested a Dacia Duster, I include these in this assessment. Also not a fan of more recent Land Rover offerings, due to reliability concerns. Part of the worry is my wife had a 2014 Kia Rio, had trouble with the power steering, a new steering column cost £2200 all told, I don’t think I’ve spent that much on servicing the defender in the last 5 years.

I also own a C250 Mercedes estate, purchased due to a good local specialist, I bought it towards the end of lockdown but find myself using the defender still for the reasons stated above.
I guess the annual mileage of the two vehicles is 10k, I drive a Transit connect 20k per year on top of this. It appears to me that modern SUV are aimed at town drivers or school run folk, and aren’t very utility at all.

£15k budget, less would better. What do you recommend please?

Asked on 19 December 2023 by B Penny

Answered by David Ross
Replacing a Defender is a difficult task, simply because the age of its design means there are no real equivalent vehicles made in recent years that are not more sophisticated and therefore more expensive to repair.

If you are set on a second car we would suggest looking at the Subaru Outback, which has useful off-road ability, is tough (although not as tough as a Defender) and offers a good degree of comfort and refinement. Alternatively you could consider investing your budget in upgrades to your Defender to ensure its longevity as it seems like the perfect tool for your needs.
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