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Land Rover consistently sets the standard for the most luxurious, efficient and capable SUVs on the road. With decades of design and manufacturing history, the heritage automaker continues to perfect its vehicles with every iteration. Each new generation comes with better safety, styling and technology. 

The most popular Land Rover models are undoubtedly the Range Rover and the Defender. And while they have shared DNA, each SUV is best suited for a specific driver. Beyond that, both are available in a range of trim levels with customizable options, making for a truly bespoke ride.

Facetiously, the Range Rover has been nicknamed “the beauty,” while the Defender is commonly known as “the beast.” As cliché as this may sound, it’s a fairly accurate depiction. The Range Rover offers elegance, comfort and a smooth ride, while the Defender boasts a more rugged, tactical and durable construction at its core. Here, we compare these two popular SUVs.

The 2021 Range Rover HSE

Photography provided by Land Rover Minneapolis

Since its inception, the Range Rover has stayed true to its core design with every new generation. The 2021 model’s wide, boxy appearance pays homage to its heritage but with an updated flair. Its sleek, modern styling makes it one of the most recognizable SUVs on the road, and there’s no denying its beauty.

Inside, passengers will find plush leather seats, a plethora of touchscreens and impressive high-end finishes on nearly every surface. Creating supreme comfort in the Range Rover was a priority for the automaker, and it certainly shows. The wide, perforated, 20-way adjustable seats make longer drives so much more enjoyable, eliminating the body fatigue one might expect from other SUVs.

The 10-inch high-definition dual touchscreens on the center console control nearly every aspect of the vehicle — from climate to entertainment — essentially eliminating the need for buttons. The instrument cluster has similarly been converted to digital, with a 12-inch high-definition display in its place. It is fully customizable and can showcase additional information such as media or navigation.

The Range Rover’s striking appearance and luxurious features make it ideal for those with a larger family, promising safety and comfort for all. Plus the large rear trunk space makes running errands and hauling cargo a breeze. Ultimately, the Range Rover has proven to be great for family use while still making for an elegant date night ride.

  Starting at $97,900
  Available in 2 engine types
  Premium LED headlights with signature DRL
  Power gesture tailgate
  360° parking aid with rear-view camera
  20-way adjustable leather seats
  Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  Meridian sound system
  Terrain response
  Dynamic stability control
  Blind spot monitor
  Lane keep assist
  Clear exit monitor

The 2021 Defender

Similar to the Range Rover, the Defender honors the design of its predecessors. It was originally created in the 1940s as a rugged off-road work vehicle — hence its nickname: the beast. The 2021 model remains just as capable but has received noticeable upgrades across the board.

MotorTrend’s SUV of the Year Award is given to a singular model that the auto authority deems to have made notable achievements in the areas of engineering, efficiency, performance, safety and value. This year, 28 SUVs competed for the accolade, with the Defender claiming the title. This prestigious award should assure potential buyers that they are making a wise purchase.

The Defender lets drivers take on demanding circumstances in virtually any environment. Steep slopes, snowy trails and muddy ruts are no challenge. Technology buried deep within the SUV constantly senses and adjusts settings to optimize for current driving conditions. One of the most covetable features is the electronic air suspension, which allows drivers to adjust the ride height to better navigate obstacles or cross deep waters, ensuring the auto can handle the task at hand.

The technological advancements Land Rover was able to execute in a reasonably priced SUV are impressive. Although the Range Rover does offer some off-road features, the Defender boasts more and at a lower price point. Overall, the Defender is a serious adventure vehicle, promising the opportunity to explore new areas of the world without limitations. 

  Starting at $49,900
  Available in 2-door or 4-door configuration
  7 paint colors
  12 wheel options
  8-speed automatic transmission
  LED headlights
  Solar attenuating windshield
  Electronic air suspension
  Hill launch and hill descent control
  Emergency braking
  Lane keep assist
  10” touchscreen infotainment screen

To learn more, visit Land Rover Minneapolis.

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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