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1997 Land Rover Defender 90

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Vehicle Highlights

Information shown for entry-level SUV.

Fuel Economy:
City 12/Hwy 14/Comb 13 MPG
Max Seating: 4
Engine: V8, 4.0 Liter Transmission: Automatic
Country of Origin: United Kingdom Country of Assembly: United Kingdom

1997 Land Rover Defender 90 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 10 Ratings for the 1997 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    7.5/10
    Styling
    9.7/10

Great Truck, but know what you're getting

By on Tuesday, February 02, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "real head turner, holds value like little else"

Cons: "noisy, thirsty, and expensive to buy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have driven my Defender 90 for the past several years. Purchased it in Seattle and drove down to Texas over 4 days, even going going wheeling in Moab along the way, without any problems. It's actually a great truck. Most people buy them because of how they look, but they're actually quite reliable and easy to work on trucks. Most things can be removed with a screw driver and there is not a lot of electronics to worry about. The V8 gas engine is good but the fuel economy is only around 12-13 mpg in the city. Also, the small fuel tank means only about 200 miles between fill ups. Keep in mind though that this is a truck geared for off road use, so the low gearing is not the best for speed or fuel economy. On the road, the truck is noisy and you will hear the engine. It's also not silky smooth like a Lexus and you will know you are driving a truck. But again, low geared transmissions typically are noisy, especially when they hold the gear trying to get up to speed. You can easily drive highway speeds, but just know that 65-75 is really around the most the Defender will be happy with. Around town, it's pretty easy to drive, mainly because of the short wheelbase and the high sitting position. Speaking of sitting position, the seat is only adjustable forward and back, and the steering wheel is large, like a tractor, and fixed so no tilt. The american version has an odd sitting position where your feet are actually angled off to one side and not directly straight in front of you like in other cars. It's probably a remnant of the fact that the truck was designed for right hand drive. It is not horrible, but it is present. All the switches work and I have not noticed any leaks (knock on wood) but it is an 18 year old British vehicle so I'm sure there will be some out there that do. The environment controls (heater and a/c) are pretty basic, so don't expect a bunch of options regarding where the heat goes or even that good temperature modulation. The a/c works pretty well, even in the Texas heat, but the heater can leave you a bit cold on chilly days, even in Texas "cold". Certainly the HVAC is not as good as modern cars (or even cars of the same vintage). I drive my truck daily and having a good Rover mechanic is a must. We have a great shop here and they are the only ones who work on my truck. I have not had to fix much on my truck. The a/c needed some work which cost about $900 and the radiator had to be changed due to a leak which cost about $600 with labor and tax. Parts can sometimes be a challenge but there are good retailers in the states and you can buy almost anything abroad. Off-road ability is legendary so there is little I can add there. Overall, it is a fantastic truck, even after all these years and it is relatively affordable to own if you find the right one. Since it is a specialty type vehicle, avoid ones with rust and needing a lot of work since parts can be harder to find within the states. Best part is they hold their value and with the end of the Defender line, even in Britain in 2015, I can only see these Defender 90's value go up. My advice? Grab one when you can, wheel it, drive it, but take care of it because if you do, you'll probably still make money when you go to sell it. Whatever you do though, don't buy one thinking that it'll be as comfortable, good to drive or friendly as a modern car because you'll be disappointed and miss out on a truly great vehicle."

Update on towing my Defender 90 behind motorhome

By on Monday, July 29, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great driver and towed vehicle."

Cons: "Gas mileage but if that is what you want.. sorry!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Just purchased a new Roadmaster All-Terain towbar for towing my 1997 Defender 90 behind my motorhome. Still is just all I hoped would be the right vehicle. My motorhome is a Freightliner FL70 four-door chassis, 40-foot. And the Defender 90 is just the right size and weight. And it is my daily driver."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Yaz's opinion of D-90

By on Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

"fun to drive. goes anywhere. unique. I don't care if my 3 big ole dogs jump in all muddy sandy ect. Pricey to maintain when something breaks. loud road noise. Small fuel tank. Ive owned mine for 11 years and still love it!!!!!"

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

My motorhome tow behind

By on Thursday, June 25, 2009

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

"I primarily purchased the Defender 90 because I needed a vehicle with high ground clearance but not long length to tow behind my motorhome. I found the only baseplate in the country for my towbar and had it installed. Put it into neutral-neutral and 1st position with the ignition key off I go. I've towed it all over the country. People stop me at traffic lights and parking lots all of the time to talk about it and some even want to buy it but I'm not interested. Got hit broadside last year...spun around...$8000 damage. Had it fixed... and it drives like a dream at any speed. Can't ask more than that from a vehicle. Had it up on the "Going To The Sun Road" in the Glacier Nat'l Park and it was surefooted all the way... my wife wasn't the least bit scared of the dropoffs."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

It's Different!

By on Friday, November 23, 2007

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

"This vehicle is definitely different. It's really not meant as a daily driver and is a rather expensive toy, but if you have an extra $40 grand to throw around, plus more for repairs, you'll have fun with this vehicle! (note: we sold ours because it was too costly to keep on the road)"

9 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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