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Land rover defender 90 75th anniversary feature

2023 Land Rover Defender 75th Anniversary Review: It’s Perfect

With so many “appliance cars” on sale today it’s refreshing to see a company consistently leaning into the emotional side of the equation. And as far as brands are concerned, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) sits at the top of the character food chain. Even as the world moves to stricter emissions controls, safety regulations that force designers’ hands, and autonomy, they manage to sneak in a few exceptional cars to the market that buck the trend. The Defender 75th Anniversary is one of those cars.

It’s the latest in a long line of character-filled cars like the Jaguar F-Pace SVR which I drove recently, the recently announced 2024 Range Rover Sport SV, and special editions like the Project 8. It’s safe to say they have the blueprint nailed when you’re talking about character. Let’s check out the 75th.

Land rover defender 90 75th anniversary wheel and badge on rear tail gate
You can see the detailing of the 75th Anniversary badge on the right | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

What Makes the Defender 75th Anniversary Special?

First and foremost, we have to talk about the exclusive colour. I think it looks fantastic in ‘Grasmere Green’ and you can find it all around the vehicle. Starting with the matching wheels and centre caps on the exterior, but also on the inside with elements of the dashboard in the same colour. Contrasting Ceres Silver coloured bumpers tie in the details, while the inside makes use of Resist Ebony on the seats.

Those who plan on taking the car offroad will appreciate the veneer on the centre console made from Robustec material. I’ve been told is the most robust fabric available on the Defender.

Grasmere green defender in full sun
Grasmere Green changes quite dramatically in full sun | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

All 75th Limited Edition models are optioned with a Folding Fabric Roof, while the 14-way driver and passenger heated electric memory seats are some of the comfiest I’ve sat in. It hit negative temperatures when I took the car to Hill End and the heated steering wheel was an absolute godsend, not to mention the Three Zone Climate Control. The special edition is also equipped with a Tow hitch receiver, black roof rails and the advanced OFF-ROAD Capability Package, but more on that below.

I have to give special mention to the number of thumbs up I received just driving this Tonka truck around town. I love the way it changes colour with different light conditions, and there’s a noticeable metallic flake in the paint that gets picked up in the full sun. It’s a special car.

How Does the Defender 75th Anniversary Drive?

It’s easy to talk about the engine and drivetrain because there’s only one available for the Defender 75th Anniversary in Australia. It arrives in P400 spec with a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder mild-hybrid petrol engine that produces 294kW of power at 5500rpm and 550Nm of torque at 2000rpm through an eight-speed automatic. In my testing, the car averaged around 11 litres/100km, higher than the 9.9 litres/100km claimed. With its 90-litre fuel tank, you’ll get nearly 900km to a full tank of petrol.

On my drive along the Bridle Track out to Hill End (you’ll see plenty of my photos scattered throughout this article) there was plenty of power on tap. If anything, it’s so powerful that the throttle response can be a little peaky in normal mode when you cresting mounds offroad.

Land rover defender 90 75th anniversary on the bridle track
You can see just how dusty the Bridle Track was on my way out to Hill End, NSW | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Of course, if you’re tackling a serious piece of terrain, you can utilise the full suite of ‘Terrain Response’ driving modes such as Grass/Gravel/Snow Mode, Mud & Ruts Mode, Sand Mode, and Rock Crawl Mode that soften the throttle response for a smoother ride. It also plays with the traction control system, engages the centre and rear differential lock, and raises the ride height for greater clearance offroad.

This might be a limited edition vehicle, but it’s also one of the most capable vehicles you can buy off the lot with a 38-degree approach angle and a 40-degree departure angle. The standard fit air suspension is comfortable both on-road and off-road. But it’s the way the shorter wheel-base car leans through corners as you steer it with the hilariously oversized steering wheel that adds worlds of charm.

RELATED: Land Rover Defender 90 Review: Bite-Sized Fun.

Inside the defender 75th anniversary
You can see the Grasmere Green colour extends to the interior | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

What’s the Defender 75th Anniversary Like on the Inside?

Inside, you’ll immediately notice the rugged nature of the interior. Look past the 75th badges on the dashboard and you’ll find the Cross Car Beam is finished in brushed Grasmere Green Powder Coat, while the seats are finished in Resist Ebony and privacy glass fitted to the rear windows. We had a chance to roll four deep as a team when we shot this car and the space in the second row is admirable for such a small car. Of course, you’ll sacrifice boot space, but you can still fit a large duffel bag or carry-on suitcase.

Infotainment is taken care of by the 11.4-inch Pivi Pro infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. There’s even a wireless charger to keep your phone topped up while it streams.

I really appreciated the integration of the other elements such as the Head-Up Display and the 3D Surround Camera when off-road. The head-up display tells you exactly where your wheels are pointing, while the 3D Surround Camera even includes wheel cameras so you can pick the perfect line over ruts and avoid damaging those rare Grasmere Green wheels.

Finally, I’ll give a special mention to the Meridian Sound System that’s one of the best in any car at this price point. It’s on par with the Meridian system in the F-Pace SVR I drove recently.

RELATED: Farm-ready Land Rover Defender 110 Hard Top Joins the Range.

Land rover defender 90 75th anniversary rear end in trees
Land Rover Defender 90 75th Anniversary | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Man of Many’s Verdict on the Defender 75th Anniversary

If the Defender 90 V8 is the ultimate ‘FlexUV’ then the Defender 75th Anniversary is the off-road version. It looks awesome in Grasmere Green, is collectable, and offers all the standard-fit factory options that you’d want in a new Defender. On the inside, it ticks all the tech boxes, while the exterior options look great.

I was apprehensive about the choice to go with the P400 petrol engine, however, around town it’s a powerful and smooth option that best fits the character of the special edition vehicle. Considering the rarity of the vehicle, I’d question if ANY of the customers who purchase this Defender will take it offroad, and I think the factory knows this by choosing to only offer the petrol engine.

Above all, the car oozes character. I look forward to driving every new Defender I get behind the wheel of, even as much as some sportscars, but being so rare and limited this one takes the cake.

How Much Does the Defender 75th Anniversary Cost?

The new Defender 75th Limited Edition has a suggested retail price that starts at $152,077 plus on-road costs for the 90 P400, and $156,157 plus on-road costs for the 110 P400. Fallen in love with it? You’ll want to get in contact with your dealership ASAP because we’re only getting 75 of these 75th Anniversary Defenders in Australia; 25 Defender 90 and 50 Defender 110.

Check out the Defender

Land rover defender 90 75th anniversary verdict
I stayed overnight in Hill End, NSW after a long day of driving the Defender | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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