Jeep Wrangler vs Land Rover Defender – Which is better for overlanding?

The Jeep Wrangler vs Land Rover Defender debate is as old as these two vehicles are. So, which is the better trailblazer?

Vehicle info & features
13. Nov 2022
Jeep Wrangler vs Land Rover Defender – Which is better for overlanding?

The Jeep Wrangler vs Land Rover Defender debate is as old as these two vehicles are. This is because they both trace their respective lineages to two of the very first off-roaders ever – the Willys Jeep and the Land Rover Series I. Because these are two excellent overlanding options, and they represent the US vs UK dynamic, let’s compare the two.

Defender vs Wrangler: Powertrain 

We start by comparing the powertrains of these two icons. The Land Rover Defender has always offered a wider range of engines and cylinder options. You can find 8-, 6-, and 4-cylinder variants, including turbodiesel ones on the brit. 

In contrast, Jeep never offered more than 3 engines on the Wrangler. However, the ones that it did were pretty great. On recent models, you can even find plug-in hybrid setups – so yes, the Wrangler has had more modern engines, which will be a factor below. 

On the older Defender models, you get manual transmissions but the Wrangler offers automatic ones as well (autos were added after 1990). Also, the Defender has always had standard 4WD but it was part-time on the Wrangler. 

Check out the Land Rover Defender vs Toyota Land Cruiser battle here:

Defender vs Toyota Land Cruiser


Defender vs Wrangler: Numbers 


The Wrangler wins this one. Despite the Land Rover offering bigger engines, all of the Wrangler models except the YJ offer more power. This changed with the current Land Rover Defender which is one of the most powerful SUVs today. 


The Defender pulls one back as it has the higher maximum towing capacity when you look at all the models. You can expect it to haul as much as 3500-4000 lbs. Meanwhile the Wrangler has a better minimum towing capacity at 2000 lbs. 


Both these vehicles are known to be gas guzzlers, unless you pick a super recent Jeep with a hybrid engine, or the current Defender – both will get you around 18 mpg. 15 mpg is the most that one can expect from both the models available for camping. 


Acceleration isn’t a strong point for these two and you can expect a 0-60 mph time of around 10 seconds for most of the model years. If we compare the current models, then the Defender wins by a long shot with its 5-second acceleration. 

Defender vs Wrangler: Interior

On the inside, it is the Jeep Wrangler that gets the win since it was always more modern and comfortable than the Defender. It took the Defender a while to catch up with the American beast. If we look at today’s models, the Defender is posher. 

Defender vs Wrangler: Driving 

The Land Rover Defender is the winner simply due to its amazing offroading ability. There are a few vehicles that can stand up to this monster (the newer model is quite soft). The Wrangler is also good if you equip it right, but the Defender doesn’t need much to be great. 

Defender vs Wrangler: Price

The Land Rover Defender should be pricier than the Wrangler as it tends to hold its value better. 

Defender vs Wrangler: Verdict 

So, who wins the Land Rover-Wrangler debate then? Well, that would be the Land Rover Defender. This is because it is the better choice when it comes to engine options, towing, offroading, and also due to its choice of engines. The Wrangler is also quite respectable here as it gets the best of the Defender in terms of power, comfort, and pricing. 

Defenders for sale Jeep Wrangler for sale


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