The rugged, two-door 4×4 is a fast-fading vehicle format. Jeep’s Wrangler has kept it alive, though, and now it is joined by the return of Land Rover’s Defender SUV, which is available in two-door “90” guise. (The Defender 110 is the four-door model; similar to Jeep’s Wrangler Unlimited.) At first blush, the Jeep Wrangler and Defender 90 appear to come from vastly different sides of the tracks, so to speak. The Wrangler starts at $29,790, while the Defender 90 is expected to come in at just under $50,000 in its most affordable form. So, what are we doing comparing the two two-doors, at least price-wise?
Well, Land Rover has finally added the Defender 90 to its website (initially, only Defender 110 details were available), so we can finally see that the mid-range Defender 90 First Edition will cost $66,125. (We expect Land Rover will eventually offer less-expensive 90 S and SE trim levels, as well as a pricier Defender X, just like on the four-door 110 when the SUV goes on sale here.) Even though that places the Defender 90 First Edition $3,550 under the Defender 110 First Edition’s MSRP, over $60,000 is an eye-popping figure for a two-door SUV.
You probably wouldn’t have guessed it, but that figure isn’t as far off of what Jeep can charge for a Wrangler. Sure, the least-expensive Jeep comes in under $30,000, grab one of the upper trim levels, but things quickly get expensive with options. Jump to the top of the Wrangler’s trim level structure, and you’ll land in a Rubicon Recon; a fancy take on the hardcore, off-road-prepped Rubicon that comes standard with the Wrangler’s up-level, electrically assisted, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission instead of the base 3.6-liter V-6 (which offers an available manual transmission).
The Recon runs $44,875 to start and going to town on the options—including the $495 body-color fenders, $2,195 body-color hardtop (with a $495 sound-deadening headliner), $195 extra-cost paint, $1,395 leather seats, $695 Cold Weather package (heated seats and steering wheel), $1,695 8.4-inch Radio and Premium Audio Group (larger touchscreen with navigation), $1,295 Alpine audio system, $165 in floor mats, $495 remote engine starting, $495 proximity key entry, $795 towing package, $895 Safety Group (blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, LED taillights), and $795 Advanced Safety Group (adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, automated emergency braking, forward collision warning)—balloons the MSRP to $55,185.
Land Rover doesn’t offer nearly as many options for the Defender 90 First Edition, outside of four themed exterior personalization packages that run $700–$4,700. Out of the box, the 90 First Edition comes with an air suspension system, LED exterior lighting, and essentially the same safety and luxury equipment as the loaded Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon (and then some). Extras beyond what the Jeep can muster include a sixth seat (a front “jump” seat gives the Defender a de-facto front bench seat), 12-way power front seats with memory function, a 10.0-inch touchscreen, and a Meridian audio system. The Defender 90 First Edition also out-muscles the Jeep, thanks to its electrically assisted, 395-hp forced-induction V-6 engine.
Are the Defender 90 First Edition’s upgrades over the Wrangler Rubicon Recon worth its $11,000 premium? We think the Land Rover’s extra equipment is worth it, but your preferences for each SUV will probably color your opinions. One thing’s for sure—once the world hits the play button after this long pause, we look forward to getting a Wrangler and a Defender 90 together for a little one-on-one, two-door 4×4 off-road competition.
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