BEST ENGINE – Td5
IT’S A close call, with the legendary Tdi motors vying for first place and the advanced technology of the TDCI engines dwarfing everything that has gone before. The V8s deserve their own accolade for endowing Defenders with a valid petrolhead reputation, helping what was already a cult vehicle to gain classic status well ahead of its time, especially in the 4.0-litre powered Anniversary models.
Among the superb collection of engines that we’ve considered, the Td5 swings in comfortably as the best Defender engine because it has so many unique qualities and because it perfectly matches the Defender and its evolution. For starters, the Td5 was designed and built by Land Rover in-house. It brought a raft of then new technology, including entry-level electronic engine management, all of which has proved dependable in the long term and has endowed Defender with the perfect level of performance without compromising the chassis, suspension and drivetrain dynamics. And it’s the best sounding diesel – powerful, sweet and slightly truck-like – a sound that’s right for a Defender. All this, and it still lends itself to DIY repair and maintenance, with new and used parts in plentiful supply at sensible prices.
The Td5 engine has produced the ultimate Defender that is balanced, efficient, capable and real – a vehicle that is thoroughly Land Rover both in origin and essence.