Car tug of war battles are quite a strange internet sensation that doesn’t exactly prove which vehicle is better, but does provide some unique entertainment.

There’s a host of factors that can help you win a tug of war competition but weight and traction are key if you’re going to stand a chance. If you cannot gain traction and put power down to the ground, you’re in for a rude awakening. The team from carwow decided that it was time for the new Land Rover Defender to take on the old truck in a tug of war to see if new is indeed better than old.

Our first contender is the analogue Land Rover Defender we all know and love. This particular Defender is powered by a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine that produces 122 bhp (90kW) and 265 lb-ft (360nm) of torque. This old school engine is mated to a manual transmission and manual low range mode which hearkens back to the engaging days of off-roading before computers took over. This particular Defender is fitted with some very aggressive off-road tyres which are a massive help when attempting to gain traction on slippery terrain like a grassy field.

Compare this old school Defender with the new truck and you can see just how far things have progressed. Now the Defender has an 8-speed automatic transmission mated to a far more powerful 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine the produces 240 bhp (187kW) and 317 lb-ft (430nm) of torque. This new school defender relies on computer intervention to manage traction and give drivers the best possible performance during tough off-road stations. As with all modern cars, this new Defender is heavier than the old truck thanks to modern amenities and safety standards.

The winner of this tug of war is quite obvious. The new Defender is more powerful, heavier, and has an automatic transmission. This makes it much harder for the lighter, less powerful, manual transmission Defender of yesteryear to keep up. Regardless of the results both of these vehicles are great in their own way.