Make no mistake, the new Land Rover Defender is a very capable vehicle in its own right. It has off-road facilities like an automatically locking centre differential, an expert terrain response system, and mechanically it bears class-leading approach, departure, and roll-over angles. While it bears the credentials, Richard Hammond isn’t convinced that it deserves its Defender Badge.

Before you dismiss his comments, we’d be remiss not to mention what the series one Defender was all about. It was more than just a car, it was an experience; as the first readily available off-road vehicle in the UK, it could get you places you would never dream of in a normal vehicle. Hammond even goes as far as mentioning that the Defender was the first car that many people saw from remote areas because it was the first that could get there.

2020 Land Rover Defender 110 Off-Roading Mountainside
2020 Land Rover Defender 110 Off-Roading Sunset
2021 Land Rover Defender 90

Back to real-time, the famed automotive journalist goes to take his dog for a walk. Even with its leather interior, there were no issues having his canine companion hop inside. However, he couldn’t take an offroad shortcut because he declared that he hadn’t asked Land Rover if he could take it off-piste – and we think this says it all with the new car.

This is the best Discovery you've ever built, you just put the wrong name on it.

“One final thing, why didn’t you finish the job properly, and put a Discovery badge on it?” said Hammond. “This is the best Discovery you’ve ever built, you just put the wrong name on it.”

After a leisurely walk with his dog in the beautiful British countryside, Hammond refuses to let his furry friend back in the car because of some muddy paws. Sure, it’s just a fun bit for the video, but it raises the real question if the British automaker has gone soft with the Defender.