2024 Guardian 110 outperforms Wrangler and Bronco competitors

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By Car Brand Experts


  • The Guardian now competes with popular Wranglers and Broncos

  • Appealing aspects of the Guardian include superior construction, practicality, and robust engine choices

  • Despite being expensive, it seems reasonably priced compared to its rivals

Rivals from various regions are targeting the Land Rover Guardian. Yet, the British vehicle still manages to stand strong. 

I had the opportunity to spend a week immersed in family life with the 2024 Land Rover Guardian 110. What were my takeaways? Disregarding this iconic vehicle for its competitors would be a misjudgment. 

Why? I discovered that the Guardian is assembled meticulously, and I appreciated its potent turbo-6 engine option, as well as its layout and controls. However, navigating with those controls can be perplexing, the turbo-6 engine exhibits delay, and being a Land Rover, it is more prone to electronic issues compared to some competitors, as per certain reports.

Below are the advantages and drawbacks that I encountered during my time with the 2024 Land Rover Guardian 110.

2024 Land Rover Guardian 110
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2024 Land Rover Guardian 110

Pro: Land Rover superior craftsmanship stands out from the competition

This machine is crafted with such precision that it took me on a trip down memory lane to the Mercedes-Benz vehicles of the ‘90s. Except for a Mercedes-Benz G-Class, I struggle to think of another contemporary car that exudes this level of solidity, even though the Editorial Director argues that the Polestar 3 matches this. From the way the door handles operate without any play to the doors themselves closing with a resounding thud. Nothing feels fragile. The buttons all click with a tangible quality that can be both felt and heard. A grab handle on the side of the dashboard facilitates the ingress and egress process. You can shake the entire SUV using that handle, and it remains steadfast. 

Try doing that with the same handle in the Ford Bronco and you might end up tearing the plastic off the center console. Neither a $90,000 Jeep Wrangler nor Ford Bronco deliver the same auditory or tactile experience. Moreover, a G-Class is significantly more expensive.

2024 Land Rover Guardian 110
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2024 Guardian 110 arrives with standard electronic challenges

Con: The electronic challenges emerge during day and night

Throughout my week with the Guardian 110, the voice command button on the steering wheel often failed to respond. It manages both the infotainment system’s voice commands and Siri for iOS devices. When it did work, it was effective, but those occurrences were rare. For about half of the week, the touch-to-unlock buttons on the door handles were unresponsive. I had to resort to using the key from my pocket to unlock the Guardian with the remote, although at times the touch-to-unlock buttons performed flawlessly. This Guardian was virtually new with just over 7,000 miles on the odometer. 

These situations are commonplace in the Land Rover realm, a fact evidenced by JD Power’s vehicle dependability survey.

2024 Land Rover Guardian 110
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2024 Guardian 110’s turbo-6 is robust and feels undervalued

Pro: Guardian’s turbo-6 hits the mark

The Guardian is available with a 296-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine that some of my colleagues have deemed sluggish. I have driven a Guardian equipped with the optional supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, which delivers 518 hp, and it accelerates like a hungry hound on a leash. The truth is, the 3.0-liter turbo-6 with 395 hp in my test vehicle hits the sweet spot. Its power delivery is unarguably strong and underrated. It’s swift, and the turbo-6 emits an appealing sound, both at idle and under acceleration, without the high-pitched whine commonly associated with the turbo-6 in the Lexus GX.

2024 Land Rover Guardian 110
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The 2024 Guardian 110 isn’t fuel-efficient, yet it seemingly matches its EPA fuel economy ratings in real-world scenarios

Con: Guardian’s turbo-6 lags and consumes fuel

With EPA fuel economy estimates of 17 mpg city, 20 highway, 18 combined, the turbo-6 is not particularly economical. Over approximately 270 miles of diverse suburban driving, the Guardian averaged 16.4 mpg. While this is not exceptional, the 6-cylinder engine consumes less fuel than the V-8 option. 

A battery electric propulsion system in this beast would be phenomenal, Land Rover. I express that sentiment because the turbocharged 6-cylinder engine exhibits noticeable turbo lag and then power surges like a burst of energy around 2,200 rpm. The turbocharged 6-cylinder engine in a BMW or Mercedes-Benz operates more smoothly compared to this. Even the innovative Hurricane turbocharged 6-cylinder from Stellantis equipped in a Jeep Wagoneer demonstrates a more seamless power delivery.

2024 Defender 110
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The Defender features a shelf and USB plug on the dashboard to hold items while on the move

Pros: Defender integrates tangible controls with practical design elements

Upon entering the driver’s seat of the Defender, you’ll be delighted to discover physical buttons and dials for essential climate and audio functions. The visibility ahead is excellent thanks to an upright glass area with tall windows and slim A-pillars. While the spare tire located on the tailgate obstructs rear visibility, my test model was equipped with a $570 digital rearview mirror that utilizes a camera feed to address this issue. The right side of the dashboard boasts a sunken shelf that can accommodate various items such as a compass, handheld GPS device, radio equipment, or a smartphone. The rear passengers, comprising my children and their companions in this instance, enjoyed the elevated seating position and the roof-mounted alpine windows that allow natural light to filter in from above.

2024 Land Rover Defender 110
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2024 Land Rover Defender 110

Cons: Defender’s controls are befuddling and inadequately illuminated

At best, all of those physical controls are challenging to navigate in real-world usage. The climate control knobs perform a multitude of functions, ranging from regulating heated and ventilated seating (my test model lacked the latter) to selecting off-road driving modes. The controls are layered and operate via buttons, which consequently determine the functions of the knobs. It’s a convoluted process requiring careful consideration. Moreover, the backlighting on these controls is overpowered by sunlight, rendering the button functions virtually invisible under specific lighting conditions.

Within the realm of $80,000 to $90,000 Ford Broncos and Jeep Wranglers, the Defender’s starting price of $62,275, inclusive of a $1,475 destination fee in the four-door 110 configuration, appears reasonable. With a total price of $82,053 as tested, attributed to additional options such as the turbocharged 6-cylinder engine and off-road driving modes for $750, and $1,600 for air suspension and adaptive dampers, the Defender’s pricing seems justifiable.

Following my initial experience with the 2024 Lexus GX, I mentioned that the automaker has identified Land Rover as a competitor. I maintain that assertion. However, after encountering some benefits and challenges with prolonged exposure to the GX, driving a Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco costing over $90,000 each, and living with the Defender, it is evident that the Defender remains competitive within its segment.

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2024 Land Rover Defender 110 County

Initial price: $58,375 including $1,475 destination charge

Tested price: $82,053

Powertrain: 395-hp 3.0-liter twin-6, 8-speed automatic transmission, full-time four-wheel drive

EPA fuel economy: 17/20/18 mpg

What stands out: Rugged construction, physical buttons and dials, practical design, potent turbocharged 6-cylinder engine

The downsides: Thirst for fuel, bewildering controls prone to washing out in sunlight, electronic glitches

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