What’s my Defender worth?

In life, we all come across those so-called knowledgeable individuals who tell you that you have either undersold your car or you have paid too much for your new one, you know the type, the chap who has a season ticket for the corner barstool at your local pub or the louder than average member of the Golf club. I, however, are very much time served when it comes to Defender, my chosen subject on mastermind would indeed be “Land Rover 90 & 110 from 1999 to 2016”

15 May 2021 · Eldon - Barnfield Cars

what's my defender worth?

This guide has been written based on my first-hand experience, where I have sourced, purchased, and sold in excess of three hundred Land Rover Defender 90 & 110 from delivery mileage neo-vintage TD5’s up to some of the very last to roll off the production line in 2016. Fortunately, I have made more right than wrong decisions along the way and now happy to share my knowledge. My company, Barnfield is recognised as the UK’s most prolific independent Defender buyer, where our cash offers will never knowingly be beaten, submit the details of your Defender for sale here.

The value of a Defender is influenced by many factors, hopefully, the information laid out below will assist you in how to value and get the best possible price for your Defender.

Mileage – 

Although you might say that any car’s value is linked to mileage, with Defender truer than ever. Since the introduction of the TD5 engine, and with the exception to the manually opening air-vents, a 1999 Land Rover 90/110 looks the same as a 2016 Defender 90/110, hence it hasn’t cosmetically changed. Therefore, a super low mileage 2001 could be worth more than a high mileage 2015, you must also take into consideration that many Defenders are acquired as third or fourth vehicles and would never ever see a blade of grass so a higher mileage example will show signs of wear, especially if it has not been nurtured, whereas it can be difficult to tell the cosmetic difference between a well-kept 80,000-mile BMW 5 series and a 10,000-mile example. Typically, as a Defender is not the only car in the family, so they are used far less and only average around 5,000 miles per annum versus the industry average of 12,000 miles for a saloon, hatch or run of the mill SUV.

The best colour for a Defender

Putting to one side your own personal preference but focused on resale, the colours are in order of popularity.

  1. Grey – Corris, Orkney, Stornoway or Bonati 
  2. Black – Santorini, Barolo (Quite rare) or Java
  3. Brown – Havanna (Very rare)
  4. Green – Aintree, Keswick, Tonga, Epsom or Bronze
  5. Red – Firenze
  6. Silver – Indus

Any shade of blue on a Defender has no desirability and white is hard work, but a white Defender 90 may appeal to a handful of younger or mid-life crisis buyers, i.e., “blinged-up”, whereas a white 110 replicates a UN or utility company vehicle. In terms of value, a Corris grey Defender could be valued up to £2,000 more than a white one.

Ownership

Quite simply, the lower the ownership the higher the value, one owner examples are getting harder to find but would carry a premium, whereas 4 + owners would be detrimental to the value.

A Defender service History

Unlike any other model in the Land Rover line up, it is commonly accepted among Defender owners that only whilst within the 3-year manufacturer’s warranty period is it important to get servicing done by the main Land Rover dealer, and beyond this point, an annual service completed by a specialist is totally acceptable, however, a Defender with a full Land Rover main dealer service history would carry a slight premium, compared to a lower value for a vehicle that has had random, sporadic servicing. Regardless of what you have been told, there is a yearly service requirement, whether you do 10 miles per annum or 10,000 miles per annum, so a full-service history means exactly that, done every year on time.

Defender Body styles – The top 8

The trend between 90 and the 110 changes like the weather, and it’s all about how many Defenders are in the shop window at that exact moment. Unlike the family runabout or the company car, where the sale is always planned well in advance, a Defender owner can wake up one morning and decide to sell, hence one day there’s nothing in the shop window, the next the shelves are full, the stock availability is very much feast and famine. If we were to imagine that Land Rover was still manufacturing the real Defender, not the new Pretender, the order of desirability is as below with the most popular in positioned at the top;

  1. 90 Station Wagon
  2. 110 Station Wagon
  3. 110 Utility
  4. 90 Hardtop
  5. 110 Double Cab
  6. 90 Pick-up
  7. 110 Pick-up
  8. 110 High-Capacity pick-up (Not a good seller, sorry)

Land Rover Factory trim levels

Dating back to the days of the TD5 at the start of the millennium Land Rover offered a handful of trim levels, the standard, the County and the XS, they also threw a few special editions into the brochure, but for now, we will concentrate on the three trim levels. 

Starting with the basic, if you have a Defender with wind up windows and no remote locking, unless it’s in superb condition, in a great colour with an impeccable pedigree then please don’t expect to swap it for the crown jewels, this starter model is known in the trade as a “McDonald” spec, as in “Old McDonald had a farm”, hence, agriculturally basic. A typical multiple owner, patchy history, 60,000 + mileage example hasn’t much of a following, especially if it’s finished in one of the dull shades of blue like Tamar. Desirability 3/10

Next up we have the “County”, many of the well-heeled Land Rover faithful loved a “County” as it was the perfect Land Rover to go with their wax jacket and Hunter wellingtons, the “County” offered cloth seats, electric windows, Radio/CD, remote central locking and alloy wheels, a popular choice to cover both domestic and commercial roles. Desirability 7/10 or 8/10 if it has optional air-conditioning.

The height of the stock line-up was the “XS” model, aimed at the consumer who wants a little more creature comfort or who expects his or her Defender to look more like a car. The “XS” was a substantial jump up from the basic but only a few £thousand more than the “County”, which does translate into the valuation. The Defender “XS” has partial leather heated seats, air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, cubby box, factory alarm with remote locking, leather steering wheel, tubular full-length side steps, clear wing indicator lenses, making the “XS” the most desirable at 10/10.

Valuable factory options

The factory options list for Defender was not exactly expansive but had some cost options that over time have made a difference to values, see below in order of desirability.

  1. Factory Black Pack
  2. Premium leather sports seats (Not Morello & Ebony)
  3. 16” Black Sawtooth alloy wheels
  4. Factory sunroof

Aftermarket options

I do not want to purposely alienate some Defender owners but from experience, some options will not only devalue but can put off a buyer, for example, any form of winch is extremely negative, whether you have bought it for effect or not, the general opinion is that your Defender has had the guts pulled out of it and has been abused as a workhorse. Another negative is a vehicle that has been fitted with a snorkel, unless you are touring the Serengeti or unexpectedly going to drive through deep puddles, why? You have not only drilled the precious aluminium panels and A-pillar but have encouraged corrosion around the windscreen seal, again snorkels will not enhance value only detract from the value. Wheels are another value killer, anything with an exception to gloss black 16” Sawtooth’s, the special edition 70th Anniversary style wheel, or the Dual finish SVX wheel will not add any value and, in some cases, will be negative on resale.
Finally, some interior modifications will not also add value, pop-out sat nav systems will not, MoMo steering wheels don’t, spurious leather interiors won’t, what I am politely trying to say is that if something doesn’t resemble a factory option then it won’t enhance the asking price.

The different values – trade to retail

The days of a dealer thumbing through glass’s guide are long gone, all buyers, or any professional buyer, consider many factors when it comes to valuing a specialist product, which is exactly what a Defender is, however, there are only a handful of Defender specialists in the UK, and 99% of the dealer network do not understand them, and would simply look at the low to average trade book value and make a low-ball offer. They do not understand Defender and do not want your car unless they can move it on to people like Barnfield.

We are proud that our valuation algorithm is not a computer but our very own expertise spanning over three decades, we take into consideration every factor and will make you a very strong cash offer. Our values are always higher than any trade price or will always exceed a net part exchange offer.

If you are looking to sell your Land Rover Defender 90 or to sell your Defender 110 then would very much like to hear from you, as we are the UK’s leading independent buyer and never knowingly outbid. Most importantly when dealing with Barnfield you will be communicating with a partner in the business, not an employee who is has a salary that is weighted toward offering less for your car!

Before contacting us why not see what our customers have to say about us, read our 5-star reviews.

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Please call us today for an informal conversation about your Defender. North 01625 724177 South 01483 323474