Modifying your Land Rover is almost a rite of passage. Part of the vehicle’s appeal is its ability to be modified and personalised by its owner – very few remain in the same condition they were in when they left the showroom.
For many, accessorising their Land Rover’s exterior is the most important (and exciting) part of the experience but there are also plenty of performance upgrades worth considering. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular modifications for Land Rovers, including Range Rover, Discovery and Defender upgrades.
If you want to discover more about the best modifications for other 4x4s, take a look at our off-road 4×4 guide.
The engine is the heart of your Land Rover. A new engine has the ability to entirely transform your vehicle, from power to speed, torque to energy efficiency.
Selecting your engine will depend on which fuel you want to use, the top speeds you want to achieve, the horsepower you expect from your vehicle, and, of course, your budget.
When making mods to your Defender, you have the choice between seven engines, depending on the bodystyle and model you select. These include the P300 MHEV (mild hybrid electric vehicle) petrol and diesel engines and the P400e PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle).
The Discovery is compatible with some of the same engines as the Defender – including the D250 and D300 – and the P360. The Defender Sport offers the D165 Manual and D165 Automatic, as well as the P200 and P250 MHEVs and the P300e PHEV.
If you are modifying your Range Rover, you’ll find plenty of engine choices. It can work with a range of 3.0L diesel and petrol engines, including the D300, D350 and P400, and two 5.0L engines – the P525 and P565. You can also install the 2.0L P400e PHEV.
Despite Land Rover’s already being designed to go off-road, their suspension can always be improved. As each driver has their preference, Defender owners have been known to have their vehicle kitted out with the best suspension for a smoother ride.
Whether you install shock absorbers or change the coil springs, you can tailor your suspension to your needs.
Whether you want new wheels for aesthetic or practical purposes, upgrading your Land Rover from steel to alloy wheels can make huge differences in terms of balance, durability and style.
Steel wheels are more difficult to fit with tubeless tyres due to corrosion affecting the seal. Modern alloy wheels offer a more secure, close fit and provide increased balance and longer air hold.
The Defender Sawtooth and Defender Boost alloys are a popular choice for the Land Rover Defender, while the Zu alloy wheels are suited for the Discovery and the Defender. The Stormer style can be used on the Discovery, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
Don’t forget about your tyres! New tyres will update your Land Rover to make it ideal for your lifestyle. Whether you mostly drive road, off-road, or all-terrain, you’ll want tyres that are suited to your environment and make your drive as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Pirelli, Avon and Continental are all popular tyre brands for Land Rover vehicles.
Lights are a relatively inexpensive way to spruce up your car. Adding extra lights to your vehicle’s grille not only changes the appearance of your car, but can also improve your visibility in difficult conditions – especially off-road and at night. When selecting lights for an off-road vehicle, it’s important that they are IP67 rated. This will ensure they can be submerged in water and are dustproof.
New LED lights are ideal for a modified Defender 90, as they suit the vehicle’s classic frame and can upgrade a vintage vehicle with modern LED technology. LEDs are more energy efficient and offer a longer lifespan than traditional halogen lights.
Roof racks are easy to fit and incredibly useful. Your modified Land Rover will be more practical, with increased load capacity for transporting bikes, kayaks, camping equipment or whatever else you may need for your next big adventure. Don’t forget – a roof rack can also be the foundation for a roof tent making it perfect for the more daring explorers.
Land Rover offers a range of roof racks, varying in price and shape. These include the Slimline II, Frontrunner, and Expedition.
If you’re less likely to need the additional load capacity you could opt for an alternative roof modification. Installing a sunroof is both stylish and luxurious, and can brighten anyone’s day when driving around. Unless you are proficient with vehicle modifications, you should ask a mechanic to install a sunroof.
Changing the paint is a popular Land Rover Defender modification. Your colour choice and finish can add a lot of personality and character to your car.
In terms of colours, you can pretty much have whatever shade you want, depending on the body shop or vehicle specialist you go to. For finishes, you can opt for solid paint, matte, metallic or pearlescent, full gloss or two-tone.
Depending on your lifestyle, installing a winch to the bumper of your Land Rover can be incredibly helpful. If you live remotely or spend a lot of time off-road, a winch can be a life-saver – pulling you out of ditches and thick mud, for example. However, as a feature of the classic utility models, many Land Rover owners just fit them for cosmetic purposes.
Whether you need to tow a trailer, horse box or caravan, towbars are a straightforward mod you can make to your Land Rover. There are multiple towbars available, but the three main ones are the fixed flange ball, the detachable swan neck and the fixed swan neck. The fixed flange ball towbar is the most common in the UK and is usually used for towing heavier vehicles. The swan neck towbars are popular across Europe, but aren’t as compatible with the UK’s fittings.
Snorkels allow a vehicle’s engine to intake air from roof height, which is safer for the combustion chambers when driving through water. If you’re committed to the off-road lifestyle, snorkels make passing through bodies of water a breeze – helping to prevent mid-water stalls.
Snorkels can also be used to the same effect when trying to prevent dust entering the engine.
Grilles and bumpers
The front of the vehicle is an aesthetic priority for many drivers. It is the first thing people will spot in your driveway or out on the road. It’s also what you will see everyday walking up to your car.
A Land Rover modified with a unique grille and bumper combination can make it stand out. Whether you opt for a smarter look with a tubular bumper and classic grille or something more aggressive like a square bumper, combined with larger wheels, you have the option to personalise your car to your taste.
Bumpers can also add practicality to your vehicle – whether it’s enabling a winch to be fitted or increasing safety by acting as a shock absorber in the event of a small collision. It’s best to get a professional to install your bumpers as incorrect placement can increase danger to pedestrians and other vehicles.
Note that fitting rigid bull bars, such as those often seen on older Land Rover models, are discouraged by the UK government. However, they are not illegal.
A custom exhaust can change the volume of your drive. If you’re someone who wants to make an impact, you can install a custom exhaust that lets people know you’re nearby. Your choice of exhaust can also affect the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and improve the engine’s performance.
Side steps are popular Defender modifications. As the vehicle is tall, adding steps can make it easier to access your vehicle. They are also handy for reaching up to the roof to secure or remove luggage or bikes from your roof rack. You can opt for a more classic or modern look, depending on the style you choose.
No matter what modifications you opt for, it’s important to know how they can affect your vehicle insurance.
Whether you drive a modern modified Land Rover Defender or a modified Defender 90, an updated Discovery or an upgraded Range Rover, it’s crucial that your vehicle is insured. Adrian Flux offers Land Rover insurance which includes modified 4×4 vehicles, with the best deal available over the phone. Contact 0800 369 8590 to find out more.