The Land Rover Defender 110 is a legendary off-road vehicle that has become an off-roading icon. Known for its ruggedness and durability, it has been used by farmers, military forces and adventurers around the world for decades. Its boxy design and go-anywhere capabilities have made it a favorite among off-road enthusiasts, and its status as a classic is cemented by its appearance in numerous films and television shows.
Despite being discontinued by Land Rover in 2016, the Defender 110 remains a highly sought-after vehicle and is still venerated by its legions of fans. Its reputation as a reliable and tough vehicle makes it a symbol of adventure and exploration, and it will always be remembered as a legend in the off-road world. Although no longer in production, the iconic Defender lives on in RC form thanks to the radio-control experts at Traxxas. The updated TRX-4 Land Rover Defender is the latest entry into Traxxas’ much-loved TRX-4 line.
This legendary TRX-4 derived Defender 110 RC crawler is packed with scale features and inherent performance that has the potential to please die-hard RC crawler drivers and casual bashers alike. A standout feature of the TRX-4 chassis is its portal axles, which give the truck extra lift over other non-portal-equipped crawlers. This additional ground clearance allows the TRX-4 to confidently crawl over obstacles that might stop other trucks in their tracks.
The Defender is fitted with highly capable 1.9-inch-diameter wheels that are mounted with all-terrain Traxxas Canyon Trail tires. These aggressive S1-compound tires are designed to ride over two-stage foam inserts that provide realistic tire characteristics. Combining the portal axles and tall tires, the Defender possesses an impressive level of clearance right out of the box. Whether you’re tackling rough terrain or simply enjoying a leisurely drive, the TRX-4 Defender’s ground clearance is sure to get you to where you need to go.
The TRX-4’s steel ladder frame provides rock-solid stability and a 12.75-inch wheelbase. The frame includes molded cross members that create a rigid backbone for the Defender that gives it an ideal balance of stability and maneuverability. We found that right out of the box we were navigating steep inclines and tackling technical trails with ease. Between its good looks and easy-to-drive nature, it’s not hard to see why the TRX-4 is popular with seasoned off-road enthusiasts and RC newbies alike.
The TRX-4 comes fully equipped with features that are highly coveted by enthusiasts, such as a two-speed transmission and lockable differentials that can be easily switched on the fly. The TQi radio system that comes with the truck has user-friendly switches that provide full control over all of the vehicle’s systems. Moreover, the TQi transmitter is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing onboard vehicle settings to be adjusted through a smartphone with the help of Traxxas’ optional 6511 wireless module.
The Defender is propelled by a powerful combination of Traxxas’ 21T Titan motor and XL-5 HV electronic speed controller (ESC), providing ample torque to navigate steep inclines and carry heavy payloads. The ESC has a 3S LiPo power capacity, making the Defender a versatile and reliable vehicle that can handle any off-road expedition with ease.
This Land Rover Defender features a body styled after the model’s four-door “110” configuration. The truck is available in updated colors including black and tan, and is adorned with specially molded parts such as a roof rack, snorkel, off-road jack and full-size spare tire. This officially licensed Land Rover also boasts an accurate injection-molded front grille, front and rear bumpers, side mirrors, LED kit-ready head- and taillight lenses, and more. The attention to detail on this vehicle is indeed impressive. Although we do get updated colors with this release, the Defender doesn’t receive Traxxas’ innovative clipless body mounting system that we see on other recent TRX-4 releases. We’re hoping a future Defender will get that update at some point because we like that feature that much.
After charging a Traxxas 3S LiPo battery, we headed out to our local park to put the Defender to the test. Already knowing how TRX-4s handle, which is outstanding right out of the box, we were not expecting to be let down. Spoiler alert—we weren’t. The Defender performed well, as expected, effortlessly gliding over both hard and loose surfaces.
On top of that, the truck’s four-wheel-drive system, featuring the two-speed transmission and lockable differentials, gave us plenty of control and maneuverability. Overall we were mightily impressed with the TRX-4 Defender. It’s a fully capable crawler that not only performs well but also looks fantastic while doing it.
It’s worth noting that the heavy Defender body is also quite tall and, due to the detailed parts such as the roof rack and spare tire, does carry a lot of weight up high above its belt line. This extra weight adds a fair bit of body roll, which isn’t ideal for aggressive crawling. For those looking for performance over style, items can be removed to relieve some weight up top. We, on the other hand, love the look of a realistic 110, so we left ours as-is.
Traxxas TRX-4 Land Rover Defender Vehicle Specs
Height: 11.48 in. (292mm)
Length: 23.07 in. (586mm)
Width: 9.78 in. (249mm)
Wheelbase: 12.75 in. (324mm)
Ground Clearance: 3.14 in. (80mm)
Weight as Tested: 7 lbs., 6.88 oz. (7.43kg)
Chassis: Steel ladder frame with nylon composite cross members
Shocks: Oil-filled aluminum coilover
Suspension: 4-wheel independent
Differential: 4-gear, remote locking
Body: Pre-painted, decorated, pre-cut polycarbonate
Tires: Traxxas Canyon Trail 4.64 x 1.89”
Speed Control: Waterproof XL-5 ESC
Motor: Titan 21T 550 reverse rotation
Steering Servo: Traxxas 2075X metal gear
Radio: Traxxas TQi 2.4GHz (4-channel)
Receiver: Traxxas 6533
Now offered with updated colors, the Traxxas TRX-4 Defender is still one of our favorite RTR crawler kits. It’s the perfect truck for those who are just getting into RC crawling as well as those who already have a few vehicles in their fleet. Modifying TRX-4s has been made easy thanks to Traxxas’ line of factory upgrades. Naturally, we’re thinking about adding a few upgrades to this 110, which will undoubtedly increase the Defender’s capabilities and looks. The only question is: Which parts should we start with first? Stay tuned to a future issue of RCCA to find out.
Text and Images by Jerry Tsai