Gets down to personal preference but agreed that you should spend some time in a Defender and just pick up the Karma of the vehicle.
Mine is a daily driver.
heat works fine
AC works fine
Does not drift all over the road actually handles quite well IMHO with swaybars and good shocks and springs.
I can do 80+ and hold a nice conversation.
the only major modification I have done is sticking in a 2002 Gen III GM motor so I am pushing near 300 HPs and can turn 1400 RPM at 75.
So now that I don't have a screeming 3.9 in it I can focus on conversation and talking on a cell phone using a headset I feel I have a modern off road capable vehicle.
I test drove old FJ40s before I bought the defender and that was an ancient vehicle with coil springs and quickly determined that it was not the vehicle for me.
Good luck with your decision.
It is truly a bitchin vehicle on and off road and since I have a soft top I can decide everyday how to set up the looks of the truck from full top to no top, to bikini, to tonneau to windows, no windows full surrey etc.