New Land Rover Defender – Return of an Icon

The new Land Rover Defender is here. The long-anticipated wait is over. Finally, we get to see the 21st-century version of this iconic car. The new Defender has been in development for over three years. Land Rover carried out a challenging worldwide testing programme to ensure that any issues and eventualities were able to be rectified.

One of the more difficult tasks was to make the Defender appeal to a larger audience, without deterring its traditionalist fan base. The aim was to retain some styling, in line with the original model, but subtly add 21st-century technology throughout.

Land-Rover-Defender-front-sideview

The Land Rover can trace its origins back over 70 years to the 1940s, known as the 'Series 1'. The British Army used many of these original vehicles. Due to there rugged capabilities, reliability and practicality, the Royal family also began using the Land Rover in the 1950s.

In 1966, the 500,000th Land Rover vehicle was produced, and ten years later the 1,000,000th was built proving just how popular the Land Rover was becoming. In 1990 Land Rover renamed it the Defender. The range available now was, Land Rover Defender 90, 110 and 130. In May 2015 the 2,000,000th Land Rover Defender was built using an all-star team of Defender enthusiasts to help assemble this bespoke vehicle, including celebrity adventurer Bear Grylls.

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Styling and Interior – a blend of old and new

The original Land Rover Defender is one of the most iconic vehicles, not only in Britain but worldwide. The boxy, rugged design has always made it stand out from the crowd and is proud to be different. The new model keeps true to this design, still boxy but with a more rounded finish, with the spare wheel mounted on the tailgate.

The new Defender is claimed to have the stiffest body structure Land Rover has ever produced, thanks to the re-worked Land Rover D7x platform it sits on. The new stiffened aluminium frame has been designed to enable integrated hybrid options, at a later date. There are new modern alloy wheels, lights and grilles, all tastefully done to bring it up to date. This does not impact on the original design so doesn't put enthusiasts off.

There will be three body styles to choose from, the short-wheelbase Defender 90, the long-wheelbase Defender 110 or the 130. At release, only the 110 will be available with the 90 arriving later in 2020 and the 130 around 2021-2022. All new Defenders will come with 4WD and an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard. The 110 will come fitted with air suspension as standard and available as an option in the 90. The new Defender 110 is longer than its predecessor, has better ground clearance and also an extended wheelbase, meaning more space inside.

There are many 'old school' features inside. These include visible door hinges and grab handles. The handles can be used to assist passengers climbing into the Defender.

The new Defender has Land Rovers next-generation infotainment system 'Pivi Pro' using a 10-inch touchscreen. All models will come with sat-nav, Bluetooth capability and Apple CarPlay/Andriod Auto for smartphone mirroring. The sat-nav can be kept up to date using Land Rover's latest SOTA (software over the air) technology. A 12.3-inch digital instrument panel is also standard across the range. The Defender also gets Land Rover's ClearSight Ground View technology, which sends pictures of the terrain in front of the front wheels to the infotainment screen, to help when off-roading.

Land-Rover-Defender-sideview

Engines and Model Choices

Each Defender 110 is available in a choice of three models, four trims and then a selection of four activity packs. The model choices start at entry-level Defender, then First Edition and finally the top of the range Defender 110 X. There are then four trim levels to choose, Standard, S, SE and HSE. Then four supplementary packs to choose from, Urban, Country, Adventure and Explorer.

All offer varying levels of features and specifications and can be tailored to meet your requirements. The new themed accessory packs are a great addition and allow you to pick a package suited to the way you will use the Defender. Each pack comes with a variety of equipment and include the following:

Urban: Focused more on style than practicality – Spare wheel cover, bright rear scuff plate, bright metal pedals

Country: Mild off-road pack includes front and rear mudflaps, wheel arch protection, portable rinse system and bright rear scuff plate.

Adventure: Full off-road pack includes front and rear mudflaps, spare wheel cover, portable rinse system, side-mounted gear carrier and integrated air compressor.

Explorer: Full rugged explorer pack includes expedition roof rack (carrying capacity of 132kg), wheel arch protection, matte black bonnet decal, raised air intake.

There is also a choice of over 170 accessories available, so whatever you may need or want, Land Rover have you covered.

Land-Rover-Defender-model-variety

The Defender comes with a choice of two diesel and two petrol engines. The diesel engines are both 2-litre, four-cylinder, twin-turbo, named D200 and D240. Both engines will achieve around 37mpg with the D200 producing 197hp and the D240 237hp.

The petrol engines are the P300 which is a 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged unit developing 296hp and the P400, which is a 3-litre, six-cylinder turbo fitted with a 48V mild-hybrid system generating 396hp. With the MHEV system, the P400 should achieve around 30mpg, which is likely to be better than the smaller P300.

There will be a plug-in hybrid version available later in 2020 which will most likely be called P400e. There may also be a more powerful diesel offering later into 2021, likely to be a 3-litre six-cylinder offering and falling in line with the other called D300.

Space and Practicality

The new Land Rover Defender is now available with 5, 6 or 7 seats. The eight-speed auto transmission is equipped with a dash-mounted gear shifter, for selecting various range ratios. This allows an optional third central seat, in the front, meaning the car can carry six people in just two rows. When the seat is not in use, it folds over to become an armrest and storage area. A simple yet brilliant idea which was previously found on the really early Land Rovers.

In the boot, with standard 5/6 seat configuration there are 1075-litres of space, rising to 2380 litres with the back seat folded down. The new Defender also has a huge boot payload, of up to 900kgs, so there should be no issues loading up for any length of exploration.

The new Land Rover Defender is back and better than ever. It keeps its charm, ruggedness and simple practicality. While also evolving into, not only an iconic off-road SUV but also a smooth, enjoyable tarmac cruiser. Land Rover aimed to make the Defender more appealing to a larger market, without jeopardising the history it was built from. Orders are now being taken starting at £45,240, with deliveries early 2020.

The Land Rover Defender is now a premium off-road SUV ready to rumble with anyone who dares to rival it.

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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
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