Land Rover Re-Introduces A Legend – The 2020 Defender

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For nearly a century, Land Rover has been the go-to choice for adventure. Here’s a look at the new Land Rover Defender.

The Land Rover Defender traces its history back to the 1940s. Although all Land Rovers are known for their amazing capabilities, the compact Defender has always had its focus on adventure. This week, Land Rover launched its new Land Rover Defender 110 and a shorter-wheelbase Defender will follow shortly. Here is a preview of the newest member of the rapidly expanding Jaguar-Land Rover Family.

2020 Defender – What Is It?

The new 2020 Defender is a rugged compact sport utility vehicle about the size of a Jeep Cherokee. Don’t let us confuse you too much. Most shoppers will think of the Defender as more of a Wrangler competitor, but to our way of thinking the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk has a lot in common with the Defender. The Defender 90 will be the shorter of the two options and will have either five or six seats. The longer, two-door Defender 110 will have multiple seating arrangements including a “5-plus-2” arrangement.

2020 Defender – Price

The all-new Defender 110 starts at just over $51,000 including destination charges.  We spent some quality time on the Land Rover Configurator and selected a DEFENDER 110 XP400 AWD AUTOMATIC with a base price of $81,925 and went hard on the accessories and packages. Our build came to $97,502.20. The Defender may well be the most expensive compact SUV on the planet if you want it to be.

2020 Defender – Drivetrains

At launch, the Defender line will offer two engines and both are impressive. The first is a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It will have just under 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. The second is an in-line six-cylinder engine that uses a turbocharger, supercharger, and what the heck, also a hybrid drive system. This engine will produce a whopping 395hp, 406-lb ft of torque and acceleration according to Land Rover is 5.8 seconds from 0-60mph. That’s very quick for an SUV. If you were hoping for a diesel you will have to wait. Both are gas engines. Expect the gas to be Premium. Hoping for a stick shift? Nope. Both engines couple to a eight-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF (Zed Eff) and have a twin-speed transfer box. This to provide a set of low-range ratios essential for towing or off-road driving when more control is required. Land Rover parses the drivetrain this way: “Configurable Terrain Response, Twin-Speed Transfer Box, Locking Center Differential, Active Rear and Locking Differential.” If you are an avid off-roader you know what all that stuff means. If not, it translates to “The full-whammy.”  The tow hitch is optional by the way. Which we find amusing in a weird way.

2020 Land Rover Defender Capabilities

The Defender will be able to haul 8,201 pounds when properly configured for towing. It will ford up to 35.4-inches of water. It will hold up to 661 pounds on its roof. Can you tell the specs were built around the metric system?

2020 Defender – Infotainment

If you envision yourself covered in dust parked on a high desert plateau looking at a folding map and compass on your lap as the sunsets, don’t let us spoil the moment. You can still make that happen. Or you can wirelessly tether your phone to the Defender and call up Google Earth images and Google Map directions (which work off-road, and also offline now by the way). In fact, you can connect two smartphones to the Defender using Bluetooth at the same time. These specs go beyond anything we have seen in any actual test vehicle from any manufacturer. You may end up opting to just use the Defender’s native navigation system. It works in combination with the 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display and provides high-definition 3D mapping within the instrumentation cluster, leaving the central touchscreen free to control other applications. Be prepared to be impressed.

2020 Defender – Make It Yours

Land Rover’s Defender will be a full-line offering. Shoppers can choose from four Accessory Packs. The Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban Packs each give the Defender a distinct look and character. There is a seemingly endless list of accessories to add on top of these. It is clear that Land Rover rolled this product line out complete.

2020 Defender – The Vibe

Previous Defenders were more elemental and raw in their design. This new one has a whole new vibe. “This is our vision of a modern Defender,” said Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover. “The clean body side contrasts dramatically against the sheer verticality of its front and particularly its rear to create a reassuringly purposeful stance. The overall impression is of an elemental design, yet this clean reductive approach is underpinned by sophisticated surfacing of the highest quality.” Massimo Frascella, Creative Director, for Land Rover Design, says, “The design of the new Defender is a manifestation of our modernist design philosophy, elemental yet incredibly sophisticated.”

2020 Defender Merch

Along with the vehicle, Land Rover co-launched a new Lego Defender and also a line of clothing. Land Rover says the Above and Beyond collection of men’s and women’s performance clothing and technical equipment is inspired by the durability and capability of the New Defender and incorporates 50 years of Musto heritage in world-leading performance clothing.

Land Rover is accepting pre-orders in the U.S. now. Expect deliveries to begin before the end of fall.

 

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John Goreham

John Goreham

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