2020 Land Rover Defender: prices, specs and release date
As prices for the all-new Land Rover Defender are announced, we take a closer look at this SUV, which seats up to seven and should be equally at home on and off road...
On sale: Summer | Price from: £40,290
Prices for the all-new Land Rover Defender have been announced, with order books open now and first deliveries due this summer.
The five-door '110' version starts at £45,240, meaning it undercuts most similarly-sized SUVs, while the three-door '90' – which has few direct rivals – comes in at £40,290.
The word ‘iconic’ has to be one of the most overused in the English language, but the previous Defender is a car that’s fully deserving of the tag, as the descendant of the original Land Rover Series I, and a model that was as popular with farmers as it was the Queen, and with the military as it was fashion-conscious celebrities.
It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that it took the brand so long to replace it. And while the car it’s come up with is designed to be much more upmarket (and civilised on the road) than its predecessor, Land Rover also claims that it’s even more capable off road.
Under the skin, it’s closely related to the current Discovery, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, rather than the classic Defender, meaning no hardcore separate chassis or rigid axles. However, the suspension has been reinforced, and the new Defender has more suspension travel and ground clearance than its sister cars.
Its capability is further boosted by permanent four-wheel drive, hill-start assist, a Terrain Response system that allows the driver to optimise the car for different conditions (or just select an automatic setting) and Land Rover’s ClearSight Ground View technology, which displays the area under the bonnet and ahead of the front wheels on a dashboard-mounted screen.
2020 Land Rover Defender design
On the outside, there are lots of design nods to the classic Defender, including very short front and rear overhangs, squared-off wheelarches and so-called Alpine light windows set into the roof.
Those details sit alongside modern touches such as full LED lights and a square, body-coloured panel in the rear side glass (optional on the 90 and standard on the 110). In addition, buyers can choose from four design packs: Country (which gives the car a classic Defender look), Urban (which adds glitzy details such as 22in wheels), Adventure (with additional underbody protection and side-mounted storage boxes for your gear) and Explorer (featuring a roof ladder, roof rack and anti-glare bonnet).
In addition, there are a host of unusual personalisation options – everything from an electric winch and painted steel wheels to a rooftop tent and a removable body wrap that protects the metallic paint when you’re off-roading and gives the car a distinctive satin finish.
2020 Land Rover Defender interior
Inside, you’ll find exposed metal on the doors and a dashboard that’s more minimalist than those of other Land Rovers. However, while this would be disappointing in a Range Rover (or even a Discovery), it feels right here.
It helps that you still get all the mod cons, including a 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, plus digital instruments that can show a wide range of information. Thoughtful touches include USB sockets on the front seatbacks, specifically positioned to allow those in the second row to charge devices while using the optional tablet holders.
Another notable feature is the dashboard-mounted gear selector (all new Defenders use an eight-speed automatic gearbox), which leaves room for an optional central front seat that allows the 90 model to seat up to six people. The 110 is available in five, six and seven-seat configurations, with the latter swapping the central front seat for two that fold up from beneath the boot floor.
Unusually for a modern SUV, the spare wheel (when specified) is mounted on the tailgate, which has to be side-hinged as a result and therefore can’t be opened if you back the car into a tight parking space or up against a wall.
2020 Land Rover Defender on the move
We won’t get to drive the Defender until next month. However, we have had a passenger ride in a late prototype, on a test track that featured one pothole and bump after another, and here the ride was certainly impressive. The suspension is brilliant at taking the sting out of bigger impacts, yet taut enough to keep the car feeling composed at higher speeds and through quick changes of direction.
Initially, buyers can choose from 296bhp four-cylinder and 396bhp six-cylinder petrol engines (badged P300 and P400 respectively), as well as 197bhp and 237bhp four-cylinder diesels (D200 and D240), which both average 37.2mpg and emit 199g/km of CO2. Those figures are comparable with the Discovery’s but fall short of most other rivals’.
There will also be two Commercial models, costing from around £35,000 plus VAT, while a plug-in hybrid will join the range before the end of the year, and a larger 130 model is being developed for launch in 2022.
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