After numerous teasers, spy photos, and leaks, the car industry’s worst-kept secret since the A90 Toyota Supra – the all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender – has finally been officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The first all-new Defender model since the original ‘Land Rover’ first launched after WWII in 1948, the new Defender is positioned as being far more friendly to live with under the skin, while still staying true in many regards to its utilitarian, off-road conquering roots.
Like its predecessor after it adopted the Defender when Land Rover became a brand, rather than a model, the new model will be sold in both two-door and four-door configurations dubbed the 90 and 110 as before, but sees a smattering of the latest JLR group standards fitted when it comes to technology and design.
There’s a crazy amount to unpack when it comes to the launch of this thing, so we’re going to break it down for you as best we can into a few different sections: the mechanical aspects of the new model that will be important to 4×4 enthusiasts, the engine options that will be made available that are both conventional and unconventional, the varying interior configurations, the trim levels and options list, and a look at the expected pricing of it.
The off-roady bits
The new Defender is based on an entirely new aluminium monocoque platform – identified as D7x, with the ‘x’ standing for ‘extreme’, which we aren’t making up – which is being touted as the stiffest body Land Rover has ever produced. Through the 62,000+ tests the company’s engineers have put it through, they’ve managed to make it a claimed three times stronger than a conventional body-on-frame chassis like its predecessor was based on.
Its exterior styling – which, according to design director Gerry McGovern, is “respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it” – not only helps it look like a modernised version of the original with an overall boxy style, but it’s all been done with enhancing its off-roading ability kept in mind.
As such, it offers, in its most off-road-focused guise – as much as 291mm of ground clearance, along with a 38 degree approach angle, 40 degree departure angle, and 28 degree breakover angle. It’ll also be able to wade through water as deep as 900mm.
Full-time four-wheel drive with high and low range ratios is fitted as standard, while depending on the variant specified, air suspension with a maximum articulation of 500mm or traditional coil springs are available.
Putting it on par with most utes on the market, it’ll also be able to tow as much as 3500kg with a payload of 900kg, which as much as 300kg can be carried on the roof.
The oily bits
When it comes to engines, two diesel engines will probably account for the largest number of sales, given the sort of buyers the Defender is likely to attract. Both 2.0-litre four-cylinder units, D200 will offer 147kW and the D240 offers a more potent 177kW, with both offering 430Nm of torque and being paired to a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.
When it comes to petrol power, however, things are looking more unconventional, with the main petrol unit being the new JLR 3.0-litre straight-six (designated the P400 MHEV) which has both a turbocharger and electric supercharger driven by a mild-hybrid system to help it deliver 297kW and 550Nm, enough to make it capable of getting from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds.
A yet-to-be detailed plug-in hybrid variant is also set to be made available dubbed the P400e PHEV. We’ll let you know more about that one as soon as we know.
The interior bits
Rather intriguingly, the four-door Defender 110 – the first version that will hit our shores – will be made available with three different seating configurations. Two of them are pretty standard – the regular five-seat setup, and 5+2 seven seat layout – but the third option is the now-rarely-seen six-seater 3+3 layout. That’s right – Land Rover is bringing back the front bench seat!
Although the optional middle seat requires the deletion of the fixed centre console, such a move is possible due to the shifter having been moved onto the dash, along with all of the other drivetrain controls.
An all new infotainment system is set to debut in the Defender, replacing the current InControl Touch Pro system. Dubbed Pivi Pro, it’s been designed with ease of use in mind, with more visible controls in order to reduce the number of clicks required to get through it all by as much as 50 percent. The infotainment display measures in at the JLR standard of 10-inches, while a 12.3-inch fully-digital instrument cluster also comes as standard.
The expansive range and options list
Six different variants are set to be offered in the all-new range – the base Defender, S, SE, HSE, X, and, during 2020 alone, the First Edition – which range from utilitarian to luxurious in their focus.
Across the range, four different accessory packs will be made available either from the factory or as a dealer-fitted option to help dress up your Defender, which include:
- Explorer Pack: 26kg capacity roof rack, side-mounted gear carrier, classic mud flaps, wheel arch protectors, spare wheel cover, and mate black bonnet wrap with ’90’ or ‘110’ cutout
- Adventure Pack: 6.5L water reservoir, boot-mounted air compressor, side-mounted gear carrier, mud flaps, spare wheel cover, rear scuff plate, and 20L backpack that matches the cars interior specification
- Country Pack: Wheel arch protectors, bright rear scuff plate, classic mud flaps, boot partition, and portable rinsing system
- Urban Pack: Front bash plate, bright right rear scuff plate, spare wheel cover, and up to 22-inch alloy wheels
In addition to those options packs, the usual sort of Land Rover options list also applies to the Defender, with everything from a heated windscreen to three-zone climate control and even a fridge in the centre console.
The price you can expect to pay
Although official pricing is yet to be announced, the word going around currently is that when the four-door Defender 110 arrives here locally in June 2020, it’ll start from around the $70,000 mark, with the possibility of it stretching all the way up to as high as double that figure when looking at the range-topping Defender X and First Edition variants.
As for the two-door Defender 90, which isn’t due to arrive here until the end of next year, we reckon somewhere around $60k will represent the starting point there, with the potential again for that figure to be as much as doubled by the time you’ve exhausted the options list.