The new 2020 Land Rover Defender can do zero to 100km/h as quickly as a hot hatch and rides on 22-inch wheels if you’re keen – no, nostalgics need not apply…
Jeep may have launched the all-new Wrangler to a lot of fanfare recently, but it was left to little Suzuki to sweep up the hype of puristic off-roading. Even this area of the SUV segment has its share of suffering nostalgists, who are left feeling kind of indifferent to the throngs of the latest electrified and digitized off-roaders out there. It seems only Suzuki’s Jimny hit the spot, with the launch of the little Japanese SUV attracting loads of charmed admirers. People simply appreciate the honesty of a simple, lightweight, cheap, and most importantly fun off-roader. Car philosopher Stephen Bailey put it best – he called the Jimny an automotive emoji.
The Land Rover Defender was all that and maybe more, once. It’s been out of production for three years now after earning itself a hallowed spot in our collective car consciousness. The Defender served the army, and it served the people, and you could go anywhere in it, and then you could strip it with a size-14 socket. Simple, cheap, fun, it did all the right things. At least until the Japanese put it to rest, but that’s another story.
Now, finally, after so many leaks and so much drumming, the all-new Land Rover Defender is out, with an official public reveal taking place at this week’s Frankfurt motor show. The Brits couldn’t restrain themselves – this is not the Defender you remember. Materialism is the epoch, and we can only take so many nostalgic throwbacks at once. Land Rover is aligning itself with the rest of the premium brands at the top of the SUV queue. What I mean is, you won’t see this new Defender in full camo, unless it’s got a glitter fade to it.
This is a fancy car. Look, there are no exposed hinges anywhere. So if you’re like me, you’re disappointed, but if you’re an actual consumer you’ve hit the jackpot – you’ve got the perfect off-roader to go with your shelf of beard pommades.
The 21st century Jaguar Land Rover – the one battling with a record $4.5 billion lost last year – can’t afford sentimentalities. This is why the Defender falls neatly in line with the premium portfolio and comes with the choice of a plug-in hybrid electric model, ready for 5G networks and cloud computing. A 10-inch touchscreen, a 12.3-inch driver display, 3D visuals, and all the assists you’’d want (including wade sensing assist, so you can take wet detours) are all present, and safety tech includes emergency braking, smart cruise control and the rest of it.
Under the bonnet Land Rover is quite pleased with its two diesel options and the plug-in hybrid, but it’s the petrol-engined cars that interest us in the Middle East – the Defender P300 packs a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine and is capable of accelerating from zero to 100km/h in 8.1 seconds. The top-of-the-line P400 MHEV uses the company’s latest straight-six cylinder engine combining turbocharged power with a 48-volt electric supercharger to deliver 400 horsepower and 550Nm of torque. This results in zero to 100km/h in 6.4 seconds.
Land Rover is sticking to tradition in the body style options, so you can get a three-door Defender 90 or a five-door Defender 110. Either way you’re able to wade up to 900mm of water. Customers can pick from 18-inch all the way to 22-inch wheels, with specialist off-road tyres available for select markets. Compared to the latest five-door Wrangler as a benchmark (approach angle 42.2 degrees, departure 32.1, and breakover angle 21 degrees), the Defender looks ready to compete anywhere with Land Rover quoting 38 and 40 degrees approach and departure angles respectively and a breakover angle of 28 degrees for the long-wheelbase vehicle. Active locking diffs and the company’s latest Terrain Response system give you the option of just letting the car do most of the work.
The new 2020 Land Rover Defender is ready to go on sale this year with the order books open and prices starting from roughly AED180,000, or $49,000.