New Land Rover Defender finally breaks cover

September 10,2019

AFTER seven decades of having changed very little, the new Land Rover Defender turns exactly that — new.

Land Rover has finally released the all-new Defender, with the 110 kicking things off, before the compact, short wheelbase 90 expands the selection. Next year, a pair of commercial models will join the lineup.

The model range comprises the Defender, First Edition and the top-spec Defender X models, as well as standard, S, SE, HSE specification packs. The exclusive First Edition model features a unique specification and will be available throughout the first year of production.

The Defender 110 is available in 5+2 seating with four accessory packs — Explorer, Adventure, Country, Urban — and 170 other accessories. Up to 1,075 liters of cargo space resides behind the second-row seats. Fold the second-row seats down and as much as 2,380 liters become available.

The Defender 90, which Land Rover said is as long as a compact hatchback, can accommodate six occupants.

Land Rover is offering the new Defender with several gasoline and diesel engine options. Soon to be included among the choices is a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle variant.

At launch time, the gasoline engine lineup comprises the four-cylinder P300 and the six-cylinder P400 featuring a mild hybrid system. Diesel mills offered are the D200 and D240.

Marking out the new Defender is an evolutionary silhouette defined by minimal front and rear overhangs (for better approach and departure angles). an upright stance, Alpine light windows, side-hinged rear tailgate and externally mounted spare wheel.

“The new Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it. This is a new Defender for a New Age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable — a visually compelling 4×4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment,” said Land Rover design head Gerry McGovern.

The stripped-back personality of the original Defender is carried over in the new model where structural elements and fixings usually hidden from view have been left exposed. The new Defender has a dash-mounted gearshift to accommodate an optional central front “jump” seat, which provides three-abreast seating across the front — like early Land Rovers. Other features include rubberized flooring and a full-length folding fabric roof.

Propping up the new Defender is Land Rover’s new purpose-engineered D7x (for extreme) architecture that’s based on a lightweight aluminum monocoque. Land Rover said the structure is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs, providing perfect foundations for the fully independent air- or coil-sprung suspension and supports the brand’s electrified powertrains.

Permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, center differential and optional active locking rear differential ensure the new Defender has all the hardware required to tackle soft sand or arctic tundra alike. A configurable Terrain Response system debuts on the new Defender, too, allowing for fine-tuning individual vehicle settings to suit conditions.

Land Rover said the new Defender can be personalized. In addition to the accessory packs, also available are a remote control electric winch, rooftop tent and inflatable waterproof awnings, among numerous other items.

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