This is the new Land Rover Defender.
After a three-year wait, the iconic Land Rover off-road workhorse is back with a new look, new architecture and a host of hi-tech features.
To be available initially in the larger 110 body – and to be followed shortly thereafter by the shorter wheelbase 90 – the new Defender has big shoes to fill and the designers have embraced at least some of what made the original so special.
Inside, structural elements and fixings usually hidden from view have been exposed, with the emphasis on ‘simplicity and practicality’ and there are clever features such as a dash-mounted gear shifter to accommodate an optional central front seat, which provides seating for three across the front like early Land Rovers.
As a result of this third spot up front, the Defender 110 offers five, six or 5+2 seating configurations, with a load-space behind the second-row seats of up to 1,075 litres, and as much as 2,380 litres when the second row is folded. The Defender 90 will be able to accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback.
In a nod to its workhorse heritage, the Defender has durable rubberised flooring, providing a brush or wipe clean interior. There’s also an optional full-length Folding Fabric Roof.
Land Rover’s new D7x (for extreme) architecture is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction to create what the company says is the stiffest body structure it has ever produced. It is, apparently, three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs and provides the foundation for the fully independent air or coil sprung suspension.
There’s permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential and optional Active Locking Rear Differential.
Configurable Terrain Response debuts on new Defender, allowing for the fine-tuning of individual vehicle settings. Inexperienced drivers can let the system detect the most appropriate vehicle settings for the terrain, using the intelligent Auto function.
The new body architecture provides ground clearance of 291mm and gives the 110 approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees (Off Road height) respectively. Its maximum wading depth of 900mm is supported by a new Wade program.
On dry land, the ClearSight Ground View technology helps drivers take full advantage of Defender’s capability by showing the area usually hidden by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on the central touchscreen.
There’s a choice of petrol and diesel engines, while a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powertrain will join the range in 2020.
At launch, the petrol line-up comprises a six-cylinder P400 (297kW), featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology. Alternatively, there are a pair of four-cylinder diesels – the D200 (147kW) and D240 (177kW).
New Defender uses Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system and Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) technology means remote updates are available.
The model range comprises Defender, First Edition and top of the range Defender X models, as well as standard, S, SE, HSE specification packs. Land Rover says that customers will be able to personalise their vehicle with four Accessory Packs. The Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban Packs each give Defender a specially selected range of enhancements.
In addition to the Accessory Packs, new Defender is available with a wide range of accessories including a Remote Control Electric Winch, Rooftop Tent and Inflatable Waterproof Awnings as well as tow bar systems and roof racks.