Five things you need to know about the new Land Rover Defender

10 September 2019 - 13:04 By Motoring Reporter
The short-wheelbase Defender 90 will join the range later in 2020.
The short-wheelbase Defender 90 will join the range later in 2020.
Image: Supplied

Land Rover this week pulled the wraps off its new and long-awaited Defender. Here are five things you should know about this 4x4 ahead of its local launch in 2020:

1 There will be two body variants

The all-new Defender range will be spearheaded by the long-wheelbase 110 model that 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 110 can also be had with an optional front jump seat, a homage to early Defender models that sported three-abreast seating. Sometime in 2020, a short-wheelbase 90 model will join the Defender range. According to Land Rover, this smaller version will be able to accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback. 

The interior of the new 2020 Land Rover Defender.
The interior of the new 2020 Land Rover Defender.
Image: Supplied

2 Two engine variants for SA at launch

When the Defender 110 launches locally in the first half of next year it will be made available with two engines. Featuring Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology, the 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol-powered P400 has outputs of 294kW and 550Nm. Customers with a taste for the Devil's Fuel can opt for the 2.0-litre D240 turbodiesel that churns out 177kW and 430Nm. Additional engine derivatives will join the Defender range later in 2020.

The new Defender offers formidable off-road performance.
The new Defender offers formidable off-road performance.
Image: Supplied

3 Built on a strong foundation

The new Defender no longer sports the ladder-frame chassis of its predecessor. Instead, it rides atop the firm's new D7x (that's “x” for extreme) architecture that utilises a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction to create what is apparently the stiffest and most rigid body structure Land Rover has ever produced.

Purists might pull their noses up at this, but Land Rover insists it is more than up to the task of serious off-roading. Apart from being able to withstand its Extreme Event Test procedure (repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars), the Defender also underwent rigorous testing across some of the harshest environments on Earth. 

So what about figures? Well the new D7x architecture provides ground clearance of 291mm and world-class off-road geometry, giving 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 programme in the Terrain Response 2 system, which ensures drivers can ford deep water with complete confidence. Both air and coil spring suspension systems are available. 

You can customise your Defender with one of four optional accessory packs.
You can customise your Defender with one of four optional accessory packs.
Image: Supplied

4 Drivetrain and technology to deliver you across any adventure

The new Defender comes equipped with permanent all-wheel as standard. It also gets a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential, as well as an optional active locking rear differential for added off-road prowess. As to be expected, Land Rover's latest Terrain Response 2 technology makes an appearance and for the first time can be user configured to fine-tune individual vehicle settings to suit real-time driving conditions. Another handy electronic aid that will no doubt help on overland excursions is Land Rover's innovative ClearSight Ground View technology that broadcasts the area usually obstructed by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on to the central touchscreen.

The rear of the new 2020 Land Rover Defender.
The rear of the new 2020 Land Rover Defender.
Image: Supplied

5 Plenty of scope for personalisation 

Land Rover is savvy to the fact that people like to make their vehicles their own. As such, the new Defender can be had with one of four unique accessory packs: Explorer, Country, Adventure or Urban. Each give Defender a distinct character with a specially selected range of enhancements.

Customers will also be able to opt for a new Satin Protective Film to safeguard their paintwork against everything from car park scratches to bramble rash, and will be available as a factory-fit option with Indus Silver, Gondwana Stone and Pangea Green colours, providing a unique contemporary finish as it protects new Defender’s exterior.

In addition to the accessory packs, new Defender is available with the widest choice of individual accessories ever assembled for a new Land Rover, with everything from a remote control electric winch, rooftop tent and inflatable waterproof awnings to more conventional tow bar systems and roof racks.


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