Land Rover is known for its Premium SUV’s since a long long time, the British legendary car maker has been churning out some of the best and capable models in its lineup for ages now. There is one model on their lineup that deserves an iconic status it has to be the Defender. Land Rover has been making it since seven decades. The Defender has recently been reborn in a completely new form and now is all set to enter the Indian markets. We spent some time along with the All New Land Rover Defender to find out if it really is worthy of its name, here’s our first impression review for the latest and meanest SUV coming to town.
The Land Rover Defender for those who don’t know is Britain’s answer to the Jeep CJ, Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota Land Cruiser. The SUV has also been very well known and is the direct descendent of the original Series 1 Land Rover. The SUV has been always been known for its simplistic virtues and go anywhere character. Now is its latest avatar the Defender get premium, stylish but still retains its original character.
This is the first impression review and we would be driving the 2020 Land Rover Defender real soon to get you a complete road test review.
Prices for the 2020 Land Rover Defender start at Rs. 78.98 Lakh for the 90 and Rs. 79.94 Lakh for the 110 model.
First things first, the 2020 Defender is available in two models the 3-door 90 which is the short wheelbase version and the 5-door 110 which is its long wheel base body style. We had the 110 on display during our media encounter with it. Land Rover Defender is built on the D7X platform where ‘X’ stands for Xtreme which should give you a hint of what the SUV is really capable of. Land Rover also has now given the Defender a more capable monocoque body-frame chassis that is three times stronger and three times stiffer than the traditional body on frame setup.
The styling on the outside reminds you of the iconic Defender to a large extent with neat new trendy styling elements coming in. The overall styling true to its SUV genes is boxy, flat, butch and very dominating. Key highlights include trademark round matrix headlights with catchy DRL’s in them, flat closed front grille, lower section of the front bumper in silver along with industrial design patterned skid plate, bold DEFENDER badging on the bonnet lip. The flat and large bonnet also gets character lines and the industrial textured insert on it.
The side profile continues with the flat dominating styling and come with flat wheel arches with fibre cladding, large air intake placed vertically on the fender, blacked out running board with fibre cladding, large wing mirror in glossy housing, strong waistline and shoulder line and blacked out roof, door frames to complete the butch styling. You also have this body colored insert just between the fixed glass with Land Rover logo giving a very different style element to the sides. The Defender drives on 19 inch multi spoke alloys while you also have options to choose from different alloy wheels or even get the 18 inched classic retro steel rim if you wish to get that basic iconic look.
Coming to the rear section, the 2020 Defender continues its brute SUV styling with a flat rear design. The rear door opens side ways and comes with a neatly integrated assist motor that helps in making the door opening weightless plus it also holds the door in place if its movement is stopped the door does not swing on its own. The square shaped tail lights are totally infused into the bodyline and get all LED glow in them. There also are the LED auxiliary tail lamps that are smaller in size and placed on the extreme edge of the rear section. These are one of the most different looking tail lamps that we seen on an SUV lately and are very attractive too. The rear bumper gets a large silver finished section in the middle along with the skid plate placed below. You get a full sized spare wheel placed on the centre of the boot door and Defender branding that adds to the overall SUV look. The key highlight of the roof on the Defender is the panoramic sun roof and the trademark Defender alpine glass that’s placed on the rear corners of the roof area adding to the classic style element on the SUV.
Like the exteriors the cabin area on the 2020 Defender too gets the classic retro yet trendy styling theme. You can customize the interior color and also choose the seat material from many options that include Ebony (black), Acorn/Lunar (grained leather with woven textile accent) and Khaki/Ebony (grained khakhi leather with woven textile accent) to choose from.
Needless to say the seats get all electric adjust while the cabin oozes premium quality and feels spacious yet very cozy. You also have an option of an foldable jump seat in the front between the driver and the passenger and hence the transmission shifter is placed ahead towards the dash. Coming to the dash the styling is flat and wide with leather inserts and rectangular AC vents. The passenger side of the dash gets a large grab handle and a big deep storage space with Defender branding on it. The centre dash comes with the latest generation Pivi Pro 10 inch touch screen AVN system which gets its hardware from Qualcomm in form of the Snapdragon CPU while the software is from Blackberry. The instrument cluster is also a all digital unit with a 10 inch display in place as the virtual cockpit. This system is high on connectivity features while the system works flawlessly and is very crisp to view. The sound system is a 11 speaker 400W system from Meridian Audio.
The middle row seats offer multiple fold options to enhance space when needed. The third row seats that the 110 model gets come with good amount of space and also get huge head rests. You also get Land Rovers innovative Clear-Sight rear view mirror helps you to see everything perfectly even if the SUV is loaded. Other neat touches inside the cabin include more than 10 charge points which include USB, USB-C and a AC point. The door pads and centre console get premium wood finish with exposed screws on them to give that brute tough look, tons of storage spaces available.
Engine – Transmission – Off-Road Tech
Powering both the models of the 2020 Defender is the 2.0L 4-cylinder Petrol engine that makes 300Ps of power and generates 400Nm of torque. This engine comes mated to the 8-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF Technologies. You get select drive and paddle shifters on the transmission.
For the off road gadgetry the Land Rover Defender comes with everything that you need and more. You get All time All Wheel Drive, electronic air suspension, electronic active differential, twin-speed lo gearbox, configurable Terrain Response-2, low traction launch, gradient release control, hill descent, adaptive dynamics, All Terrain Progress Control and lots more. In terms of capability the 2020 Defender has a water wading capacity of 900meters combined with some latest tech Wade Program that raises the Defender and also can sense the depth of the water area that it is crossing and give live depth level inside the cabin in real time using its 3d surround camera. You also get the ClearSight Ground View system that sees through the Defenders bonnet and displays multiple exterior views including the vehicles underside and wheels which would come real handy while hard off-roading. Oh yes the Defender can also carry 168kgs of load on its roof top.
Land Rover has given the Defender a long list of customization options with upto 170 accessories to choose from. If you want things to get easier then you can choose from between 4 ready-made packs which include Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban. You also have an option of 5 trims to choose from which include Standard, S, SE, HSE and the limited edition 1st Edition that you see in our story which comes with a factory body wrap which looks damn Kool.
Land Rover Defender is not just an 4×4 SUV that can go places and beyond, it is an Icon that has been a part of the history since long. The 2020 version takes the Defenders capabilities to the next level. The typical Land Rover premium feel is also very much there along with its safety features. The Defender is something very different from other SUV’s, it is a different breed that deserves respect and admiration that it has duly earned over the years. The Defender is a different experience altogether.
Stay tuned to MotorWorldIndia as we get you our road test review of the 2020 Land Rover Defender very soon.
Words – Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar