News : Land Rover Defender (L663) full details

The Land Rover Defender L663 is a long-overdue addition to the Land Rover family – it’s hugely important for the company’s long-term plans, and was finally revealed at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show.

Land Rover Defender detailed

The world’s moved on since the original Land Rover was launched in 1948, and the new Defender is bristling with on-board technology to reflect that. Like its predecessor, its hardcore buyers demand that it’s peerless off-road, but customers also expect refinement, performance and efficiency when on the asphalt. What we’ve seen, it’s up to the task. The new Slovakian-built Defender comes in two guises: the long-wheelbase 110 followed by the shorter 90 which buyers can place orders for in a few weeks’ time. A commercial version will go on sale during 2020.

Land Rover has chosen not to trek along the same path Mercedes did with its latest G-Wagen, a model that was also new at launch, but which slavishly followed the styling template laid down by the late-1970s G-Wagen. Instead the new Defender is a modern off-roader that pays homage to the original in some of the detailing, such as its upright silhouette, the strong shoulder line and the side-hinged tailgate-mounted spare wheel.

Inside, the new Defender is utterly contemporary with LCD screens for the instrumentation, updated infotainment dubbed Pivi Pro, access to a suite of electronic wizardry to make driving on- and off-road even more of a cinch, yet you can still hose the cabin down if it’s clarted with mud after a day of cross-country adventuring. Depending upon the colour paint you choose, you can even have a factory fitted protective film applied to the bodywork to ensure it’s better able to stand-up to country life.

Space inside for five, six or seven

With the spare wheel attached to the back door, the Defender 110 is lengthy at 5018mm, but there’s space inside for up to seven people, although the rearmost two will be kids. As standard the 110’s a five-seater, but an optional front centre seat for occasional use is a carry-over feature from the old Defender. When it’s not required it can be folded away for additional storage.

The Defender 90 measures in at 4583mm – with the spare wheel included – so it’s barely any longer than most compact family hatchbacks. Like the 110, the 90’s a five-seater as standard, with the option of the front jump seat to turn it into a six-seater. Defender customers frequently need a lot of space, and here the newcomer is generous – the 90’s boot space ranges from 397 litres to 1563 litres with the rear bench folded. Opt for the 110 and you’ve got 646 litres to 2380 litres in five- or six- seat mode, and 231-2,233 litres when the optional third-row seats are fitted.

New mild-hybrid option

From launch, the Defender’s four engine options – two each of petrol and diesel – all feature a mild-hybrid system for efficiency and performance. Other than confirmation it’s coming, there are no official details yet on the Defender plug-in hybrid set to go on sale during 2020, but expect a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine supporting the electric drive system that debuts in the Range Rover Evoque.

Diesels are expected to be the most popular following launch. Both are 2.0-litre four-cylinder motors producing 197bhp in the D200 and 236bhp in the D240. The P300 has a 296bhp petrol motor the same configuration as the diesels, while the punchier P400 features a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol, with 394bhp

Claimed performance and efficiency figures are as follows:

Defender 90

  • D200 – 109mph top speed, 0-62mph 10.2 seconds, 37.7mpg, 199g/km CO2 
  • D240 – 117mph top speed, 0-62mph 9.0 seconds, 37.7mpg, 199g/km CO2 
  • P300 – 119mph top speed, 0-62mph 8.0 seconds, 28.5-28.8mpg, 224-227g/km CO2 
  • P400 – 119-129mph top speed, 0-62mph 6.3 seconds, 29.4mpg, 219g/km CO2 

Defender 110

  • D200 – 109mph top speed, 0-62mph 10.3 seconds, 37.2mpg, 199g/km CO2 
  • D240 – 117mph top speed, 0-62mph 9.1 seconds, 37.2mpg, 199g/km CO2 
  • P300 – 119mph top speed, 0-62mph 8.1 seconds, 28.5mpg, 227-228g/km CO2 
  • P400 – 119-129mph top speed, 0-62mph 6.4 seconds, 29.4mpg, 220g/km CO2 

Off-road prowess assured

Based upon the new D7x platform, the new Defender is set to be the company’s most capable off-road vehicle. It rides 20mm higher than other Land Rovers and combined with moving the battery and other ancillary components to higher locations, as well as mounting the spare wheel on the body rather than under the car, it promises to be very agile off-road, able to traverse sharp inclines with ease.

Coil springs are standard for the fully independent suspension, but an adaptive air sprung system is optionally available, making the on- and off-road experience even more sophisticated. Suspension travel of up to 500mm ensures the Defender can maintain four wheels on the ground in all but the most extreme circumstances. Not only can the air springs elevate the Defender by 70mm over tricky terrain, they can lower it by 50mm to make passenger entry and exit less of a climbing exercise.

Drivers can vary the slip levels of the differentials using the Pivi Pro touchscreen system, affording a much greater degree of precision to maintain traction in the trickiest of conditions. Of course, the Defender can also be left to its own devices leaving the Terrain Response 2 system in automatic mode, where it determines what kind of surface is being driven on and varies the throttle response and traction control accordingly.

Other familiar features such as All-Terrain Progress Control – effectively a slow-speed off-road cruise control and ClearSight Ground View to render the an on-screen image of what’s going on underneath the car are combined with the new Defender’s ability to wade through up to 900mm of water.

How much?

So far prices have only been confirmed for the Defender 110 which starts at £45,240 for the most basic version before the extensive range of 170 extra-cost options is plundered – deliveries begin in early 2020. Expect the shorter 90 to begin at around £40,000, with the Defender Commercial kicking-off from £35,000 plus VAT.

There are five trim levels on offer in the regular range, with increasing levels of equipment and visual differentiation starting at the base Defender, progressing through S, SE and HSE before reaching the range-topping X. Additionally, for the initial 12-month production run, there’ll be a gussied-up First Edition as well.

Land Rover claims its new Pivi Pro infotainment system is both more intuitive and easier to use than the sometimes frustrating kit featured in recent JLR models. Ahead of the driver is a 12.3-inch configurable set of electronic instruments can be combined with an updated head-up display system, while aids such as self-parking, adaptive cruise control and ClearSight Rear View – which turns the rear-view mirror into a display screen to provide an unfettered representation of what’s behind the car – make it even easier to live with.

Complementing those trims are four option bundles, combining a range of extras that Land Rover believes customers would benefit from specifying together. These comprise of:

  • Explorer Pack – a raised air intake, a lightweight expedition roof rack, bodyside-mounted gear equipment lockers, mud flaps, wheelarch protectors and a matte black bonnet finish 
  • Adventure Pack – a 6.5-litre pressurised rinse system to wash-down muddy kit, a boot-mounted air compressor and those side-mounted gear carriers are combined with a rear scuff plate and a 20-litre wearable backpack that fits to the back of a seat 
  • Country Pack – the rinse system, mud flaps and wheelarch protection are paired with a full-height boot partition to keep dirty equipment away from the passenger compartment 
  • Urban Pack – designed to cut a dash in the city with bright interior and exterior detailing and alloy wheels up to 22 inches in diameter.

 

Keith Adams

10 Comments

  1. The key thing is that its a Land Rover, and not another Range Rover. They had two prestigious brands there, each recognisable, but in recent years everything has looked like a Range Rover.

  2. Hummm….
    I’ve great faith in Gerry McGovern and what will be an undoubtedly fine styling execution.
    I have to accept that the new L851 will not be what it was and will retain only styling cues and a off-road capability inherent in its D7a platform. At the same time, one has to ask, was the old Defender ever that great? And the answer is no.
    The L851 then is another D7a variant dressed up to cue the buyer on the image of the previous Defender.
    We should remember that in so many markets, for decades now, it’s not the Land Rover which has been successful. The Toyota Land Cruiser and the Nissan Patrol have taken the market with a successful ‘hardened’ and reliable 4×4 products. The best of which is the Series 75 Land Cruiser in my view.
    While the L851 will no doubt succeed as transport to private school gates, I doubt it will be taken seriously in competition with Japanese products in Africa or in rural Australia. Nor will UK farmers be jumping up and down.
    And I’ve yet to get my head around a say a New Zealand sheep farmer using a PHEV.

  3. “I’ve great faith in Gerry McGovern and what will be an undoubtedly fine styling execution.” That says it all – style over practicality. Having driven both Series IIAs and Land Cruisers for work in the 1970s – in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho, and in the Kimberleys of Western Australia – I was driving work vehicles designed for work – not glamour toys taking the children to school in (UK) suburbia. Both vehicles were flat panelled, basically-built, cheaply repaired workhorses – looking like working vehicles, not playthings. What are the British Armed Forces going to use? Surely not this Discovery look-alike? What other large nation does not have a home-designed Land Rover size military vehicle? Whoever is in charge at JLR has betrayed 70 years of (British) 4 x 4 history. And for what?

    • The British armed forces stopped buying LR’s many years ago, as did other armies. They are simply too soft a target and no “new” Defender is going to overcome that. This is now the realm of custom built armoured vehicles.

  4. People’s confidence in Gerry McGovern is, to me, misplaced. Sure, he talks the talk, but his designs rarely, if ever, walk the walk. The new Defender should, pretty much, design itself. That it’s taken McGovern years of huffing and puffing, changing his mind, changing his mind again, doesn’t bode well.

  5. JLR is not interested in designing, building, selling a utility vehicle, which is what the Land Rover up to the Defender was. To say that there will be a Sport model (Yuk!!) tells all. Nothing more than a Discovery with the Defender name. Utterly un-Defender-able.

  6. It is a mystery to me that a farmer really wants a plasticky, carpeted, curvy, sexy truck – and certainly that farmers in Africa would want one. The Defender was based on a Land Rover – a flat sided working tool. We can only assume that JLR have done their research and will release a vehicle to grab back all the lost sales caused by the deletion of the Defender. But by all accounts it’s going to be a plasticky, carpeted, curvy, sexy truck. I think that where I came in……

    • I have just finished a piece to go to Classic Land Rover magazine, about how the flat sides of a Series IIA probably saved two lives. It was coming down a steep muddy track in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho. Even though in first gear low ratio, it began to slide with a hairpin bend ahead. At the bend it rolled onto its right side and, because of the rectangular shape, that was where it stayed. Below was a four hundred foot drop to the valley floor below. What would one of today’s aerodynamic 4 x 4s have done?

  7. Saw one of these when out for a walk last night.Startled by how Jeep-ish it looked.Something about it’s stance, not it’s styling details. As has already been said, it certainly doesn’t look look the vehicle that farmers will be buying.

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