It’s finally here; the Land Rover Defender 2020 in all its glory! Since 1948, the Defender and its predecessors have been common sights on farms and worksites across the UK and the Midlands-based company has just showcased the all-new generation.
Land Rover Defender 2020 key points:
- Made in Nitra, Slovakia
- Monocoque, rather than body-on-frame
- Three engines (2.0 diesel, 2.0 petrol and 3.0 V6 petrol)
- 200hp to 400hp
- Up to 900kg payload
- 90 and 110 wheelbases
- All 3.5t towing capacity
- All permanent AWD
- All 8-speed ZF automatic
- 3 seats available in front
- Commercial version available
- Available spring 2020
The Defender can trace its history all the way back to 1948, when the Rover Company launched a Jeep-inspired off-road vehicle – named the ‘Land Rover’ – aimed at the agricultural sector. A second generation, the Series II, replaced the original in 1958 and the Series III in 1971. From 1978, Land Rover became a company within its own right.
Three wheelbases were offered from 1983 and new names were adopted to reflect this; the Land Rover 90, Land Rover 110 and Land Rover 127. The addition of the Discovery to the Land Rover fold in 1989 forced another, and this time final, name change to the Defender.
Why did it stop?
We could go on for hours about this. There were a multitude of reasons but we’ll sum it up as best as we can in one paragraph.
Because the Defender was largely hand-built, it was incredibly expensive and therefore nowhere near as profitable as the other models. Production volumes were small as it didn’t really sell well outside of the UK (around 20,000 a year), and it was extremely hard to get around the Euro 6 emission standard as it was as aerodynamic as a parachute.
Land Rover Defender 2020 engine and driveline
As we have yet to test the new Defender, we’ll give you a technical breakdown of the engines:
- D200 – 2.0 Diesel. 200hp/430Nm. 0-60mph in 9.9s. 37.2mpg combined (NEDC)
- D240 – 2.0 Diesel. 240hp/430Nm. 0-60mph in 8.7s. 37.2mpg combined (NEDC)
- P300 – 2.0 Petrol. 300hp/400Nm. 0-60mph in 7.7s. No fuel economy available yet.
- P400 – 3.0 Petrol V6. 400hp/550Nm. 0-60mph in 6.1s. 29.4mpg combined (NEDC)
All versions of the new Defender are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and are permanent all-wheel drive. The P300 petrol is actually a mild hybrid, meaning the acceleration is assisted by the battery to improve fuel economy. Start/stop is also standard. A plug-in hybrid will be available from late 2020.
Hmmm…this takes some getting used to! The new Defender is essentially a slightly bubblier old Defender in terms of looks, retaining the traditional raised, upright stance and offering a generous 291mm of ground clearance and the short and rear overhangs afford great approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees (on the 110). At the back is that trademark rear-hinged tailgate and spare wheel.
Unlike the old version, the new Defender is a monocoque design using LR’s new ‘D7X’ chassis, which is 3x stiffer than any other chassis that Land Rover has ever produced. The Defender is available as a 90 or 110, and there is a choice between rear coils or air suspension.
For anyone taller than a hobbit, the Defender could be a very claustrophobic place. Despite keeping the same wheelbases, the new chassis – along with things like mounting the gear lever on the dash – has freed up a lot more room and we’re pleased to report that it’s a lot more accommodating.
There is a 3-seater bench available for the front like panel vans, with the Defender 90 being available as a 5- or 6-seater and the Defender 110 available as a 5, 6 or 5+2 seater. For the mud lovers among us, the Defender comes with the option of rubber flooring.
The new Pivi Pro system comes with a 10-inch touchscreen display and is standard across the range. The software engineers have made it more intuitive and reduced the number of clicks required to perform certain tasks. Software updates can be undertaken on the road thanks to Software over the Air.
There are now six trim levels on the Defender; the standard, S, SE, HSE, First Edition and top of the range Defender X.
- Heated windscreen
- Heated powerfold mirrors
- Automatic headlights
- Rain sensing wipers
- LED headlights and taillights
- 18-inch steel wheels
- All-season tyres
- ClearSight Gound View
- 8-way adjustable heated seats
- DAB radio with 180W speakers
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- 10-inch touchscreen display
- Navigation Pro
- Pivi Pro system
- 3D surround camera
- Cruise control and speed limiter
- Lane keep assist
The ‘S’ adds:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Leather gearshift and steering wheel
- Auto High Beam assist
- 12-way adjustable driving seat with armrest
- Front fog lights
- Premium LED lights with signature DRLs
- 20-inch alloys
- Memory seats
- Electrically-adjustable steering wheel
- ClearSight rear-view mirror
- Meridian Sound System (400w)
- Keyless entry
- Blind spot assist
- Fabric folding roof (90) / panoramic roof (110)
- Matrix LED lights
- 14-way adjustable memory seats with cooling feature
- Extended leather upgrade
- Heated steering wheel
- Adaptive cruise control
- Rear collision monitor
- Black contrast roof
- Gloss black bonnet
- Sliding panoramic roof (90)
- Darkened taillights
- Heated rear seats
- Walnut veneer
- Enhanced styling inside
- Meridian Sound System (700w)
- Head-up display
In addition to the 291mm ground clearance and fantastic departure (38-degrees), break-over (28-degrees) and departure (40-degrees) angles, and there is a maximum wading depth of 900mm in the new Terrain Response 2 system. The ClearSight Ground View allows the driver to see what is directly in front of the bumper, to help avoid any nasty dents or scrapes.
Weights and dimensions
The good news for the agricultural industry is that the Defender inherits the 3.5t towing capacity and there’s also a payload of up to 900kg. On the long wheelbase, it rivals small vans in terms of space with up to 2.4 cubic metres of load volume.
Land Rover Defender 2020 price and availability
The new Defender is priced from £45,240 to £78,800 for the passenger versions, although we’re expecting the Commercial to undercut them considerably for around £35,000 plus VAT, and they come with a respectable 3-year, unlimited mileage warranty.