After being killed off a few years ago, Land Rover’s most legendary vehicle—the Defender—is back, and though it does not appear as off-road focused as the old machine, it still looks awesome. Here’s what you need to know about the 2020 Land Rover Defender.
The Defender became a legend in the off-road community thanks in large part to its incredible off-road capability and easily modifiable platform. These two traits were, in many ways, enabled by the Defender’s old-school body-on-frame architecture and solid-axle design.
But the new Defender has ditched the frame and the axles in favor of a setup more in line with that of the Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover in an effort to improve on-road comfort, and though diehard off-roaders may cry foul, there’s no denying that the aluminum-bodied 2020 Land Rover Defender looks cool.
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Land Rover just showed off the long-awaited Defender at the Frankfurt Motor Show today; let’s look at the specs. There are two available body styles, a two-door Defender “90" and four-door Defender “110,” whose names—in case you were wondering—do not represent their wheelbases as they more or less did on the originals. The 90 has a 101.9-inch span between the front and rear axle, and the 110's front wheels are 119-inches ahead of the rears.
Available engines include a 296 horsepower, 295 lb-ft 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine, which comes with a “P300" badge. “P400" Defenders will have under their hoods a 395 horsepower, 406 lb-ft mild-hybrid inline-six, which is part of Land Rover’s “Ingenium” line of modular inline-sixes, inline-fours, and inline-threes. The motor is equipped with twin-scroll turbocharger and a 48-volt “belt-integrated starter motor,” also known in the industry as a belt starter generator or motor generator unit. It’s basically just a motor and generator that replaces the alternator on the accessory drive.
The inline-six gets the two-door to 60 mph in as quickly as 5.7 seconds, while the 110 is just a tenth slower. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder scores a zero to 60 mph time of 7.7 seconds in the 110, but I don’t see a published time for the “90" model with that engine.
Later, Land Rover says in its press release, a plug-in hybrid will be on offer, as will be a diesel. Per Automotive News Europe, the diesels will likely include an inline-four in 197 and 237 horsepower tune and possibly a six-cylinder, though we don’t know which of those will be available in the U.S.
Bolted to the motors are eight-speed ZF automatics, and hooked to those transmissions are full-time four-wheel drive systems with low range, as the Land Rover gods demanded. There’s also a locking center differential and an “Active Rear and Locking Differential,” which I assume is an automatic locking diff.
The geometry figures are phenomenal thanks to short overhangs, air suspension and big 32-inch tires wrapped around 18 to 22-inch wheels. This yields a maximum approach angle of 38 degrees, a departure angle of 40 degrees, and a breakover angle of 28 degrees on the 110 and 31 degrees on the 90. Even without the suspension in off-road height, the approach angle is over 30 degrees, the departure angle is early 38 degrees, and breakover angle is between 22 and 24.2 degrees. Ground clearance is about 8.5 inches or a whopping 11.5 in off-road height, and maximum wading depth with the suspension all the way up is nearly three feet.
These are all great figures. Whether they’re enough to make this a true off-road brute is something I’ll try to tackle in a later article.
Land Rover will offer four “accessory packs” for the Defender called Adventure, Explorer, Country and Urban. The Adventure pack gets a “Portable Rinse System,” which includes a pressurized water tank, trunk-mounted air compressor, and a gear-carrier on the side (shown in the image at the top of this article). On top of that, the pack adds mud flaps, a spare tire cover, and a scuff plate up front. Plus, there’s a seat backpack, which is just a backpack that straps into the center seatbelt in the rear to double as an armrest.
The Explorer pack also gets the side-mounted gear carrier, a spare tire cover, and mud flaps, but adds a roof rack, a raised air intake, and chunky fender flares. The Country Pack gets the Portable Rinse System, mud flaps, a scuff plates for the top of the rear bumper, and big fender flares. The “Urban Pack” gets the rear scuff plate, a spare tire cover, and an “undershield up front,” plus some shiny pedals for the interior.
Land Rover did a good job debuting the Defender with a host of accessories, because they really do make this thing look even cooler:
Seriously, look at this available Deployable Roof Ladder:
Considering its aluminum unibody, the Defender 90 with the 3.0-liter inline-six is surprisingly heavy, weighing in at 4,830 pounds (the mild-hybrid system is likely a significant contributor). The 110 ranges from 4,815 for the five-seat model with the 2.0-liter to 5,165 pounds for the “5+2" configuration.
Speaking of seat configurations, there’s also a six-seater, which gets a bench seat. Yes, a bench seat! That’s just awesome any way you look at it.
Land Rover mentions a new electronic vehicle architecture that allows for over-the-air software updates. And on the infotainment front, there’s a new “Land Rover PIVI Pro” infotainment system with a 10-inch touchscreen in the center stack augmenting a 12.3-inch driver display.
Pricing for the 110 is shown below, with the base starting at $49,900 plus a $1,025 destination fee, and availability beginning in the spring. We don’t yet know what the 90 will cost, but Land Rover does say it will hit the market later in 2020.