By Theodore Opara
FOR many decades Land Rover retained the design of the Defender. Only a few vehicles around the world boast of this pedigree. Maybe the Jeep Wrangler, and Mercedes Benz G-Class. But the Wrangler and Defender boast the longest record in this regard: Over six decades each. As the saying goes, what has a beginning has an end. Land Rover last week decided to end this record by changing the look and character of its iconic Defender to completely modern design.
A masterpiece you can call it, the Defender has transformed from what it used to be a trendy fashion prowess. The Defender, in its many decades, was loved by the military and para-military because of its capability on all terrains. It has probably executed more wars than any other car in history due to its off-road capability. New Defender is built for adventurous hearts and curious minds, for those who know the value of community and strive to make a difference. The unmistakable silhouette is familiar yet new. It looks tough and is tough but designed with purpose and engineered to excite.
Iconic in name, shape and capability, Defender can be personalised to allow owners to make the most of their world. Across seven decades of pioneering innovation, Land Rovers have earned a unique place in the hearts of explorers, humanitarian agencies and adventurous families across the world. Proven in the harshest environments on earth, the new Defender maintains this bloodline.
Beside the peerless luxury and refinement of the Range Rover family and the highly capable and versatile Discovery SUVs, new Defender completes the Land Rover dynasty. The 110 is just the start for this family of the most capable and durable 4x4s in the world. It will be swiftly followed by a short wheelbase 90 in 2020.
Driven by a passion and respect for the original, new Defender delivers a transformational breadth of capability. Advanced all-terrain technologies redefine adventure for the 21stcentury, remaining true to the pioneering spirit that has been a Land Rover hallmark for 71 years. Land Rover’s designers re-envisioned familiar Defender trademarks for the 21st century, giving the new 4×4 a purposeful upright stance and Alpine light windows in the roof while retaining the side-hinged rear tailgate and externally-mounted spare wheel that make the original so identifiable.
Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover, said: “We have created the new Defender to ensure it is ready for anything, with a design that has been inspired by the past, not constrained by it. Its elemental grille, sophisticated surfacing and commanding stance give the entire family modernity and confidence that set it apart, while simultaneously retaining the essential elements that make a Defender so recognisable.”
Innovative features include a dash-mounted gear shifter to accommodate an optional central front ‘jump’ seat, which provides three-abreast seating across the front like early Land Rovers. As a result, the Defender 110 offers five, six or 5+2 seating configurations, with a loadspace 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 Defender 90 will be able to accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback. User-friendly features include practical touches and advanced technological innovations. Durable rubberised flooring shrugs off the spills of daily adventures and once-in-a-lifetime expeditions, providing a brush or wipe clean interior.
Land Rover’s new purpose-engineered D7x (for extreme) architecture is based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction to create the stiffest body structure Land Rover has ever produced. It is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs, providing perfect foundations for the fully independent air or coil-sprung suspension and supports the latest electrified powertrains.
The new Defender has been through more than 62,000 tests for engineering sign-off, while the chassis and body architecture has been engineered to withstand Land Rover’s Extreme Event Test procedure – repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars.
During development testing, prototype models have covered millions of kilometres across some of the harshest environments on earth, ranging from the 50-degree heat of the desert and sub-40-degree cold of the Arctic to altitudes of 10,000ft in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. A transformational breadth of capability sets new Defender apart.
Permanent all-wheel drive and a twin-speed automatic gearbox, centre differential and optional Active Locking Rear Differential ensure it has all the hardware required to excel in the soft sand of the desert, the freezing tundra of the arctic and everywhere in between. Configurable Terrain Response debuts on new Defender, allowing experienced off-roaders to fine-tune individual vehicle settings to perfectly suit the conditions, while inexperienced drivers can let the system detect the most appropriate vehicle settings for the terrain, using the intelligent Auto function.
The new body architecture provides ground clearance of 291mm and world-class off-road geometry, giving the 110 approaches, break-over 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 two system, which ensures drivers can ford deep water with complete confidence.
On dry land, Land Rover’s advanced ClearSight Ground View technology helps drivers take full advantage of Defender’s all-conquering capability by showing the area usually hidden by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on the central touchscreen.
As a result, the new Defender redefines breadth of capability, raising the threshold for both off-road ruggedness and on-road comfort. It can negotiate crowded city streets as effortlessly as climbing mountains, crossing deserts and withstanding freezing temperatures.
Its carefully honed handling delivers both a rewarding drive and first-class long-haul comfort across all terrains. A choice of advanced petrol and cleaner diesel engines ensure new Defender has the power, control and efficiency for any environment.
There is a3.0-litre straight six-cylinder P400 featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology with outputs of 294kW and 550Nm.
Alternatively, customers can choose a 2.0-litre D240 turbodiesel with 177kW and 430Nm. The introduction of increased engine options, along with the short wheelbase 90 derivative, will follow later in 2020.
Innovative engineering solutions support the efficiency drive, including a flat underbody which both optimises aerodynamic performance (as low as 0.38Cd) and protecting the vehicle’s underbody. New Defender is as technologically advanced as it is durable.
It introduces Jaguar Land Rover’s new Pivi Pro infotainment system. The next-generation touchscreen is more intuitive and user-friendly, requiring fewer inputs to perform frequently used tasks, while its always-on design guarantees almost instant responses.
New Defender will be available in 90 and 110 body designs, with up to six seats in the 90 and the option of five, six or 5+2 seating in the 110. The model range comprises Defender, First Edition and top of the range Defender X models, as well as standard, S, SE, HSE specification packs.
Customers will be able to personalise their vehicle in more ways than any previous Land Rover with four Accessory Packs. The Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban Packs each give Defender a distinct character with a specially selected range of enhancements. The exclusive First Edition model features a unique specification and will be available throughout the first year of production.