Many years ago, we read a fascinating statistic: around 80% of the undiscovered world’s first car to be seen, was a Land Rover. Of course this could have just be a great marketing exercise by Land Rover, but one thing is certain; when you hear the Land Rover name, you undoubtedly think “The Best 4x4xFar” (another nod to the Land Rover PR team).
When Land Rover decided to halt production of the Defender in 2016, it didn’t take them long to realise that they’d made a mistake, and within a matter of months of the last Defender rolling off the production line, the all-new Defender was in the planning.
And what a Defender it is.
You may be forgiven in thinking that the softer, less ‘utilitarian’ look means that Land Rover have taken the popular vote option – producing a ‘soft-roader’ that appeals to the masses, and the company accountants. But the 2020 Defender is still all about doing the Land Rover name proud.
“We had to make sure the car could do everything we wanted it to do off road before concentrating on the on-road dynamics” – Defender Chief Engineer, Mike Cross.
But it isn’t just about off-road ability either. There were over 62,000 (that isn’t a typo) different test criteria that had to be signed off before the vehicle was unleashed to the public, making it one of the best tested models in the Land Rover stable (with over 1.2 million test miles under its wheels).
You can clearly see the design influence of the old Defender, but that’s all that’s left over from the predecessor, just an influence. Side-hinged rear door? Yes. Alpine windows? Uh-huh. Rear door mounted spare wheel? Of course. It’s even available with steel wheels (which we love).
Land Rover have gone to great lengths to make the Defender exactly what the consumer wanted – an updated, better looking, tech carrying model for the next generation. Yet despite the ‘next generation’ tag, it doesn’t go all out to alienate traditional Defender owners/drivers; it doesn’t matter if you’re a Farmer from Falmouth, a Mechanic from Mousehole, or a Banker from Boscastle, the Defender will work for you.
Despite being fitted with some pretty clever tech, the Defender certainly doesn’t need a degree in computing (or a teenager) to work at its best, and the designers have paid attention to the fact that Land Rover isn’t known for being a tech giant; small touches like the infotainment screen being attached to the dash, rather than integrated, show that they’ve incorporated useful tech, but not to show off, just because it’s useful.
Similarly, the new ‘Pivi Pro’ system has been designed to need 50% fewer inputs for regular tasks than the older JLR system; useful. Truth be told, there can be an abundance of tech, some of it optional, but it’s all intuitive, easy to get to grips with, and certainly not complicated. Useful.
Other useful features include a 900Kg payload capacity, with up to 300Kg of that being carried on the roof if needed, there’s the choice of independent air suspension, or coil springs, and then we come to the rear lights … they’re worth a trip to your local dealer just to see them. (We know that you’re now thinking “How different can rear lights be?”, but honestly, there’s nothing currently like them).
At this current time, there are four different engines available, although there is talk that an electrified version is on the way.
Two petrol engines, two diesel, ranging in horsepower from 197 through to 396hp, and up to 406 lb/ft of torque, thanks to the mild-hybrid P400 engine. The petrol-powered versions emit 227g/km (P300) or 220g/km (P400) of emissions, while the diesel is only 199g/km, with an average MPG of around 37.2 MPG.
Maximum towing capacity is 3,500Kg.
If you’re a fan of the old Defender, there’s a high probability that you’ll love the new one. Of course, some people still want the basic experience of a 300TDi, and the new Defender does not offer that, but with that said, there’s no mistaking the driving experience … sitting in the cabin, you can only be in a Defender, regardless of how modern it is.
If you’d like to find out more, or even come and see one for yourself (and those funky rear lights), contact one of our friendly professionals to find out the next steps, including how we’re keeping our customers safe, and the measures we’ve implemented.