Automotive

The Land Rover Defender returns to US soil (and water)

The Land Rover Defender return...
The Land Rover Defender 110 makes its way back to US shores
The Land Rover Defender 110 makes its way back to US shores
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The Land Rover Defender 110 makes its way back to US shores
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The Land Rover Defender 110 makes its way back to US shores
Land Rover debuted the new Defender at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show
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Land Rover debuted the new Defender at last year's Frankfurt Motor Show
Land Rover has not been shy about showing off the Defender's off-road skills
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Land Rover has not been shy about showing off the Defender's off-road skills
Happy as a pig in mud
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Happy as a pig in mud
The available Explorer Pack brings the expedition roof rack, snorkel, side-mount gear carrier and more
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The available Explorer Pack brings the expedition roof rack, snorkel, side-mount gear carrier and more
The base Land Rover Defender 110 is powered by a 296-hp 2.0-liter turbo inline-four
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The base Land Rover Defender 110 is powered by a 296-hp 2.0-liter turbo inline-four
The new Land Rover Defender sneaks through the swamp
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The new Land Rover Defender sneaks through the swamp
Land Rover is launching the US Defender 110 first, the smaller 90 to follow
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Land Rover is launching the US Defender 110 first, the smaller 90 to follow
This is the type of view the Land Rover Defender is all about
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This is the type of view the Land Rover Defender is all about
A casual swim
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A casual swim
The new Defender 110 starts just under $50,000 b
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The new Defender 110 starts just under $50,000 before destination/handling fee
View gallery - 11 images

It's been more than two decades since brand-new Land Rover Defender models were available in the United States, but that officially changes today, June 1. After thoroughly reimagining its most rugged utility vehicle for the 21st century, Land Rover kicks off US Defender 110 deliveries, adding a rugged, iconic 4x4 option to an SUV market that's become increasingly overrun by small, urbanized soft-roaders.

The new Defender becomes the third family member of Land Rover's current US lineup, sliding in next to the Discovery and Range Rover. Land Rover says it's working to deliver Defenders to dealerships around the US.

"After too long of an absence, the Land Rover Defender is once again here in the US," says Jaguar Land Rover North America president and CEO Joe Eberhardt. "In the coming months, we will ramp up availability as global circumstances allow."

The Defender launch today meets the "Spring 2020" timeframe Land Rover laid out initially during the model's world debut last September, but Eberhardt's words remind that it's a tricky time to be launching a new vehicle. US states remain at various levels of COVID-19 shutdown, some of which affect vehicle dealerships. The states and country as a whole will continue grappling with the economic and societal aftermath in the months that lie ahead.

The base Land Rover Defender 110 is powered by a 296-hp 2.0-liter turbo inline-four
The base Land Rover Defender 110 is powered by a 296-hp 2.0-liter turbo inline-four

On the bright side, it would seem a global event like the COVID-19 pandemic might increase the public's interest in an off-grid-capable off-roader like the Defender.

The new Defender moves away from the body-on-frame construction that underpinned its predecessor in favor of a brand-new D7x all-aluminum unibody platform. Land Rover promises that the architecture creates the stiffest body it's ever built, three times more rigid than traditional body-on-frames. It further declares the new Defender its most capable vehicle ever.

Happy as a pig in mud
Happy as a pig in mud

The Defender 110 comes powered by a 296-hp 2.0-liter turbo four or a 395-hp 3.0-liter turbo six mild-hybrid powertrain. All models include permanent all-wheel drive with Terrain Response and two-speed transfer case. A series of four individual accessory packs are available to refine the Defender into everything from an ambitious expedition 4x4 to a sleek city slicker. Each kit packages together add-on components like an expedition roof rack, snorkel, air compressor, portable rinse system and cargo partition.

US Defender 110 pricing starts at $50,925, including destination/handling charge. Those waiting for the smaller two-door Defender 90 will have to continue waiting. The 90 was originally scheduled to follow the 110 to market later in 2020, but Land Rover says the launch has been delayed as a result of supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 situation.

Source: Land Rover

View gallery - 11 images
1 comment
guzmanchinky
Obviously the only real competition is the Jeep Wrangler. So let's compare! The Jeep is simpler, arguably more reliable, easier to work on by more dealerships and mechanics, comes in 20 different configurations, cheaper (by far) to repair off road damage, comes with a diesel as an option, doors can come off easily, roof easily comes off in sections, drives reasonably well on road (the new one) and is unstoppable off road, and has the largest aftermarket of accessories on the planet. I'm 100% sure the Defender is nicer inside and has better road manners, but if you are truly looking for the king of this class, and are truly interested in using it off road, I think the Wrangler is the much better choice...