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