The legend reborn: 2020 Land Rover Defender debuts in Frankfurt
The new Land Rover Defender has made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. A small, boxy sport utility that brings a totally new architecture and new design for the legendary Defender, the 2020 model has a lot of technology built in, most of it aimed towards making it adventure-ready and versatile enough to be an everyday luxury drive as well as a weekend getaway rig.
Land Rover faced an almost impossible task in creating the new Defender, but it has made a decent fist of dragging the design into the 21st Century without entirely obliterating the DNA of its legendary predecessor (though many purists will no doubt disagree with us on that point).
The 2020 Defender will come in six models (Defender, Defender S, Defender SE, Defender HSE, Defender X and Defender First Edition) with four Accessory Packs upgrades available. Each pack brings more equipment, starting with the Explorer Pack with its off-road-centric additions like wheel arch protection and a roof rack. The Adventure Pack is aimed towards outdoor enthusiasts and campers, adding a trunk-mounted air compressor, a pressurized water reservoir for washing, and a seat-integrated backpack. The Country Pack adds portions of the previous two options into a less specialized option while the Urban Pack adds items for the concrete jungle.
Standard equipment on the 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 includes four-wheel drive with Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system, a wade-sensing feature for water fording, and some hefty maximum payload capacities. Optional is a 5+2 seating arrangement, an expansion that replaces rear cargo space with stow-able third row and added front-row center jump seat.
Payload maxes out in the Defender 110 at 1,984 pounds (900 kg) with a dynamic roof load capacity of 370 lb (168 kg), and a towing capacity of 8,201 lb (3,719 kg). Static roof load, for those planning a roof-top camper, is 661 lb (300 kg). The Defender 110 can wade up to an impressive 35.4 inches (900 mm) into the water.
Also standard is an all-new infotainment system from Land Rover called PIVI Pro. This system, based around a 19-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, utilizes over-the-air software updates and a new user interface for easier use and broader capability. A new-generation head-up display and a more powerful on-board network for faster internal communications between vehicle modules.
Retaining some of the boxiness of the original, design cues for the 2020 Defender center around an attempt to modernize that rough-and-tumble look. “The new Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it. This is a new Defender for a New Age,” says Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer at Land Rover, in a (almost certainly fruitless) attempt to placate the new Defender’s critics.
The interior is aimed towards the functional, with a modular layout and exposed structure. Most prominent of those is a structural die-cast magnesium alloy beam with integrated grip handles. Other exposed elements include door casings, screws, bolt heads, and portions of the interior bodywork. Rubberized flooring finishes the practical and functional look Land Rover wants for the Defender.
The 2020 Defender is based on a new D7x aluminum platform that can be expanded or contracted to fit various design needs. For the Defender, this means the standard 110 model is almost identical in underpinnings to its shorter wheelbase 90 stablemate. The Defender, in fact, shares nothing with any other Land Rover model in its structure or bodywork. It is 0.8 in (20 mm) higher off the ground (11.5 in/291 mm) compared to other Land Rover models and has smaller overhangs at the front and rear. This makes the Defender’s wheelbase 119 in (3,022 mm), about 3.9 in (99 mm) longer than that of the physically larger Discovery.
A new Configurable Terrain Response system debuts in the 2020 Defender, giving more driver control over off-road tuning for the rig. Center Slip Limited and Center and Rear Slip Limited controls for differentials are also standard. Settings allow control over throttle, gearbox, steering, and traction control responses, or these can all be ignored with Auto mode for those less interested in that kind of tuning.
Having a lot of capable gear on board is one thing, but powering it well enough is another. Land Rover has included new P300 and P400 powertrain options for the Defender. The P300 produces 296 horsepower (221 kW) from a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The P400 upgrades to a six-cylinder engine with a 48-volt mild hybrid system for a total of 395 horsepower (295 kW). Both engines mate to an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and twin-speed transfer box for four-wheel drive.
Land Rover has also debuted a new braking setup on the 2020 Defender with an actuator-controlled piston system. It locks wheels at lower speeds in about half the time of conventional braking systems, adding more control in off-road situations.
The new Land Rover Defender will enter the US market in the Spring of 2020. Starting price will be US$49,900. The smaller wheelbase Defender 90 will come later in 2020 with a price point announced closer to launch. Land Rover also plans to offer several one-off accessories for the Defender beyond the packages offered.
Source: Land Rover