Photos by Jeff Wilson and courtesy Land Rover
The all-new, 2020 Land Rover Defender brings back a legendary nameplate for the British marque and becomes one of the most anticipated machines for the new year.
While we haven’t had a chance to drive the new Defender yet, we did get to spend a bit of time crawling around and poring over the new Landie at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show. In addition to being what Land Rover’s officials promise to be the strongest, yet most refined Defender, there are plenty of cool facts and features about it too, especially when one dives into the 170 accessories available for this new SUV.
- There’ll be five-door (Defender 110) and three-door (Defender 90) variants, with the larger version arriving in North America in the spring of 2020, followed in the autumn by the shorter-wheelbase model.
- The Defender’s base engine will be a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that puts out 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, while the optional 3.0-litre, turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine uses mild hybrid technology to generate 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.
- Maximum towing capability is set at 3,720 kg (more than 8,200 lb), and the aluminum monocoque is strong enough to withstand a 10,000 lb snatch recovery load.
- The Defender uses aluminum shields to create a nearly flat under-floor, helping to achieve a drag coefficient of 0.38, despite its brick-like profile.
- Seating configurations will vary from five-person to six-person in the 3-door, and five-, six- or even seven-passenger in the five-door, with a clever fold-up front middle seat and a small third row bench. Despite having three (albeit small) rows of seating, even the Defender 110’s footprint is that of a compact sport ute.
- The optional middle front seat folds flat to create an armrest with cupholders and several plug-points.
- There’s an optional “Expedition Roof Rack” that is rated to hold up to 132 kg (300 lb) and it can be fitted with a roof-top tent, accessed via an extendable ladder.
- The Defender is set to be remarkably capable off-road with the air suspension allowing an extra 5 inches of lift over the base ride height, 20 inches of suspension articulation and – thanks to tiny overhangs – approach and departure angles of 38 and 40 degrees respectively. Full-time all-wheel drive is standard along with front and rear locking differentials. Off-road tires and off-road accessory kits are also available directly from Land Rover.
- The Defender has Wade Sensing capability by using ultrasonic sensors in the door mirrors to provide pictorial information about water depth, and warns a driver when reaching the 950 mm (three-foot) maximum fording depth.
- Intake plumbing ingests air from the side of the engine bay, making the mounting of the accessory Raised Air Intake (“snorkel”) on the driver’s side A-pillar easier.
- Land Rover offers an accessory Portable Rinse System that features a 22-litre water tank, hand-pump and hose with spray nozzle to rinse down muddy gear, boots or even pets.
- An integrated air compressor is offered at $1,645, resides permanently in the cargo area and comes with a self-coiling hose that’s long enough to quickly air up and down all four tires, as well as bike tires and to meet other inflatable needs.
- It’s possible to turn the cargo area into a veritable pet kennel with complex pet barricading, ramps and even a $100 spill-resistant water bowl for Fido.
- Three roof types are available including an all-metal one, a panoramic glass roof and a sliding fabric one that slides back far enough to allow backseat passengers to stand up if, for instance, they were on safari. Plus, the new Defender pays homage to classic Defenders by fitting the roof-top “Alpine Windows” over the backseat / cargo area.
- During production of the upcoming James Bond film, several new Defenders were thoroughly thrashed, yet the Land Rovers reportedly never failed despite the considerable abuse.
Land Rover Canada has the new Defender on their website (landrover.ca) ready for future customers and daydreamers alike to build their own Defender online. Look forward to our first drive for autoTRADER.ca in the coming months.