New edition of the Land Rover Defender remains true to its boxy, iconic look

The new edition of the Land Rover Defender remains true to its boxy, iconic look. And the first test drive proves: The new “Landy” remains more than ever in a class of its own. With all the facts, data and pictures.

Yes, they still exist, the  icons in automotive engineering! Even brand new: Because from June 20th the new edition of the land icon Land Rover Defender will be available at the dealer. The new Defender will be launched in various versions: While the first models of the Defender 110 with five, six or 5 + 2 seats will be delivered to customers from mid-June, the compact Defender 90 with a shorter wheelbase will be launched later in the year. The Defender Commercial is expected to be available in late 2020.

Unusual interior

Even die-hard Defender fans will take a deep breath when they see the newcomer live for the first time. Sure, the new Landy got the typical Rover features at the front with the narrow matrix headlights and a smooth grille. And the windscreen is also aerodynamically flatter. But the rather angular basic shape and the pronounced angular rear remain a style element. In addition, there are distinctive, unmistakable characteristics of the original, such as the Alpine windows in the roof or the rear hinged door with the spare wheel attached on the outside.

The Defender is unrecognizable in the interior, which is as minimalistically stylish as you would expect from a Volvo. The dashboard is flat with a large Defender lettering, coarse structures and fastening elements are not hidden and the surfaces are either thickly rubberized or covered with a material that is reminiscent of the soft-shell fabric of outdoor jackets. Everything looks robust – reduced to the essentials.

A clearly legible, fully digital cockpit can now be seen behind the rover-typical four-spoke steering wheel. Striking: Under the central display on the dashboard there is an increased automatic shift lever. Unfortunately, Land Rover does not use the stylish rotary switch of other models that extends after take-off in the new Defender.

As the first model from Land Rover, he has the newly developed infotainment system Pivi Pro on board, in which only a few steps are necessary for frequently occurring tasks. During the first test drives, the system actually worked in such a way that all functions could be found straight away.

Two wheelbases: 90 and 110 inches

Of course there are again two body styles: the short Ninety (90) and the One Ten (110). The numbers represent the respective wheelbase in inches. The Defender 110 is offered with five, five plus two or six seats. The loading volume in the trunk is 1075 liters according to the manufacturer. If more space is required, a load compartment with a full 2,380 liter volume can be created by folding down row 2. The Defender 90 is also available with up to six seats. Six? Like in the past with the Fiat Multipla? Exactly: Due to the high placement of the gear lever on the dashboard, the developers created space for the optional middle folding seat in the first row.

Wheelbase comparison 90 vs 110

Unfortunately, we were not able to try out the sixth seat or the two seats at the back of the first test car. We enjoyed the princely offer of normal seating in the 110s. At the front, the recessed dashboard creates additional space and at the back there is so much space to the front that the lost sheep of the farmer would fit in between.

It could also save it from the roughest terrain, because the new Defender cuts a good figure on any terrain due to its technology, robust construction and permanent all-wheel drive. There is also a two-stage transfer case, a lockable center differential and an active rear axle lock.

The new body architecture offers a maximum ground clearance of 291 millimeters, a front slope angle of 38 degrees, a ramp angle of 28 degrees and the rear slope angle of 40 degrees. In addition, there is a maximum wading depth of 900 millimeters.

Of course, the new Defender also has another innovative technology: ClearSight Ground View. The system developed by Land Rover makes the bonnet practically transparent, because cameras transmit images from the ground immediately in front of the front wheels to the touchscreen in the dashboard.

Land Rover Defender: two diesels, two petrol engines

Two petrol and two diesel engines are available at the market launch. The four-cylinder turbo gasoline engine produces 221 kW (300 hp) from a displacement of two liters. The six-cylinder turbo generates 294 kW (400 hp) from a three-liter displacement. The four-cylinder diesel is available with 147 kW (200 hp) or 177 kW (240 hp). All engines are combined with an 8-speed automatic. A plug-in version will also be available in a few months.

For first test drives, the strongest 240 PS diesel was available – a four-cylinder engine that is very cultivated, especially in the lower engine speed range. With a full torque of 430 Nm, it had absolutely no trouble with the Defender, which weighed more than 2 tons. And even those who take advantage of the enormous trailer load of 3500 kilos will never have the feeling that they are underpowered.

The comfortably shifting 8-speed automatic goes well with the powerful diesel. However, the lower gears are translated relatively short for better off-road capability, which makes the diesel engine a little louder at high engine speeds.

The road impresses with how agile the thick ship can be moved on winding roads. The chassis with air suspension is tight and yet not uncomfortably tuned, hardly allows any roll movements. The steering also fits perfectly, and tackles every bend with little effort.

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