We couldn’t help but be a little sad when Land Rover announced that production of their much-loved Defender would end in January of 2016. Little did we know at the time, however, that it was more of a hiatus than a retirement and now, just over three years on, the reinvented Land Rover Defender has been officially unveiled.
The new Land Rover Defender – which shares undeniable DNA with the original – has been designed to hit an even broader audience and has been gifted a far greater breadth of capabilities. That means that, alongside the initial five-door Defender 110, future versions will be fit for everything from military and humanitarian duty to farm work and more lifestyle-orientated tasks.
It’s worth noting that the new Land Rover is entirely that: new. What you see here is the product of 62,000 tests, 1.2million kilometres of driving in every terrain imaginable and a development programme than spans much longer than the three years that the Defender has been gone. Within their press release, Land Rover mentioned that the new Defender was so successful at its tests that it even managed to break a seat durability testing device.
Based on Land Rover’s new D7x platform, Defender now boasts the stiffest body structure ever produced by the company. Thanks to the new platform, Defender continues its legacy of off-road ability by offering 291mm of ground clearance, a 38 degree approach angle and 40 degree departure angle, a maximum towing capability of 3500kg and a maximum wading depth of 900mm.
Speaking of off-road ability, the new Land Rover Defender has some rather massive boots to fill. As such, it features all the stuff you’d expect – diff-lock control, slip angle control, low and high gear ratios, etc – but then adds a layer of new technology that takes the Defender to the next level. In fact, the new Defender is so clever that Drivetribe have even referred to it as an ‘offroad supercomputer’.
For starters, there’s clever new variable-height self-levelling air suspension that automatically raises when off-road or wading and then drops when you’re driving on roads or at higher speeds (or when arriving somewhere fancy thanks to a new ‘elegant arrival’ mode).
As well as the clever suspension, there’s also a host of smart little tricks like dragging the brakes for a second after wading, to ensure that the brake discs are dry; there are too many of these to mention.
As well as the new hardware, the Defender is the first car from Land Rover’s range to feature their latest infotainment system – Pivi Pro. Displayed on a central screen in the cabin, the new system features all of the normal infotainment titbits, as well as tech such as Land Rover’s ClearSight Ground View – a system that uses camera feeds to show the driver areas usually hidden by the bonnet – and ‘Software-Over-The-Air’ (SOTA) software updates that take place wirelessly regardless of location.
In terms of power, the Defender will initially be offered with the choice of petrol, diesel or light hybrid engines, with a plug-in hybrid variant set to join the range next year.
At launch, petrol offerings will be either the four-cylinder P300 or the new P400 V6 (which features the mild hybrid technology) whilst diesel will come in the form of either the D200 or powerful D240 four-cylinder engines. Ensuring efficiency and environmental wellbeing, both diesel variants are capable of delivering 37.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 199g/km.
When it comes to the interior, Land Rover say that they “didn’t want the new Defender to pretend that it’s a high-tec vehicle at its heart … there’s an element of ‘there it is, use it’ about it”. In that particular case, they’re referring to the 10-inch infotainment screen that they deliberately didn’t work into the dashboard.
As with the original, the new Defender features exposed door handles and door bolts, the quintessential side-bolted rear tailgate, a spare wheel on the back and a flat-top dashboard (which, in this case, is cast from magnesium alloy and is a structural part of the car). Moving the gearshifter (unfortunately not manual) to the centre console has also meant that Land Rover could equip an optional central front seat … which is a throwback to the earliest Land Rover Defenders.
From launch, the range of new Defenders on offer will be the Defender, S, SE, HSE, First Edition and X. All of these model types will come with the option of a supplementary accessory pack – Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban – which has been designed to give the car a different character, for example; Urban is more road car focused whilst Country is more suited for outdoor work.
There’s so much going on with the new Land Rover Defender that we could probably continue this article for at least another 1,000 words and we’ll be sure to bring you more very soon. If, however, you’re interested in the all-new Defender and would like to know more now, contact your local Guy Salmon Land Rover dealership below!
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