Everything to Know About the 2020 Land Rover Defender

September 11, 2019 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

Jaguar Land Rover is bringing a newly designed Land Rover Defender back to the U.S. after more than a 20-year absence.

The British automaker unveiled the new model at the Frankfurt Auto Show Tuesday. Here’s what fans will want to know about the 2020 Land Rover Defender.

ON SALE DATE AND PRICE

Land Rover will put the 2020 Defender on sale in the second quarter of 2020. The price starts at $49,900 for the P300 powertrain designation with a 2-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged engine. There’s also a fancier version with P300 powertrain that starts $53,350.

The P400 designation has a 3-liter, inline six-cylinder engine. That model starts at $62,250 and rises to $80,900. These prices don’t include the $1,025 delivery fee.

The model lineup comprises the Defender, S, SE, HSE, First Edition and top-of-the-range Defender X trims. 

STYLING

This is not the rugged-looking Defender that Land Rover retired from all markets in 2016.

“The new Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it,” said Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover. “This is a new Defender for a new age.”

The Defender maintains its trademark side-hinged rear door. But now the spare tire will hang off the rear hatch.

2020 Land Rover Defender

2020 Land Rover Defender

Although still boxy, the body is less angular and offers some rounded edges. It no longer looks like the military and farm vehicle that garnered the Defender so many fans.

The new Defender will be available in 90 and 110 body designs, with up to six seats in the 90 and the option of five, six or 5+2 seating in the 110.

POWERTRAINS

In the U.S. customers will choose between a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, badged P300, and a six-cylinder Mild-Hybrid Electric Vehicle powertrain, badged P400.

The P300 powertrain produces up to 296 horsepower. It will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds.

The P400 uses a hybrid system to capture energy lost during braking and use to improve performance. The inline six-cylinder engine has both a conventional twin-scroll turbocharger and an advanced 48-volt electric supercharger. A belt-integrated starter motor replaces the alternator to assist the gasoline engine under acceleration, while the 48-volt lithium-ion battery stores energy captured as the vehicle slows. In combination, the system produces up to 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The 0 to 60 mph acceleration is in 5.8 seconds.

2020 Land Rover Defender

2020 Land Rover Defender

Both engines are mated to an 8-speed ZF-designed automatic transmission.

CAPACITY 

Depending on the configuration, the new Defender can haul a maximum payload of up to 1,984 pounds. It has a towing capacity of 8,201 pounds and a maximum dynamic roof load of 370 pounds.

CAPABILITY

Automated systems take the place of many of the mechanical systems that made the old Defender such a competent off-roader. But Land Rover has promised that the new model is just as capable. 

“The new Defender gives us the license to do things differently, to push the boundaries and do the unthinkable, without ever losing the character and authenticity of the original,” said Nick Rogers, executive director, product engineering, Jaguar Land Rover. “The result is not only the most capable Land Rover ever made, but also a truly comfortable, modern vehicle that people will love to drive.”

Designers lifted the Defender’s body structure by almost an inch compared to the other large SUVs in Land Rover’s lineup. It also relocated the battery and cooling circuits to create front and rear overhangs. The wheelbase is 119 inches. That’s almost 4 inches longer than the Land Rover Discovery. 

2020 Land Rover Defender

2020 Land Rover Defender

The new body architecture provides ground clearance of 11.5 inches. The height improved off-road geometry. The Defender 110 has approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees. The short rear overhang results from mounting the spare wheel externally, rather than under the rear floor.

INDEPENDENT SUSPENSION

The Defender offers fully-independent suspension, a twin-speed transfer box and permanent four-wheel drive. The optional Configurable Terrain Response allows drivers to fine-tune the vehicle to match off-road conditions.

Drivers also can prevent cross-axle slip using the Center Slip Limited and Center and Rear Slip Limited options on the central touchscreen controller. Also, there is a choice of three settings for the throttle and gearbox response, steering and traction control. They allow experienced off-roaders and novices to tailor the vehicle to their driving abilities. 

The Defender is also the first Land Rover vehicle to feature a standard Wade Sensing program. The new setting is designed to soften throttle response automatically, set the heating and ventilation to recirculate cabin air, locks the driveline and adjusts the ride height to its off-road setting while activating the Wade Sensing screen on the infotainment system. This gives the driver the depth of water under the vehicle. The vehicle has a maximum wading depth of 35.4 inches. 

Jerry Hirsch September 10, 2019
Fledging electric truck company Rivian landed a $350 million investment from Cox Automotive as it moves toward producing a line of electric pickups and SUVs.

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