Some cars are just plain iconic, and so expectations for the 2020 Land Rover Defender have been understandably high. Making its long-anticipated debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show 2019 earlier today, the all-new SUV will come in 2020 Defender 90 three-door and 2020 Defender 110 five-door versions, with plenty of off-roading ability.
It’s certainly distinctive. Land Rover’s designers have given the new 2020 Defender a futuristic-retro look, likely to prove controversial with enthusiasts, though the slab-sided aesthetic and externally-mounted spare wheel can’t really be mistaken for anything other than this SUV classic. Underneath is Land Rover’s new D7x platform, a lightweight aluminium monocoque.
2020 Defender 90 and 110
Tell us, do you want three doors or five? Land Rover will be eventually offering both a Defender 90 and a Defender 110. The Defender 110 will come in Defender, S, SE, HSE, X and First Edition versions.
It’ll be offered in 5/6, or 5+2 seating form, the former having an optional jump seat and the latter a third row of two smaller seats. As for the Defender 90, that will come in 5/6 seat form with the jump seat fitted as standard.
2020 Defender design
Short overhangs, crisp lines, and plenty of attitude. Land Rover has pulled no punches with the new Defender, but there’s more to the new SUV than meets the eye. For a start, it’s the first of the automaker’s cars to be offered with an optional factory-fitted Satin Protective Film, a PU-based wrap that’s designed to be easier to repair than regular paint should it get too scratched.
Exterior colours will include Fuji White, Eiger Grey, Santorini Black, Indus Silver, Tasman Blue, Pangea Green, and Gondwana Stone. There’ll be 12 wheel designs, from 18-inch pressed steel rims to 22-inch alloys. A retractable full-length fabric sunroof will be available from launch on the Defender 90, and added as an option on the Defender 110 from the MY21, while floating pillars will be standard on the 110 and optional on the 90.
Land Rover will have a wide range of accessories, but also offer four accessory packs – Explorer, Adventure, Country, and Urban – that each check off a matching selection of options. The Explorer pack, for example, will have a roof rack, mud flaps, and a raised air intake; the Adventure pack gets an air compressor on the boot, and a gear carrier on the sides.
The Country pack, meanwhile, has beefier wheel arch protection, a rear scuff plate, and an interior rinse system, among other changes, while finally the Urban pack gets slicker alloy wheels and more brightwork on the outside. As standard, the new Defender has a rubber floor with flush-fitting sills, so that it can be easily cleaned.
2020 Defender engines
There’ll be two drivetrains initially, the P300 and P400. One is a mild-hybrid, and both versions will get paired with permanent all-wheel drive.
At South African launch expected in the first half of 2020, the 110 line-up will include a powerful 3.0-litre straight six-cylinder P400 featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology with outputs of 294kW and 550Nm. Alternatively, customers can choose a 2.0-litre D240 turbodiesel with 177kW and 430Nm. The introduction of increased engine options, along with the short wheelbase 90 derivative, will follow later in 2020.
2020 Defender cabin and technology
Land Rover’s cabin for the new SUV is a mixture of familiar tech from its Range Rover line, combined with styling elements of classic Defenders. There’s a die-cast magnesium alloy beam spanning it, with integrated grab handles, and many of the structural features are visible through the trim.
Fabric and leather surfaces are available, depending on model, along with a choice of wood veneers and powder-coated metal.
The new PIVI Pro infotainment system uses Snapdragon processors and supports OTA software updates; there’s an optional Online Pack which includes unlimited data for music streaming, weather updates, and calendar sync. WiFi hotspot functionality is optional. It’s all controlled through a 10-inch central touchscreen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard; PIVI Pro can connect via Bluetooth to two devices simultaneously.
The standard 180W, six-speaker audio system can be upgraded to either a 400W 10-speaker or 700W 14-speaker Meridian system. There are two 12V outlets and two USB in the front, as well as for the second row, while those Defenders with third row seats get a USB and a 12V. The trunk has another 12V outlet and, optionally, a 120V outlet.
The driver gets a 12.3-inch display for the gages, with 3D mapping and customizable layouts. A second-gen full-color HUD is optional, as is ClearSight Ground View “transparent hood” technology for a view right in front of the SUV. Any Defender with the jump seat gets a ClearSight Rear View mirror as standard, which can beam a view from a rear-mounted camera to a display in the mirror housing.
Unfortunately, pricing on the 2020 Defender has not been made available for South Africa as yet, however our team estimates that the 2020 Defender 110 will start at R750 000 for the Defender P300, rising to R790 000 for the Defender S P300. The 2020 Defender SE P400 will be from R920 000, while the HSE trim starting at R1 100 000 and the First Edition from R1 200 000. The top-spec 2020 Defender X P400 will be from R1 250 000.