Bringing an end to countless spy shots, speculations and teasers, the 2020 Land Rover Defender has been finally unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show in a completely new avatar. The off-roader looks familiar with the boxy proportions as that of the original, which ceased production in 2016 after 68 years since it was first introduced. Land Rover says the iconic SUV has been reimagined for the 21st century and is clever, capable and safe for all the family, making it a lot more versatile than its predecessor, and aims to widen the Defender's appeal across segments.
The all-new Land Rover Defender is based on an all-new aluminium-intensive platform called the D7x, and the automaker says that its monocoque construction is the stiffest body structure to be ever produced by the firm. It is three times stiffer than the body-on-frame chassis, says the company. The profile is reminiscent of the original Defender, while the front takes inspiration from the DC100 concept that was showcased way back in 2011. The design language exudes a rugged appearance, while the familiarity extends to the Alpine windows in the roof and a spare wheel mounted on the side-hinged tailgate. LR also says the off-roader still remains open to personalisation to make the most of it.
Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover, said, "The new Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it. This is a new Defender for a New Age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable - a visually compelling 4x4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment."
Much like the Jeep Wrangler, the Land Rover Defender also comes with exposed hinges and fixings for the rugged look and practicality, and you get better space management with the dash-mounted gear shifter to accommodate the optional central front jump seat, which provides three-abreast seating across the front like early Land Rovers. The SUV also comes with rubberised flooring, optional full-length folding fabric roof for an open-top feel.
The new-generation Land Rover will be initially offered in the long-wheelbase 110 version with five doors, and can be had in five, six or seven-seater options. There's also the short-wheelbase three-door 90 variant that will be available by the end of this year, while there is also a larger 130 variant scheduled for a debut sometime next year with an even larger eight-seater option.
The 2020 Land Rover Defender will be available in a range of 2.0-litre and 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines. There's also a plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powertrain on the P400 variant that will join the line-up next year. All versions will come paired with 8-speed automatic transmission with a twin-speed transfer box that offers low-range ratios for towing and off-roading duties. The clever engineering has also helped optimise the aerodynamic performance on the Defender with a drag co-efficient of 0.38 Cd. The SUV gets a fully independent air or coil sprung suspension and is supported by an array of electronic systems.
Inside, the all-new Defender gets a functional looking cabin with the exposed magnesium cross beam that incorporates the grab handles for those climbing aboard. It will also be handy during off-roading. The functional look though comes with all the best modern tech wizardry including Land Rover's latest infotainment system - Pivi Pro - which comes with a 10-inch touchscreen display, smartphone app integration. A 12.3-inch digital instrument console is standard across the range and all versions will get over-the-air upgrades. The SUV will also get the second generation activity key from the automaker, which is a wrist device that allows owners to leave the main key in the vehicle, a feature that will be handy when exploring the surroundings during off-road excursions. There's also the ClearSight Ground View that shows what's immediately ahead of the car during off-roading, and the usual Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
The new Land Rover Defender also comes with the Terrain Response 2 system that allows drivers to set-up the vehicle, specific to road and weather conditions. A fresh wade programme also increases the SUV's ride height via the air suspension, closes the air vents for recirculation to minimise moisture entering the cabin.
The all-new Land Rover Defender has undergone over 62,000 tests for engineering, while the body architecture had to withstand the automaker's extreme Event Test procedure. With over 1.2 million km under its belt, the SUV has seen the harshest deserts and the coldest temperatures across the world with altitudes of 10,000 ft. Land Rover is also offering a total of 170 accessories on the Defender, for those who want to further add a personal touch to the SUV. The manufacturer has said that the Defender will be sold in 128 markets globally, and while it's not confirmed if India is part of that list, we do expect to see the Defender being launched in the country, albeit only next year.