It’s been a long time since we first heard news that Land Rover was reviving the legendary Defender name. But after a bit of skepticism and rumour, ladies and gentlemen, here it is, in all of its axle flexing glory.
Sat on white steel wheels, both the 90 and the longer wheelbase 110 both use the “purpose-engineered” D7x platform which is, according to Land Rover, 95% new. The ladder frame has been thrown to the dogs and in its place sits an aluminium monocoque, lifted to new heights by either independent air suspension or coil springs.
Ground clearance sits at 291mm, it can wade to 900mm, and can traverse approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 29, and 40 degrees. And while it has lost the iconic ladder framing that made old Defenders so easy to work on, this new monocoque is three times as rigid.
If that wasn’t enough, Land Rover has implemented its new Configurable Terrain Response system into the boxy structure of the Defender. This allows everything to be changed depending on what it’s up against, such as throttle response, traction control, and the ability to cycle through the many differential settings it has to offer. If that sounds like too much to think about while you focus on your farm or green lane, then you can just shove it in auto and let the car do all the difficult choices.
In fact, this car is almost intelligent enough to make you dinner after you get home. For example, if you’ve been enjoying being able to wade in almost a metre’s depth of water, then automatic Wade Sensing will drag the brakes for you very slightly to dry them off before you need them again. Inside, you’ll find a 10-inch infotainment system to guide you through all of its tech-savvy features.
But don’t fret, the Defender hasn’t lost its function before form upbringing. It has rubber flooring with flush fitting sills so you can simply brush out any mud and dirt, and with several accessory packs available – Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban – there’s a spec for just about anything that can be thrown at it.
But luxury is something that new car owners have grown accustomed to, so of course it comes with a myriad of technology to turn a long motorway drive into a treat. The seats are heated and powered, it has cruise control, dual-zone climate control, phone connectivity, and a ClearSight GroundView camera. A mild-hybrid could be on its way, too. If you’re wanting a bare bones off-roader, this is not that. But if you wanted that, then you’d just get an old Defender anyway.
The 110 range starts at only £45,240 for the bottom spec diesel, the 90 – my personal favourite – will start at £40,000, and the Defender Commercial will start at £35,000 +VAT.
Guys, I think they’ve pulled it off, because now I’m yearning for a Defender and I don’t even own a farm.