2020 Land Rover Defender officially unveiled

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One of the world’s most iconic off-roaders has entered the 21st century, with the reveal of the all-new Land Rover Defender at the Frankfurt motor show.

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The reborn, revitalised 4×4 will launch in Australia and around the world in four-door 110 form. It measures in at 4758mm long, 2008mm wide and 1967mm tall with a 3022mm wheelbase – it will be available in five, six or seven seat configurations.

A shorter two-door 90 model will arrive later in 2020, measuring 4323mm long, 2008mm wide, 1967mm tall and 2587mm long in wheelbase, with a choice of five or six seats.

Though yet to be officially confirmed, a larger, 5.1m long 130 is set to arrive for the 2021 model year, with the option of an eight seat layout.

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Visually, Land Rover’s designers aimed to modernise the classic Defender’s look, without turning it into a retro special in the vein of the Volkswagen New Beetle or Fiat 500. It combines many of the original model’s styling cues – including wall-like sides, alpine roof windows, short front and rear overhangs and an external spare wheel – with modern LED lights, rounded edges and a sleek greenhouse.

12 wheel designs are on offer, with sizes ranging from 18 to 22 inches. A range of colour choices will be offered, all of which are available with an optional satin wrap that protects the paint.

Under the skin, the Defender rides on its own unique architecture dubbed ‘D7x’ (x meaning ‘extreme’), which employs an aluminium monocoque that’s reportedly three times stiffer than a traditional body-on-frame chassis.

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Notable elements of the new off-roader’s underpinnings include permanent all-wheel-drive, high and low range transfer case, locking centre differential, hill start assist and independent coil spring suspension (with air suspension available as an option). Its British maker’s ‘Terrain Response’ off-road system has been tuned specifically for use in the Defender, with a selection of pre-determined off-road modes.

Land Rover claims the 110 has 291mm of ground clearance, enabling a 38 degree approach angle, 28 degree breakover angle, 40 degree departure angle and a wading depth of 900mm.

Four engine options will be offered at launch, all paired to eight-speed automatic transmission.

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Petrol powertrains consist of the 221kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder P300 and the 297kW/550Nm 3.0-litre 48V mild-hybrid, turbocharged and supercharged inline-six P400 MHEV, while customers looking for a diesel can opt for the 147kW/430Nm D200 or 177kW/430Nm D240, both 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinders.

The range will be bolstered by a P400e PHEV in 2020, which will likely pair a 2.0-litre turbocharged inline-four with an electric motor for a 297kW total output and 49km all-electric range.

Inside, the Defender has entered the 21st century in terms of technology, with a 10.0-inch touchscreen located in the centre of the dash debuting JLR’s latest Pivi Pro infotainment system. Drivers look into a head-up display and an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster – there’s also wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Bluetooth system capable of connecting to two devices at once.

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By relocating the gear shifter and other infotainment controls to the main dashboard, Land Rover has managed to fit a centre ‘jump seat’ between the two front passengers. To aid visibility, a digital rear-view mirror is available, which replaces the traditional mirror with the view from a camera located in the rear tailgate.

Boot space is claimed at 646L – with all seats in place and measuring to the top of the rear-seat backrest – which expands to 2380L with the second row folded flat.

The base boot floor is rubberised and has flush-fitting sills, although carpets are available for buyers who don’t want to hose their cars out regularly.

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The Defender will be offered with four different accessory packages, each skewed at different driving styles and lifestyles:

  1. The Explorer Pack includes a 26kg rood rack, side-mounted storage conpartment, classic mudflaps, wheel-arch protectors, spare wheel cover and a black bonnet decal.
  2. The Adventure Pack adds a pressurised water tank, boot-mounted air compressor, side-mounted storage compartment, mudflaps, spare wheel cover, rear scuff plate and a matching backpack.
  3. The Country Pack brings wheel-arch protectors, rear scuff plate, classic mudflaps, portable rinsing system and a load partition.
  4. The Urban Pack gets a rear scuff plate, spare wheel cover, front bash plate and large alloy wheels.

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The 2020 Land Rover Defender will make its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show this week, ahead of its Australian market launch in June 2020 with a starting price of around $70,000.

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