What is it?
SUVs have become all the rage and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Among the many there are some original gangsters and one of the most original is Land Rover. It’s been making SUVs for 70 years now and has become a part of modern motoring folklore thanks to its presence in action movies, theatres of war and basically anywhere you would think twice about going due to the terrain. It’s a rich history then and what you see in the pictures is the latest iteration of one its most iconic offerings. Yes we are talking about the 2020 Land Rover Defender which has finally made its way to the Indian shores for the first time.
The Land Rover Defender has its origins in the Series 1 Land Rover that was launched in 1948 and had stayed more or less the same in terms of appeal. The Defender name was added in 1983 continued with various upgrades until 2016 where the previous generation was signed off with a V8 powered model. This new car was showcased as the DC100 concept in 2011 with this production spec model being launched globally earlier this year.
How is it on the outside?
Keeping true to the heritage of the vehicle, Land Rover has retained the boxy silhouette of the range but with elements from its latest design language to bring the Defender name plate into the modern era. Highlights of the fascia comprise the large Defender badging adorning the bonnet, full LED headlamps and semi-circular LED DRLs. A subtle throwback to its heritage is this mesh like pattern in the lower half of the grille. Its pattern bears a similarity to the mesh grille that was placed over the face of the Series 1 Land Rover.
In profile you can see the full extent of the Defender’s boxy silhouette thanks to its straight-edged roofline, flared wheel arches and flat shoulder line. In a vehicle of this size, purpose wheels play a very important role and so the India spec car can be had with nine different wheel designs in sizes ranging from 18-inches to 20-inches. If alloys aren’t your thing, you can even go for some very cool looking old school white coloured steel wheels that were a common sight on Land Rovers of the yore. Finally, the rear is boxy too with a rectangular frame, vertically stacked tail lamps and a rear door mounted spare wheel to complete the go anywhere SUV look.
Land Rover is also offering four accessory packs for the Defender Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban. As their names suggest, each one represents a facet of the Defender’s go anywhere ability and you get accessories for the SUV accordingly.
How is it on the inside?
Step inside the cabin of the new Defender and you are welcomed by a blocky yet familiar space. Like the exterior, it’s a blend of classic Defender design mixed with modern elements of the latest Land Rover design language. The dashboard is dominated by this large rectangular element that encloses both the touchscreen infotainment system and the instrument cluster. The gear lever and climate control system are attached to the centre console via separate bit of in-car real estate as was the case with Defenders of the past.
The cabin itself is a mix of chunky elements like this large steering wheel, the rectangular dashboard as well as these visible bolts on the bits of the centre console. Initial impressions point to more than sufficient space for the front occupants in terms of headroom, legroom and shoulder room. It’s a similar story at the back too with sufficient space for two. The centre occupant will not be short of space on the seat but will have to contend with lesser leg room due to the centre air con vents.
The seats split and fold in a 40:20:40 ratio for all variants. Buyers can also specify an optional third row which is only available for the 110 variants.This being a Land Rover, you can get the interiors as well as the leather upholstery in a variety of colours and trims.
The feature list is pretty comprehensive as you get multi-zone climate control, air quality sensor, power seats, 360 degree parking aid with 3D surround camera, Merdian Sound system, cruise control, multiple airbags, TPMS and a heated steering wheel.
What’s under the hood?
The new Defender is being offered in India with a 2.0-litre petrol producing 296bhp and 400NM of torque with an eight-speed automatic doing transmission duties. In addition, you get Land Rover’s Terrain Reponse system for AWD duties with the Terrain Response 2 being offered as standard for the top-spec models as well as specific packs. The off-road ability is further expanded with a two-speed transfer case, hill descent and launch control as well as an electronic active differential with torque vectoring. Put simply, with so much kit, it is highly unlikely that the Defender will ever leave you stranded if you are banking on its go-anywhere abilities.
On a separate note, this is the first ever Defender to move from a body-on-frame design to a unibody construction falling in line with the rest of the Land Rover and Range Rover family.We will be able to give you a full review of the Defender’s off-road ability once we get a chance to put it through its paces both on the road as well as off it too!
What about pricing?
The Defender can be had two size designations- 90 and 110. The former is 4.5-metres in length and three doors only while the latter is 5.0-metres in length and five-door only. Both are being offered across five variants each and only with the 2.0-litre petrol engine. The Defender 90 range starts at Rs 80.79 lakh to Rs 94.01 lakh (on-road Delhi) for the top-spec limited run First Edition models. The Defender 110 range starts at Rs 88.33 lakh and tops out at 1.01 crore (on-road Delhi) for the top-of-the-line HSE variant. For all the details on the Defender range do visit www.carwale.com
Photos: Kaustubh Gandhi