2020 Land Rover Defender 110 review: Tough guy’s got a softer side

It’s going to take you nearly wherever.

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“I by no means drove it on pavement.” That is the very first thing Emme Corridor advised me when she bought again from testing the 2020 Land Rover Defender in Africa earlier this yr — , again when touring was nonetheless a factor. Certainly, Emme’s weeklong safari via Namibia put the Defender’s spectacular off-road chops within the highlight. However as I found over the course of some days at dwelling in Los Angeles, the Defender’s a rattling superb SUV for city life, too.


  • Unstoppable off-road means
  • Traditional fashion with a contemporary contact
  • A number of room for passengers and cargo
  • Punchy 3.0-liter mild-hybrid I6

Do not Like

  • New infotainment tech remains to be touch-and-go
  • Imprecise steering really feel
  • Poor gasoline financial system

After all, I am printing that alongside a bunch of images of a grimy Defender that had been clearly shot at an off-road park. However like, how may I not off-road this factor? I will let Emme’s first drive review get into the nitty-gritty particulars about how Land Rover’s new SUV handles the tough stuff, although I’ll say the Defender had no bother dealing with the identical tough trails I recently drove in a Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel, and all I needed to do was elevate the air suspension and shuffle via the assorted off-road modes.

The primary spherical of Defenders to hit the US would be the four-door 110 model seen right here; the two-door 90 arrives in the coming months, and it will have a 2021 mannequin yr designation. Personally, I am all concerning the 90, principally as a result of I’ve bought a mushy spot for stubby, two-door SUVs. The 110, in the meantime, is definitely bigger than you might think. It has an imposing presence on the road and my first thought upon climbing inside is, wow, this is roomy.

The Defender will get Land Rover’s new Pivi Professional infotainment system, housed on a high-resolution, 10-inch show atop the middle stack. You have bought entry to the entire Defender’s off-road settings in right here, in addition to navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Mixed with the digital gauge cluster, the Defender’s tech sport is powerful. However whereas the Pivi Professional system is mostly simpler to make use of and extra engaging than Land Rover’s previous InControl tech, it nonetheless suffers from the identical laggy response instances and occasional refusal to acknowledge my iPhone and cargo CarPlay.

My Defender SE take a look at automotive’s cloth-lined seats are super-supportive and nice for masking lengthy distances in consolation. Total, the Defender’s inside is purposeful however properly appointed, with fabric-lined panels on the dashboard and tough-looking uncovered screws on the doorways. This sturdy look is an effective factor; I really feel so much higher about trekking mud inside a Defender than I do a leather-wrapped Mercedes-Benz G-Class. The rubber-lined footwells and cargo space converse to this down-and-dirty nature, too. Certain, you possibly can possibility a Defender with nicer upholstery like Dinamica suede in order for you, however I do not, so there.

The cabin is handsomely styled, and Land Rover’s new Pivi Professional infotainment tech is housed on a 10-inch display screen.

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You will get the Defender with three rows of seats, one thing Land Rover calls its “five-plus-two” possibility. You lose a little bit of cargo house when you go this route, however when you persist with the five-passenger configuration, there is a most of 78.Eight cubic ft of cargo house behind the primary row, although do word that the side-hinged tailgate swings out to the aspect, so watch out when backing into parking areas. Talking of hauling, no matter wheelbase size or engine measurement, the Defender can tow 8,200 kilos.

The Defender’s base engine is a 2.0-liter turbo I4 with 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, however I’ve bought the upgraded 3.0-liter I6, which makes use of turbocharging and mild-hybrid electrical help to supply 395 hp and 406 lb-ft. This MHEV I6 is identical one Land Rover presents within the Range Rover Sport and it is an actual peach of an engine, with numerous low-end torque and a refined stop-start system. Nevertheless, with EPA gasoline financial system rankings of 17 miles per gallon metropolis, 22 mpg freeway and 19 mpg mixed, even with mild-hybrid help, it is not precisely a fuel-sipper.

Mixed with a smooth-shifting, eight-speed automated transmission and full-time all-wheel drive, Land Rover says the three.0-liter Defender 110 can speed up to 60 mph in 5.Eight seconds, which is fairly rattling fast for a 5,000-pound SUV. You actually really feel that punch from behind the wheel, too. Lay into the throttle whereas heading up a freeway on-ramp and you will be effectively above the posted velocity restrict earlier than it is even time to merge. Not that I might know something about that, natch.

Good tires and a properly tuned air suspension maintain the Defender rocking regular irrespective of the terrain.

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The usual adaptive air suspension does an amazing job of absorbing pavement blemishes and retains the large Defender from feeling tippy or wallowy at velocity. There’s not loads of front-end dive beneath arduous braking, and whereas I do not actually suggest throwing one in every of these butch bois into a good nook, the Defender is surprisingly agile. It is a nicer freeway cruiser than a G-Class, and 20 instances higher than a Jeep Wrangler. My solely gripe is that the off-road tires spec’d to this automotive as a part of the $1,345 Off-Highway Pack are slightly loud. Give and take, I suppose.

An entire bunch of driver-assistance tech makes every day life with the Defender simpler. The mid-level SE trim comes normal with a 3D encompass digicam, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping help, visitors signal recognition and even nifty novelties like tech that’ll inform you if a automotive or pedestrian is approaching once you’re parked so you do not inadvertently open your door and trigger a crash. Weirdly, full-speed adaptive cruise management stays an possibility, so be ready to spend an additional $1,020 if that is in your want record.

Pricing begins at $51,250 (together with $1,350 for vacation spot) for a base 110 and may stretch into the mid-$90,000s for a totally loaded Defender X. The total vary of shorter-wheelbase Defender 90 fashions will hit sellers quickly, and a base, two-door mannequin begins at $47,470 delivered.

Nice on-road, nice off-road.

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Land Rover is well providing numerous completely different add-on packages that may make your Defender as luxurious or as off-road-ready as you need, they usually’re accessible throughout the entire lineup. As examined, my generously outfitted 2020 Defender 110 SE prices $72,180 together with vacation spot. Contemplating you possibly can possibility a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon effectively above $60,000, that does not strike me as too dangerous of a deal. The Mercedes G-Class begins at greater than $130,000, although it is a lot nicer inside whereas being each bit as succesful (maybe extra) off-road. The Ford Bronco can be a worthy adversary for the Defender, too, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a yr or so away from hitting sellers.

I’ve heard folks complain that the brand new Defender’s misplaced a few of the appeal of the previous variations, however what they actually imply is, it is not a loud, bouncy, ache within the ass to stay with on the every day. The brand new Defender is each bit as succesful as its predecessor, however lastly goes via ending faculty. Even when you by no means take it off the overwhelmed path, this new Land Rover is bound to impress.

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Steven Ewing