After a four-year hiatus, the Defender has returned!
The Defender, a staple in the Land Rover lineup, is finally making a return after being dormant since 2016. The all-new 2020 Defender was slated to hit the streets this spring, but coronavirus-related factory closures delayed production. But now, the new Defender has finally made it to Turo!
The original Defender, if you count the model as a continuation of the Series Land Rovers, was produced nonstop from 1948 to 2016. As one of the oldest 4x4s, the Defender is an off-road icon — it could take any terrain you threw at it, which is why it was used by explorers, farmers, and outdoors people for decades (keep in mind that off-roading is prohibited on Turo).
Just like the old model, the new Defender comes in two sizes: the Defender 90 and the Defender 110. The 90 has only two doors, while the 110 has an extended wheelbase to accommodate a second row of doors. Darren’s 2020 Land Rover Defender is a 110, which comes with better standard features like air suspension, allowing for improved handling and the ability to raise and lower the vehicle while off road.
The 2020 Defender uses an all-new unibody chassis and ditches the old body-on-frame construction used since 1990 for a completely new design. Both models come stock with some beefy 18-inch alloy wheels — couple that with an adventurous 4WD drive system with locking differentials, and it’ll be ready to take on the wilderness.
This Defender has the standard 296-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but it’s also available with a 395-horsepower V6 with a mild hybrid system, which uses reclaimed kinetic energy to power an electric supercharger. But don’t hold your breath for particularly thrifty mileage numbers, no matter which drivetrain.
In addition to the various trim levels, Land Rover offers four accessory packages with the Defender. They call these the Urban Pack, Country Pack, Adventure Pack, and Explorer Pack. Each includes cool features like storage boxes, a raised air intake, and LED headlights, among all sorts of other features.
The original Land Rover Defender never went heavy on luxury, as it was designed as a rugged work truck. As someone who went on an adventure in a fleet of classic Defenders, I can say definitively that the new Defender has come a long way. The new version comes with a bumping infotainment system, the Jaguar Land Rover Pivi Pro, which includes a 10-inch touchscreen and all the fancy accessories you’d expect from a modern luxury SUV. Gone are the springy bench seats of the old Defenders — they have been replaced by lovely modern seats that make the ride that much more comfortable.
The Defender 110 has a distinct advantage over the 90 when it comes to space. Its four-door body style means more legroom and a front center console for storage. However, both have the same amount of cargo space in the trunk area.
In this segment of adventurous, go-anywhere 4x4s, the Jeep Wrangler is the model to beat. But since the Defender 110 starts at $50,000, one could argue that more people are cross-shopping the Mercedes G-Wagen, or more likely, other Land Rovers. In the LR lineup, the Defender is the model designed to be the most capable and durable.
As ever, now is a fantastic time to take a road trip to somewhere remote. With the 2020 Land Rover Defender slowly starting to trickle into the United States, you can get the best of both worlds when it comes to luxury and adventure. It will be interesting to see how the Defender affects the rest of the market (hello Ford Bronco!) and if there will be a push for even more all-terrain luxury vehicles, but only time will tell.