An all-new model has been a long, long time in the making, but its finally here – enter the 2020 model-year Land Rover Defender. The off-roading workhorse is now built upon the company’s D7x architecture of an all-aluminium monocoque construction, boasting a torsional rigidity of 29,000 Nm per degree, or three times more rigid than traditional body-on-frame designs, according to Land Rover.

The longer-wheelbase Defender 110 is the launch version with the Defender 90 set to follow shortly after, and while the numbers no longer approximate their respective wheelbase measurements in inches, they do however still distinguish the two in terms of dimensions and number of doors.

The 2020 Defender 110 measures 5,018 mm long including its tailgate-mounted spare wheel, wheelbase of 3,022 mm, 1,967 mm tall and 2,105 mm wide, while front and rear track widths are 1,704 mm and 1,699 mm respectively. Wading depth for the Defender 110 is 900 mm, while the approach, rampover and departure angles are 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively.

Comparatively, the 2020 Defender 90 three-door measures 4,583 mm long with its spare wheel and a wheelbase of 2,587 mm, while height is 1,969 mm on air springs and 1,974 mm on coil springs. Front track widths are 1,706 mm for air spring-equipped variants and 1,704 mm for coil-sprung versions, and rear track width is 1,702 mm for both air- and coil-sprung versions.

Wading depth for the Defender 90 is 900 mm on air springs and 850 mm on coil springs, while approach, rampover and departure angles are 38, 31 and 40 degrees respectively. The larger of the two, the D200 and D240 Defender 110 tips the scales at 2,248 kg, 2,271 kg and 2,305 kg for the five-, six- and seven-seat versions respectively, while the P300 Defender 110 weighs 2,186 kg, 2,209 kg and 2,243 kg on those counts. The 3.0 litre straight-six mild-hybrid Defender 110 weighs 2,286 kg, 2,309 kg and 2,343 kg along those lines.

The Defender 110 arrives with two diesel engines and two petrol engines. The diesels are 2.0 litre inline-four cylinder units in different states of tune, producing 200 PS or 240 PS at 4,000 rpm and an identical 430 Nm of torque at 1,400 rpm in D200 and D240 forms, respectively.

The petrol versions are represented by a P300 2.0 litre four-cylinder unit producing 300 PS at 5,500 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 1,500 rpm to 4,000 rpm, alongside a P400 3.0 litre Ingenium inline-six mild-hybrid engine producing 400 PS at 5,500 rpm and 550 Nm of torque from 2,000 rpm to 5,000 rpm. All power units are mated with an eight-speed automatic gearbox with two-speed transfer case sending drive to all four wheels, while locking centre and rear differentials are optional.

In terms of efficiency, the D200 and D240 diesels are rated for combined fuel consumption of 7.6 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of 199 g/km on the combined cycle. The P300 four-pot petrol is rated at 227 g/km for CO2 emissions, while the P400 MHEV is rated for combined fuel consumption of 9.6 l/100 km and Co2 emissions of 220 g/km; all figures are NEDC-equivalent, according to Land Rover.

Suspension for both the Defender 110 and Defender 90 are handled by SLA (short-long arms, otherwise known as unequal-length double wishbones) on the front and multi-links at the rear. These are mated to either coil springs or electronic air suspension, the latter responding to conditions at up to 500 times per second.

The air suspension setup raises the Defender by 75 mm in off-road mode, along with an additional 70 mm of lift for a total of 145 mm when required. Conversely, the Defender also has what’s called Elegant Arrival, which lowers the vehicle by 50 mm to make for easier boarding and egress. The setup has a maximum suspension articulation of 500 mm, while the Defender is also rated for 45-degree side slopes.

Terrain Response 2 now features six modes in the 2020 Defender – Normal, Mud and Ruts, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand, Rock Crawl and the latest addition, Wade. This adds to the Defender’s aforementioned water-wading capability of up to 900 mm with a setting that automatically softens throttle response, sets HVAC to recirculated air, raises ride height to the off-road setting and locks the driveline.

Alternatively, the Terrain Response 2 setup can be customised with a choice of three settings for throttle and gearbox response, steering and traction control respectively, and allows for up to four individual selection profiles to be saved. On the other hand, the Auto mode can be selected for the Terrain Response 2 setup to recognise the surface encountered and configure the Defender as required with no further input from the driver.

Payloads-wise, the Defender 110 has a rated towing capacity of 3,500 kg (3,720 kg for the US market), while the roof is capable of taking up to 168 kg in dynamic load; static roof load is rated at 300 kg. The optional remote control electric winch generates a maximum force of 4,536 kg, and comprises 40 m of synthetic rope; this can be wireless operated up to 45 m away from the vehicle for convenience and safety. The 2020 Defender’s monocoque construction can withstand 6.5 tonnes of snatch load through its recovery points, says Land Rover.

Inside, the 2020 Defender 110 holds 646 litres behind the second row up to the waistline (464 litres in the 5+2 configuration), 1,075 litres behind the second row loaded to the roofline (916 litres for the 5+2), and up to 2,380 litres with the second row seats folded, up to the roofline (2,233 litres in the 5+2); the 5+2 holds 231 litres up to the roofline with the third-row seats in place.

The 2020 Defender operates on Land Rover’s new Electronic Vehicle Architecture, or EVA 2.0 which support software over-the-air (SOTA) updates, which supports the new Pivi Pro infotainment system. This central hub controls 85 individual electronic control units (ECUs) in total, and the always-on 4G network connectivity is ready for 5G developments, also doing away with the need for dealer visits for software updates.

The Pivi Pro system is accessed via a 10-inch central touchscreen, while the customisable layouts help reduce the number of steps by an average of 50% compared to previous systems to reduce distraction, says Land Rover. Wireless device charging is included, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mobile device integration; the onboard Bluetooth system enables two smartphones to be connected at the same time.

This navigation system is self-learning and dynamic to optimise routing, and the Smart Voice guidance knows when to cancel verbal prompts when the driver is in familiar surroundings; maps will be continually updated via the SOTA system. The driver gets a 12.3-inch interactive display which can be configured for traditional instruments, full-screen 3D navigation or a combination of the two.

This is augmented by a full-colour TFT head-up display, and around-vehicle visibility is aided by a 3D Surround Camera which offers on-screen visualisation with Tow Sensing and Wade Sensing modes, and Land Rover’s Clearsight Ground View technology which enables drivers to ‘see through’ the Defender’s bonnet.

Variants fitted with the front jump seat also include the Clearsight Rear View technology which ‘removes’ the rear pillars and spare wheel from view for better rearward visibility. Further driver assistance systems include automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, cruise control and speed limiter, driver condition monitor as well as front and rear parking aids.

Audio systems start from a six-speaker setup, through to 10- and 14-speaker Meridian configurations, the latter two with a subwoofer each, with up to 700 W of amplifier power. Power for mobile devices in the Defender comes courtesy of two 12-volt and two USB outlets in each of the first two rows, and an additional USB socket and 12-volt outlet when third-row seats are fitted. The loadspace adds another 12-volt outlet, and a 230-volt domestic socket can be specified.

For added convenience, the second-generation Activity Key can be specified in addition to the standard key fobs. This wearable device now does away with the previous need for the electronic ‘handshake’ in order to lock or unlock the vehicle.

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Four accessory packs are available for the 2020 Defender – Adventure, Country, Explorer and Urban, all of which can be specified across all six trim variants, namely the base Defender, S, SE, HSE, First Edition and the top Defender X. This is also the first Land Rover model to be available from the factory with satin protective film, and can be removed at any time for easier repair than standard paint finishes.

The satin-finish wrap is polyurethane-based, solvent-free and contains no volatile organic compounds, says Land Rover. This is available on the Indus Silver, Gondwana Stone and Pangea Green paint finishes. The latter two colours are unique to the Defender, along with Tasman Blue, joined by Fuji White, Eiger Grey and Santorini Black from the standard Land Rover palette.

The 2020 Defender 110 starts from £45,240 (RM233,612) in the United Kingdom, with the Defender 90 starting from an estimated £40,000 (RM206,540). When the commercial version of the Defender 90 debuts, it is estimated to start from £35,000 (RM180,723).