- the 2020 land rover defender resumes the vaunted off-road capabilities that made its predecessors so legendary.
- its sturdy drivetrain and new-age technology help make the latest defender the most capable land rover in years.
- the all-new defender even outdoes the jeep wrangler with higher ground clearance, deeper water-fording ability, and larger breakover and departure angles.
now that land rover has resurrected one of its most recognizable models with the all-new 2020 defender—and returned it to the u.s.—the retro-meets-rugged suv looks to take up the torch of its legendary off-road forefathers.
the 21st-century defender ditches some of the equipment that made its ancestors essentially bulletproof. that means no more body-on-frame construction and no solid front and rear axles. however, land rover claims the new defender's all-aluminum architecture gives it the stiffest body in company history. it also features obligatory off-road equipment such as permanent all-wheel drive, locking differentials, and a two-speed transfer case.
the 2020 model rides on a fully independent suspension that has standard coil springs or optional air bags. the latter provides adjustable ride heights and can automatically lower the defender by about 2 inches for easy access and raise it by as much as 5.7 inches for traversing treacherous landscapes.
its short front and rear overhangs create a notable approach angle (38 degrees), departure angle (40 degrees), and breakover angles of 31 degrees on the two-door defender 90 and 28 degrees on the four-door 110 model. for comparison, all but its approach angle are steeper than comparable jeep wranglers.
with 11.5 inches of maximum ground clearance, the defender has a bigger gap between the ground than the jeep wrangler rubicon's 10.8 inches. it can also ford through 35.4 inches of water versus the jeep's 30-inch maximum. these liquid excursions are made easier by the the rover's first-ever wade sensing drive mode that is part of the available terrain response 2 system.
the program automatically locks the driveline, raises the ride height, softens the throttle response, and displays an image of the depth of the surrounding water on the center infotainment screen. wade mode will also drag the brakes to dry the rotors in order to quickly recover braking capability when exiting the program.
land rover supplies the 2020 defender with other high-tech wizardry, including all-terrain progress control and clearsight ground view. these cool-sounding features both help maintain a low crawl speed as well as feed an image of the ground in front of the defender to its 10.0-inch central touchscreen. likewise, drivers can set their preferred off-road settings using the new configurable terrain response system that's controlled through the same screen.
the all-new defender features an advanced tow assist that basically makes it easier to reverse when a trailer is hooked up. by only using a rotary knob on the center console, drivers can more easily steer the trailer backwards. the defender is also rated to tow a hair over 8200 pounds, which out-pulls the wrangler by 4700 pounds and jeep gladiator pickup truck by 550.
of course, the defender lineup can be outfitted with several different accessory packages and a smorgasbord of individual add-ons. the most notable of these include a snorkel air intake, side-mounted cargo carrier, portable rinsing system, integrated air compressor, and even a rooftop tent apparatus.
with all these noteworthy capabilities and advanced technologies, the 2020 land rover defender appears to be a legitimate follow-up to one of the most beloved off-roaders of all time. it'll hit u.s. showrooms in spring 2020, with the four-door defender 110 starting at $50,925 and the shorter 90 model arriving later in the year at a currently unspecified price.