Return of a legend
Although Jaguar Land Rover took quite a knock due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they are expecting the market to bounce back to a position where the premium segment will only be down by about 30%. There has actually been a surprising amount of interest in the Defender and that interest has not been dampened by the pandemic.
Unveiled to the world in September last year, the new Defender has finally landed in South Africa, launched to SA consumers during a gala online video event hosted by Land Rover ambassadors from around the world.
The designers at Land Rover must have had an extremely challenging time trying to bring the new Defender to life, having a hardcore fan base of the original block-on-wheels Defender and the desire of a new, more modern version needed by today’s consumers.
Styled for life
What we are going to get in the coming weeks is the culmination of nearly a decade of design and engineering; a mish-mash of old styling cues and modern technology that will give the Defender brand a new lease on life.
Staying true to the line up that was offered from year dot, buyers will be able to get the new Defender in two guises, the 90 will be for the three-door version and 110 for the five-door version.
Now although there are plenty of styling nods to the original, there is nothing remotely original about the new Defender. Everything is new from the ground up; gone is the old steel ladder-frame chassis and in its place is an aluminium D7 monocoque chassis derived from the Discovery, as well as aluminium body panels.
Some nods to previous models are items like the side-hinge drear door and the spare wheel mounted to the rear door. New technology such as Matrix LED headlights and LED taillights bring the new Defender up to current times.
Engineered for the toughest
Underneath, the well known solid axles are gone, replaced with air suspension and an E-Diff system that makes utilizing the 4×4 system across all types of terrain a cinch. The range of Ingenium engines fitted to the Defender ensure that you can have as little or as much power as you wish.
The inside of the new Defender is a remarkably stylish place to be. Its hard-wearing surfaces, leather and cloth seats (that are heated across all three rows) easy-to-clean surfaces, and open fasteners make it a fantastic place to adventure from.
When it comes to electrical technology, LandRover has not shied away and has crammed as much of their current tech into the Defender as they could.
Up-front in the open dash, there is a 12-inch touchscreen that controls the Meridian Audio infotainment but also hosts the 3D camera system, 4×4 control system and ClearSight system. If the rear observation is obscured you can turn on the rear-view camera that appears in the rear-view mirror to get a view of what’s behind you.
Rands and Cents
You will be able to spec your Defender with a selection of accessory packs for want of a better word. There is the Adventure pack, the Country pack, the Explorer pack and the Urban pack. Each one caters to a specific lifestyle element that will gear the vehicle to its owner’s needs.
The new Defender’s pricing starts at just a smidge under a million rand and climbs to just shy of 1.4 million for the higher-end First Edition derivatives. Adding the various packs and specifying one to your exact liking will see that price climb exponentially, so be careful what you add. Due to the absolute smorgasbord of options available, it is very difficult to nail down a comprehensive price list for the extensive range but we have a list of the base prices below.
|Defender 110 177kW D240||R1 050 100|
|Defender 110 177kW D240 S||R1 096 100|
|Defender 110 177kW D240 SE||R1 155 600|
|Defender 110 177kW D240 HSE||R1 259 800|
|Defender 110 177kW D240 First Edition||R1 260 600|
|Defender 110 221kW P300 Standard||R1 050 100|
|Defender 110 221kW P300 S||R1 096 100|
|Defender 110 221kW P300 SE||R1 155 600|
|Defender 110 221kW P300 HSE||R1 259 800|
|Defender 110 294kW P400||R1 187 000|
|Defender 110 294kW P400 S||R1 224 200|
|Defender 110 294kW P400 SE||R1 286 700|
|Defender 110 294kW P400 HSE||R1 387 900|
|Defender 110 294kW P400 First Edition||R1 377 100|
|Defender 110 294kW P400 X||R1 574 500|
|*Including VAT, excluding CO2|