The six-cylinder mild-hybrid is the powertrain of choice.
The Land Rover Defender is officially back. It's been over two decades since the off-roader had a presence in the local market, and the all-new model will be offered here in both two- and four-door configurations. While other models in the brand's stable like the Range Rover Evoque and Velar are more style-conscious offerings for buyers who only ever take their Land Rovers to the grocery store, the Defender's retro, boxy proportions, and more rugged interior are likely to find appeal with true off-road enthusiasts.
Simon Turner, the product manager for Land Rover in the US, sat down with us at the 2019 LA Auto Show to share more detail about this key new offering, as well as what he believes will be the specification most likely to find favor with buyers.
Two powertrains will be offered: a 296-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four and a 3.0-liter turbo mild-hybrid six-cylinder producing 395 hp. "We think the six-cylinder will be the most popular engine," said Turner, who acknowledged that the four-pot is also expected to perform well. Trim levels range from the Base at just under $50,000 to the X at over $80,000, but Turner sees the sweet spot being in the middle of the range with the SE which, when equipped with a few options, will come in at around $65k.
The diversity of trim options - Base, S, SE, HSE, First Edition, and X - along with over 150 accessory options is new territory for a Land Rover model line. "I would liken that to some of what Jeep does," explains Turner. "They have a tremendously broad range of accessories. We'll have the broadest range of accessories that we've gotten on any Land Rover product."
The broad range of trims and accessories are a way of curating some looks and styles that the brand believes will appeal to various types of buyers. Already, the wide range of options seems to be paying off, according to Turner. "We've had a clear level of interest in the accessory packs already. Some of the early orders indicate that close to 40 percent of the initial interest has been optioned with one of the four accessory packs."
Those accessory packs include Explorer, Adventure, Country, and Urban. The Urban Pack, for example, equips the Defender with features to "stand out in the suburbs", whereas the Adventure Pack is better suited to off-roading.
You'll have to wait until spring 2020 to get behind the wheel of the four-door Defender 110. Following this, the two-door Defender 90 will arrive.
An altogether more comfortable entrant than the rough Defenders which have come before - and with plenty of choice within the range - off-road enthusiasts have a lot to get excited about.