Emergency vehicles are needed to combat COVID-19.
The reborn Land Rover Defender is already being called to duty. No, not for the military but rather for an entirely different type of fight: the battle of the coronavirus. Although official series production is just about to get underway, a number of Defenders have already been built for publicity and media drives. And it's these pre-production units that are about to see action.
Richard Agnew, Land Rover's public relations chief, has announced on the brand's Twitter account it is now sending these press vehicles to organizations like the Red Cross and other emergency services to help in the battle against COVID-19. In fact, some members of the Red Cross will be able to get to drive the new Defender before most people.
Around a 100 or so new Defenders are about to be shipped to various locations in the world where they're needed most. Supposedly, an additional 30 units are being prepped. It's the ideal way for the all-new Defender to begin what we sincerely hope will be a very long production life.
Land Rover is also banking on the hope the Defender will be a smashing sales success following some very difficult financial times. With a starting price tag of about $50,000, the 2020 Defender is available in either two- or four-door body styles. Two engines are offered: a base 2.0-liter turbo-four good for 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque or a 3.0-liter turbocharged mild-hybrid inline-six with 395 hp and 406 lb-ft. Regardless of engine choice, an eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels.
Unlike the iconic original, this new Defender is far more premium and luxurious but, at the same time, even more capable in the most treacherous off-road terrain and conditions. It's the best of both worlds. Hopefully this press fleet turned coronavirus-fighting Defenders will be put to good use in the parts of the world where the virus is most likely to cause the most damage.