It’s going to take you nearly wherever.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

“I by no means drove it on pavement.” That is the very first thing Emme Corridor informed me when she obtained again from testing the 2020 Land Rover Defender in Africa earlier this yr — you realize, again when touring was nonetheless a factor. Certainly, Emme’s weeklong safari via Namibia put the Defender’s spectacular off-road chops within the highlight. However as I found over the course of some days at residence in Los Angeles, the Defender’s a rattling wonderful SUV for city life, too.

Like

Unstoppable off-road abilityClassic type with a contemporary touchLots of room for passengers and cargoPunchy 3.0-liter mild-hybrid I6

Do not Like

New infotainment tech continues to be touch-and-goVague steering feelPoor gasoline economic system

In fact, I am printing that alongside a bunch of images of a unclean Defender that have been clearly shot at an off-road park. However like, how may I not off-road this factor? I am going to let Emme’s first drive evaluation get into the nitty-gritty particulars about how Land Rover’s new SUV handles the tough stuff, although I’ll say the Defender had no bother dealing with the identical difficult trails I lately drove in a Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel, and all I needed to do was elevate the air suspension and shuffle via the assorted off-road modes.

The primary spherical of Defenders to hit the US would be the four-door 110 model seen right here; the two-door 90 arrives within the coming months, and it will have a 2021 mannequin yr designation. Personally, I am all concerning the 90, largely as a result of I’ve obtained a mushy spot for stubby, two-door SUVs. The 110, in the meantime, is definitely larger than you would possibly assume. It has an imposing presence on the road and my first thought upon climbing inside is, wow, that is roomy.

The Defender will get Land Rover’s new Pivi Professional infotainment system, housed on a high-resolution, 10-inch show atop the middle stack. You have obtained entry to the entire Defender’s off-road settings in right here, in addition to navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Mixed with the digital gauge cluster, the Defender’s tech sport is robust. However whereas the Pivi Professional system is mostly simpler to make use of and extra enticing than Land Rover’s outdated InControl tech, it nonetheless suffers from the identical laggy response instances and occasional refusal to acknowledge my iPhone and cargo CarPlay.

My Defender SE take a look at automobile’s cloth-lined seats are super-supportive and nice for protecting lengthy distances in consolation. Total, the Defender’s inside is purposeful however properly appointed, with fabric-lined panels on the dashboard and tough-looking uncovered screws on the doorways. This sturdy look is an effective factor; I really feel lots higher about trekking mud inside a Defender than I do a leather-wrapped Mercedes-Benz G-Class. The rubber-lined footwells and cargo space converse to this down-and-dirty nature, too. Positive, you’ll be able to possibility a Defender with nicer upholstery like Dinamica suede if you would like, however I do not, so there.

The cabin is handsomely styled, and Land Rover’s new Pivi Professional infotainment tech is housed on a 10-inch display screen.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

You may get the Defender with three rows of seats, one thing Land Rover calls its “five-plus-two” possibility. You lose a little bit of cargo area when you go this route, however when you keep on with the five-passenger configuration, there is a most of 78.8 cubic toes of cargo area behind the primary row, although do word that the side-hinged tailgate swings out to the aspect, so watch out when backing into parking areas. Talking of hauling, no matter wheelbase size or engine measurement, the Defender can tow 8,200 kilos.

The Defender’s base engine is a 2.0-liter turbo I4 with 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, however I’ve obtained the upgraded 3.0-liter I6, which makes use of turbocharging and mild-hybrid electrical help to supply 395 hp and 406 lb-ft. This MHEV I6 is identical one Land Rover provides within the Vary Rover Sport and it is an actual peach of an engine, with a number of low-end torque and a refined stop-start system. Nonetheless, with EPA gasoline economic system rankings of 17 miles per gallon metropolis, 22 mpg freeway and 19 mpg mixed, even with mild-hybrid help, it is not precisely a fuel-sipper.

Mixed with a smooth-shifting, eight-speed automated transmission and full-time all-wheel drive, Land Rover says the three.0-liter Defender 110 can speed up to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds, which is fairly rattling fast for a 5,000-pound SUV. You actually really feel that punch from behind the wheel, too. Lay into the throttle whereas heading up a freeway on-ramp and you will be properly above the posted pace restrict earlier than it is even time to merge. Not that I would know something about that, natch.

Good tires and a properly tuned air suspension maintain the Defender rocking regular irrespective of the terrain.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The usual adaptive air suspension does an excellent job of absorbing pavement blemishes and retains the large Defender from feeling tippy or wallowy at pace. There’s not numerous front-end dive underneath laborious braking, and whereas I do not actually suggest throwing certainly one of these butch bois into a good nook, the Defender is surprisingly agile. It is a nicer freeway cruiser than a G-Class, and 20 instances higher than a Jeep Wrangler. My solely gripe is that the off-road tires spec’d to this automobile as a part of the $1,345 Off-Street Pack are slightly loud. Give and take, I assume.

An entire bunch of driver-assistance tech makes every day life with the Defender simpler. The mid-level SE trim comes customary with a 3D encompass digital camera, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping help, visitors signal recognition and even nifty novelties like tech that’ll let you know if a automobile or pedestrian is approaching if you’re parked so you do not inadvertently open your door and trigger a crash. Weirdly, full-speed adaptive cruise management stays an possibility, so be ready to spend an additional $1,020 if that is in your want checklist.

Pricing begins at $51,250 (together with $1,350 for vacation spot) for a base 110 and might stretch into the mid-$90,000s for a totally loaded Defender X. The total vary of shorter-wheelbase Defender 90 fashions will hit sellers quickly, and a base, two-door mannequin begins at $47,470 delivered.

Nice on-road, nice off-road.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Land Rover is neatly providing a number of totally different add-on packages that may make your Defender as luxurious or as off-road-ready as you need, and so they’re obtainable throughout the entire lineup. As examined, my generously outfitted 2020 Defender 110 SE prices $72,180 together with vacation spot. Contemplating you’ll be able to possibility a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon properly above $60,000, that does not strike me as too dangerous of a deal. The Mercedes G-Class begins at greater than $130,000, although it is a lot nicer inside whereas being each bit as succesful (maybe extra) off-road. The Ford Bronco can be a worthy adversary for the Defender, too, however it’s nonetheless a yr or so away from hitting sellers.

I’ve heard folks complain that the brand new Defender’s misplaced a number of the allure of the outdated variations, however what they actually imply is, it is not a loud, bouncy, ache within the ass to reside with on the every day. The brand new Defender is each bit as succesful as its predecessor, however lastly goes via ending faculty. Even when you by no means take it off the crushed path, this new Land Rover is certain to impress.

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