The history of the Land Rover Defender is so rich a whole book can be dedicated to it. The “official” family SUV version rolled out in 1983 as an all-purpose, all-terrain vehicle but if you go back in history, the name “Defender” had a purpose – in times of war and conflict, this British legend was created to be one of the toughest and most aggressive vehicles that formed part of troop activities. It became the vehicle of choice of the military because of its off-road capabilities where boulders, rivers, mountains, sun, sand and rain could not stop this juggernaut.
Fast forward to 2016 and after selling 2 million defenders, they stopped production supposedly because of issues with the European Union standards for vehicles. It has come to pass and now, to the delight of many, and Land Rover reintroduces the all-new, mild hybrid Defender 2020.
All Defenders for the Philippines are powered by a 3.0-liter 48V mild-hybrid inline-six engine with an electric supercharger and twin-scroll turbocharger. It’s good for an amazing 400 PS and 550 Nm of torque, making this the most powerful Defender the world has ever seen. It does the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in 6.1 seconds which is bordering on sports car territory. The top speed was clocked at 208 km/h and shifting is done via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The base price of the 2020 Defender 110 Urban Pack is P6,310,000, while the Country Pack is a bit more expensive at P6,360,000. For more rugged offerings, the Adventure Pack will set you back P6,440,000, while the Explorer Pack tops the selection at P6,610,000. Even more exorbitant still is the First Edition, and it comes in at P9,390,000 as a limited production run. All Land Rover units will also come with a 3-year warranty that includes a free 5-year service plan from the brand’s service center, ensuring a premium vehicle with peace of mind to boot.
Upon laying my eyes on the new 2020 Defender 110, I couldn’t believe how huge it was. Comparing it to other Range Rover models, the Defender seemed like the Incredible Hulk in a room full of Avengers. It helped that the one at the Showroom was Pangea Green. Previous Defenders always looked rugged and ready for off-road action as military-type vehicles. This current version is a fantastic combination of ruggedness, strength and luxury. The interior looks very masculine with tough lines, big screws that line the door panels and keep them intact, very fit and stitched leather that does not indicate a comfortable luxurious ride but rather, an adrenaline-filled, road-smashing journey. You can choose a dark gray and black interior or a gray and acorn one (a form of beige). If you want a lot of SUV space, this is the one to buy as both front and rear space is aplenty. The exterior seems like a permanently flexed body that is bold, fit and menacing. It is every inch a man’s dream and something you would want your buddies to see immediately. The new design seems very different from previous models yet still familiar allowing you to traverse various types of roads.
It isn’t all ruggedness though as the Defender is equipped with the same 12.3” touchscreen infotainment system on its dashboard that you can find in the Range Rovers. Navigation, connectivity to your Smartphone, Interactive display on the PIVI Pro system is standard across models.
My test drive was quite brief but very revealing. Initial observation is that driving the new Defender feels like a luxury Sedan except your view of the road is very high and very wide. Despite the rugged looks, this vehicle is very smooth and comfortable maybe to the dismay of Defender purists who may want the feel of the road. Sorry boys, this one can handle a baby and keep her in the back seat, asleep. When the pedal is floored, there is no lag unlike a few other Rover models I’ve driven. This one reacts immediately to your foot and doesn’t lack power at all despite the bulky exterior. The steering wheel is as reactive as it can get feeling very tight but relaxed. It did not feel like I was driving a monster. One feels very safe inside the Defender just because it seems like it can really take a hit and proceed to drive like nothing happened. I can’t wait for an off-road test soon.
Land Rover’s success has been founded on making vehicles that are so capable they go well beyond the normal needs of the buyers. It has been the choice of Royalty, Heads of State and big businessmen.
The Defender is the pinnacle of that. The 2020 version though is also a family car that makes your brood look forward to the next adventure. Many may buy this vehicle for what it brings without testing its off-road capabilities which would be a shame. The Defender has always been reassuringly safe, being able to handle terrain that most vehicles cannot.
And the amazing thing is how well it drives. It just feels good and dare I say, dignified. In today’s market, how many can say that? Go check out their showroom (cars.sulit.ph/land-rover) and call Roger Estella at 09164203875.