Hooniversal Opinion: 2020 Land Rover Defender

The all-new Land Rover Defender is finally here. And not just for the land afar, but for the States as well.

This doesn’t come without carrying a certain weight to it. The Defender is a truck bearing the name of one of the most storied four-wheel-drive vehicles of all time. An icon in the off-road world. And a massively iconic nameplate returning to production– and our shores!– for the first time in far too long.

But it’s not the Defender of yore. Unlike its predecessor, this one is safe, modern, and high-tech. It still has the chunky Defender looks, but more in the vein of concept-turned-reality than old-design-still-alive. And, crucially, it’s no longer body-on-frame. Say goodbye to the possibility of massively modified and lifted Defenders for this generation.

As before, it’s not limited to one body. Land Rover will offer two different lengths as well as three and five-door options. Though no longer true to their respective identifiers, the 90 model represents the two-door, short-wheelbase model and the 110 has four doors and a longer wheelbase.

Power comes from a six-cylinder engine boasting an electric supercharger and a 48-volt battery supplement. Figures are healthy at 395 hp and 406 lb-ft., drastically more than any factory Defender has seen before. A 296 hp turbo-4 will also be available, but Europe’s diesels aren’t available for the US at launch. The transmission is the well-received ZF 8-speed and sadly the manual option is no longer. There’s a two-speed transfer case, Terrain Response system, optional locking rear differential, and an ~8200-pound towing capacity (for the 110).

And, of course, it’s a serious off-roader. The 90 has 11.5″ of ground clearance, a 31-degree breakover angle, and 38 and 40-degree approach and departure angles, respectively. It’s going to be a serious wheeling machine. As it should be.

So, what do the collective group of Hooniverse writers think of the all-new Defender?

2020 Land Rover Defender

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. I love it. This is far and beyond the most excited I’ve been about a new vehicle since the JL Rubicon and ND Miata debuted.

It’s retro but not in a cheesy way. Will it be beaten on the way the original was? Unlikely. But it’s an honest, true Wrangler competitor in purpose, execution, and off-road prowess and I love how it looks. The design could have gone so wrong, but Land Rover has done well upon the Defender nameplate.

Will it steal sales from the Wrangler? Probably. I wouldn’t be surprised. At $60k it’s easily going to compete with people spending $55k+ on new Wrangler Unlimiteds. It will likely be more comfortable, better to drive on the road, and as-or-more capable off-road in the hands of the average consumer. No, the doors and roof don’t come off, but most Wrangler owners never utilize this anyways.

Anyways, I’m in love. And as the ex-owner of both a two-door off-road oddity and a white-steelie-wearing off-road SUV, it’s basically everything I’m destined to love. I love how it looks barely more like a production vehicle than a concept. I love the option packages. I love the proportions. And I love the way they rolled this out as an onslaught of Defender. Land Rover is taking this seriously, and they’ve done a great job.

Make mine an olive/drab green 2-door with the white steelies and the window-mounted gas tanks.

And by that, I mean that I’ll happily be the second or third owner of one.

-Ross Ballot

2020 Land Rover Defender

At first glance, I like it much better than the modern Discoveries and Range Rovers. The four-door version is better than the coupe. I like the images that I’ve seen, but I love the commercial spec that will be released in the UK. The steel wheels are especially good.

All I see when looking at the front is Jeep angry eyes. 

I’m glad it’s back. The accessories that are coming from the factory look pretty great.

-Christopher Tracy

I was worried about this one. And my worries appear to have been for not, because this thing looks great. Land Rover clearly thought about both people who are Defender loyalists and those who will be new to the brand and model. There’s enough potential luxury items to make it a country club valet specialist, but there are clearly TONS of off-road items made available right through the dealer network. Sure, true off roaders might like to use their own aftermarket bits. But they can still do that. Were it my money, I’d spec a 110 in green with black trim. I’d want the 5+2 seating setup. And I’d find a way to get those steel wheels on a higher grade trim, paired around the 400-hp powertrain.

I really can’t wait to drive this thing and get it absolutely filthy.

-Jeff Glucker

2020 Land Rover Defender

I love it. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when they announced that they were going to relaunch the Defender. The previous version was such an iconic car, I really hoped they would do the relaunch justice. Land Rover has not disappointed the new edition looks amazing in both the 90 and 110 versions. The best news is that Land Rover is bringing the new models to Australia. I cant wait to see them here and to get to drive one….

-Joel Strickland

2020 Land Rover Defender

I too was really worried about what Land Rover was going to try and pass off as a Defender to us. I was expecting them to go “mainstream” if you will and make it a faux off-roader that was better suited for trips to Whole Foods. But I am very impressed with what I’m seeing. It looks like the most legit off-roader Land Rover has made in a long time and proves that they are still capable of mastering what put them on the map decades ago. It looks modern enough to be a comfortable and practical daily that can literally take you anywhere… which I guess is like every other Land Rover but without all the pretentiousness. I love it and they deserve every sale they get.

-Greg Kachadurian

And that’s a wrap on your respective Hoons’ opinions on the 2020 Land Rover Defender. We’ve covered it a bunch already, like here and here, so now that you’ve had time to digest it all: what are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments.

 

20 Comments

  1. I don’t like it. Based on comments around the interwebs, I am not alone, but we are in the minority.
    From the enthusiastic reception, they should have no trouble finding buyers. Good for them.

    I agree that it looks not far removed from a concept vehicle. I disagree with whether that is good.

    1. ..but people on the interwebs complain about EVERYTHING. 😉

      New Supra and GT86 spring to mind. Mostly from people who’d never actually buy either, even if they had the cash.

  2. It’s too derivative as we talked about on Twitter. Land Rovers used to stand for designs that were stoic and British. This is is boxy and Korean. The company isn’t British anymore which means you would think they would copy their past or at least Evoque some kind of design language from another part of their line. You know what this is? This is the Jeep Unlimited to the Jeep. A pretender to the throne. It will sell well but not be the real thing.

    1. You know, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but you’re right– it looks Korean. From a styling perspective, this thing could be an upsized Kia Soul.

      1. It’s a second generation Soul. I know that because I own one and use it as a daily driver. Look at that front end and that front three quarter view. The Soul’s American designer was going for a wild boar with a backpack feel. Now this is the original Kia Soul concept from 2010 and you can still see the same pieces carried over. Move into later Souls and it becomes even more evident. https://www.theautochannel.com/news/2007/04/05/042696.3-lg.jpg

        1. Time for me to repeat that I thought the first Porsche Cayenne looked like a Daihatsu Sirion/Storia?

          There are lots of cues taken from the original LR, like the little vertical section below the door windows, or the small outer ‘tail lights’.

      1. I am fully aware that Tata is Indian. Which is why I am surprised they didn’t lean on this looking on this looking more old school Brit instead of more Korean.

  3. This is by far the most appealing vehicle Land Rover is currently selling, but it doesn’t speak “Defender” to me. To my eyes, it is what the Discovery should have become for 2017, at least in the 110 form we’re initially seeing. This is the only modern Land Rover that I really think of as a Land Rover. The current Disco and RR (and particularly the Velar and Evoque) don’t fit my image of the marque. I hope that people shelling out nearly $60k for JL Rubicons will switch to this new Defender instead. Maybe it will bring the premium down on Wranglers a bit so I don’t have to wait for high-mileage used ones.

    And I second Tracy’s comment about Angry Eyes. I hate ’em, and they’re mandatory on this truck. Not a good thing.

  4. That’s probably enough Defender for a bit, no?

    (until we see it in person or actually drive it, of course)

    1. Not gonna rebrand as Defenderverse? Do your collective 4Runners feel scorned?

      *For the record, even though I’m mild on the new Defender, I’m down with anything new that warrants this much coverage here.

    2. If you want to send content in another direction, we’re still waiting to hear what you did to the Hoontero.

  5. I can’t say I like it. The looks are too cartoony, it’s overpriced, and it seems too complicated a design.

  6. I’ve already stated what I think of this new vehicle. I think it’s great. Two family members in the UK have already got their orders in for 110s and I might for the third time in my life buy a new vehicle.This definitely makes up for the design disappointment of the latest ‘which model is this?’ last Discovery.
    A point JLR should note: my uncle’s new Defenders will be replacing Disco 4s, the current Discovery being ‘too townish’. Now Landrover has to make a pick-up version to replace their Amorok and X-Class utes. But Jalopnik have pointed out an enormous design flaw of the new 90 as it has been shown, that stupid floating square of no window right where you need to look out. What was Gerry McGovern thinking when he signed that off? https://jalopnik.com/the-2020-land-rover-defender-90-offers-a-huge-fake-pill-1838033156

    1. McGovern is a NUT!
      Got to experience that dude at the Velar launch in Palm Springs… He’s everything you think he is and more.
      On my last morning there, he casually walked over to breakfast in a sweat suit but still had on an ascot. It was fantastic.

  7. I see this new Defender as being very much at home in St. Moritz, Tahoe, Vail and Stowe. Traversing the Okavango, Chobe, Etosha National Park, not so much. Survive a modern version of the Camel Trophy? I think not.

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