Land Rover Defender X.
Land Rover Defender X.

Johannesburg - Land Rover wowed the crowds at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday when it pulled the covers off the all-new and completely reinvented Defender and the good news for local fans is that it won’t be too long a wait to see it in South African showrooms, with the local launch set to take place during the first half of 2020.

But how much will it cost?

Land Rover South Africa says that due to fluctuating exchange rates it is too early to confirm exact pricing for the new 4x4, but it has provided an “indicative” starting price. According to the importer, the long-wheelbase Defender 110 should start around the mid-900 000s. The short-wheelbase Defender 90, which is due later in 2020, will almost certainly be cheaper but it’s too early to provide even indicative pricing for this version, Land Rover says.

On the subject of engines, two options will be available at launch in the form of a 2-litre turbodiesel that produces 177kW and 430Nm, and a 3-litre straight-six turbopetrol with mild hybrid tech and outputs of 294kW and 430Nm.

The local website also lists a 147kW/430Nm 2-litre turbodiesel and a 221kW/400Nm 2-litre turbopetrol, which will be introduced at a later date, with the lower-output diesel model almost certainly lowering the base price of the range.

All engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and permanent all-wheel-drive system as standard. Also part of the deal across the range is a twin-speed transfer box, off-road tyres, Land Rover’s Terrain Response system and electronic air suspension with Adaptive Dynamics.

While you will be able to get yourself a base Defender 110 around the mid-900-grand mark, a bit of toying with the specification grades and options packs will quickly hurtle the price beyond the million rand barrier.

The Land Rover South Africa website lists six specification grades within three basic models - you can have a ‘normal’ Defender 100 in Base, S, SE or HSE flavours, or you can opt for the Defender First Edition or the spunkier Defender X. The configurator is also open for business, allowing prospective buyers to build the Defender of their dreams.

Let's take a walk through the range

The base Defender (above), which rolls on 18-inch gloss white steel wheels, has a pure and utilitarian look that is very much in tune with the Defender’s heritage. Many will argue that this is the coolest looking version of them all. 

But while it looks basic on the outside, the cabin still packs most of the amenities that you’re going to want in a modern luxury car, including Land Rover’s 25.4cm ‘Vivi Pro’ touchscreen infotainment system that includes navigation, a 180W six-speaker sound system and a 360 degree parking aid. Also part of the deal is cruise control, dual-zone climate control auto headlights and wipers, Lane Keeping Aid, 8-way semi-powered front seats and LED headlights.

The ‘S’ specification grade (above) adds 19-inch, six-spoke alloy wheels, a digital instrument cluster, Auto High Beam Assist and partial leather seats, with leather treatment also extending to the steering wheel and gear knob.

The SE (above) comes with 20-inch, five-spoke alloys,  Premium LED headlights with signature DRL, ‘Clear Sight’ digital rear-view mirror, keyless entry and start, Meridian Sound System, Blind Spot Assist and Rear Traffic Monitor.

In addition, the HSE gains Gloss Dark Grey 20-inch alloys with a contrast Diamond Turned finish, Matrix LED headlights, Ebony Windsor leather seats, adaptive cruise control and a sliding panoramic roof.

The Defender First Edition (above) and Defender X (below) come with most of the aforementioned features, but also add various unique styling elements, as well as Land Rover’s configurable Terrain Response 2 system.

Customers can also choose from four accessories packages, namely the Explorer Pack (pictured below), Adventure Pack, Country Pack and Urban Pack. In addition, Land Rover will offer a wide range of individual accessories for adventure motoring, such as a Rooftop Tent, Inflatable Waterproof Awnings and a remote control electric winch.

New unibody platform

As reported on Tuesday, the new Defender is built around a purpose-engineered aluminium monocoque architecture, which is said to be three times stiffer than a traditional body-on-frame design. 

The vehicle can seat three people in the front of the cabin thanks to a central jump seat, made possible by positioning the gear selector on the dashboard. Customers will be able to choose between five, six and 5+2 seating configurations, with a loading capacity of up to 1075 litres behind the second row seats.

IOL Motoring