The year 2020 promised to be superb!
In the automotive industry, many new things were expected to hit the market in recent months, and among these was obviously the Land Rover Defender.
It was the long-awaited return of this British icon, which was to come to have a good duster in the segment of off-road SUVs, which, let’s face it, offer a rather archaic ride.
In April, I had to go to the launch of the vehicle in England. Three days in the English countryside, putting it to the test in the mud and green fields. That was before COVID-19, which was obviously going to force the cancellation of this trip.
That said, despite everything that has happened, despite the closures, the lockdowns, the compromises to be made, we are still here, and the Defender has managed to make its way here, on a beautiful day in December.
From the first glance, a product that impresses
In many ways, the Land Rover Defender impresses. First of all, he’s much bigger than he looks. Its square shapes are a little softer than those of its predecessor, without taking away the aura of robustness that comes with its name.
Then, we enter the cabin, where it is even more convincing. The Defender offers what you might call a “military chic” presentation. Everything – from the door panels, the instrument layout, the numerous screens, the thick and textured plastic of the trunk, the surface of the seats and more. – gives the impression of a unique product.
The Defender is available in two versions, either 2-door or 4-door, called 90 or 110 respectively. Then, many options groups are added, ranging from the base version with a four-cylinder turbocharged 2 liters of 296 horsepower. , up to the X version, designed for the most difficult trails, big tires and additional off-road technologies included!
Our test model was a top-of-the-range four-door model, fitted with all the safety technologies one can imagine and a few accessories, such as a waterproof outer box and a snorkel that allows air to enter the engine. even when venturing into the water.
Under the hood, there’s an inline-6
While it doesn’t have all of the off-road tech of the X version, our test model still had smart differentials up front and rear, and adjustable air suspension.
So what does it say?
The year is saved!
The Defender is, in a way, saving the year 2020! At least when it comes to the automobile.
It proves that it is possible to modernize a classic that has remained unchanged for decades, and without disappointing everyone. This SUV is a success all the way!
As soon as you get off the trail, even with rather ordinary all-season tires, you can feel the vehicle working intelligently when grip is uncertain. We can, via the infotainment system, choose a type of terrain, and the SUV adapts the driving according to our choice.
Everything works like magic, to the point where you lose the feeling of going off-road. You don’t feel the mechanics at work, the computers are so competent. But you can make adjustments yourself for a more traditional experience.
And what about on the road? Does it feel like driving a wheelbarrow adorned with a little leather like the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner? Not at all!
When you drive on pavement, you are in a refined, comfortable, efficient vehicle that can easily pass for a Range Rover in terms of driving. It’s frankly amazing what the engineers of the English brand have managed to do.
The Defender is an excellent vehicle, one that can easily be recommended to those who want a luxury SUV, even to those who don’t necessarily want to go off-road, it’s so comfortable in everyday life.
If there is therefore one positive thing to take away from the year 2020, it is that the Land Rover Defender is back on our roads, and it is quite a success! It remains to be seen if its reliability will be better than what Land Rover has accustomed us to …