Back in the ’90s, Land Rover briefly sold the Defender in the United States. It wore the “NAS” moniker and is still highly desirable today. In fact, the Defender NAS is actually more valuable that many other versions of the car, due to the specific spec it came in and its rarity. However, after a few years, Land Rover pulled the plug and has yet to offer its rugged off-roader in America since. Until now, that is, as the Land Rover Defender is back in America.
At the 2019 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show, the all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender finally made its long-awaited debut and it looks fantastic. It’s retro-funky in all the right ways, with just enough of the classic car’s styling to make it instantly recognizable but also enough new elements to make it look fresh.
The new Land Rover Defender comes in two flavors; 90 and 110; just like the original. Though, unlike the original, those numbers don’t reflect the car’s wheelbase. Instead, they’re just the small three-door one and the big five-door one, respectively. Personally, I actually like the look of the new Defender 110, which is odd because I like the classic Defender 90 better.
On the inside, it gets a very spartan but cool looking interior, very fitting of a Land Rover Defender. Though, it still gets the brand’s digital instrument panel and touchscreen infotainment system, the latter of which is said to be all new. There’s even an option for a third jump seat in the front, which is kind of cool.
It’s under the skin where the Defender really shines, though. In America, there will be two engine options, a turbocharged four-cylinder and a turbocharged six-cylinder. Engine specs don’t really matter because who cares how powerful or fast a Defender is? Instead, it’s all about the off-roading gear.
Those engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive as-standard. It gets a center-locking differential as-standard, as well as a two-speed transfer case. So even the base model can properly off-road. Then, there’s an additional locking rear differential as an option and brake-torque-vectoring. It also gets Land Rover’s impressive Terrain Response system as-standard, with an improved one as an option.
This new Land Rover Defender is likely to be a hit in America. It’s boxy, rugged and tough with classic cool looks and a cabin that looks rugged but feels premium. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive. The Land Rover Defender 110 will start at $50k in America, making it a relative bargain when compared to some of its rivals, when you consider its as-standard equipment.
In the ‘States, it gets LED headlights, air-suspension, wade-depth sensors and even a 3D surround-view camera system, all included in its base price. Combine its impressive value with its awesome looks, rugged off-road ability and icy-coolness and the Land Rover Defender is going to be an incredibly tough competitors when it finally hits the road. I’m so happy it’s back.