The first plug-in hybrid Land Rover Defender will go on sale next year with a 398bhp powertrain capable of 27 miles of electric-only running and the promise that it will be “the most capable and durable” version of the off-roader.
The new plug-in hybrid option is part of a range of upgrtades and new varients being introduced as part of the Defender’s 2020 model year line-up. Meanwhile, the short wheelbase Defender 90 variant, which was delayed due to the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns, has now gone on sale.
The new Defender P400e will be offered only in long-wheelbase 110 form initially and uses the same powertrain as the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. This mates a 296bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine to a 139bhp electric motor.
Land Rover claims the model will offer “substantial torque” that will add to the rugged machine’s off-road capability. The powertrain can achieve 0-60mph in 5.4sec, a top speed of 130mph, fuel economy of 85.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 74g/km. Iain Gray, Jaguar Land Rover’s powertrain engineering boss, claimed that the new plug-in hybrid “balances performance with fuel economy and all-electric off-road capability.”
The Defender P400e features 20in wheels and electric air suspension as standard, with its powertrain tuned to allow electric-only running in low-range mode both on and off-road. It can tow up to 3000kg.
Charging of its 19.2kWh battery comes via a Mode 3 connection using a charging power on the left of the vehicle, while a Mode 2 connector available as an option. An 80% charge takes around half an hour on a 50kW rapid charger. Regenerative braking is also used.
The P400e is available with either five or six seats, and includes privacy glass and climate control as standard.
Defender diesel engine line-up gains mild hybrid upgrade
Defender 90 goes on sale
The short-wheelbase three-door Defender 90 has now gone on sale, following a coronavirus lockdown-related delay.
It will be offered with the same mild hybrid petrol and Diesel engines offered in the larger 110, with the P300 and P400 petrol units joined by the D200, D250 and D300 diesel units.As with the 110, all the Defender 90 models use an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Petrol versions feature all-wheel-drive, while the Ingenium diesels use the new intelligent all-wheel-drive system.
The 90 features the same approach and departure angles as the 110, and Land Rover claims improved breakover geometry when fitted with the option electronic air suspension. The smaller machine also benefits from a turning circle of 11.3 metres.
Land Rover says that the Defender 90 range will start from £43,625 in the UK, compared to the £45,315 for the 110.
Defender gains rugged new trim, new technology options
The Defender range has also gained a new X-Dynamic trim level, which features a number of rugged styling upgrades. These include Silicon Satin front and rear skid pans, grille bars and badging, and a Satin Black finish on the rear recovery loops. The alloy wheels gain a new black finish among other changes.
Inside, X-Dynamic models feature unique illuminated metal tread plates with the seats finished in Robustek, a robust protective fabric that Land Rover said is hard-wearing and resistant to abrasions. The higher-level X-Dynamic S, SE and HSE models feature leather upholstery that includes Robustek accents.
Further updates for the 2021 model year include a new range of exterior colour options and other personalisation features, plus new driver assistance and technology packs. A new Blind Spot Assist Pack is offered, along with a new Family Pack that adds third-row seating with three-zone climate control. The Family Pack Plus adds heating to the third-row seats.