JOHANNESBURG - A little more than a year ago, before the country was placed into lockdown, we travelled to Namibia to sample the 110 version of Land Rover’s Defender, which had just gone on sale globally. As that report indicated, it is a fantastic vehicle that blends off-road capability and luxury in a way that’s hard to compete with. We can’t think of an equivalent German premium sports utility (or Japanese for that matter) vehicle that can rival the Defender 110 in this regard.
It’s now the turn of the 90, the ’short-wheelbase’ version of the Defender, which comes to town with rather attractive pricing. Don’t get us wrong we won’t call them affordable, but considering the rapidly rising prices of cars in South Africa, on paper the Defender 90 seems to be quite attractive in terms of bang for buck.
PLENTY TO CHOOSE
The Defender 90 is the most capable and connected Land Rover to date and can trace its roots back to the original Series I model of 1948. At launch, the 90 model range comprises the base Defender S, X-Dynamic, First Edition and top-of-the-range Defender X models, each sold with a choice of four engine options.
As an entry point to the range, the Defender S features standard equipment including LED headlights with auto high beam assist, keyless entry, Ebony grained leather with woven textile seat facings, Pivi Pro 25cm touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an interactive driver display among others. Driver assistance features include items such as Terrain Response, 3D surround cameras, emergency braking, lane keep assist, 360-degree parking aid, wade sensing and a driver condition monitor.
The X-Dynamic model bridges the gap between Defender and Defender X with a tough exterior look and unique interior fittings to set it apart from the rest of the lineup. It features gloss painted Narvik Black exterior door and wheel arch cladding with Silicon Satin skid pans. Highly durable Robustec material is found on the seat ribbons and Console Finisher. Robustec is a protective and hard-wearing material inspired by textiles used in extreme outdoor activities, and is used inside the Defender on areas that are subject to heightened wear. The Defender X-Dynamic is available with a choice of SE and HSE Specification Packs.
On the range-topping X derivative, the gloss black inset contrast hood is standard along with Gloss Black claddings. To give further differentiation between the X and Core vehicles, the front and rear skid pans and other detailed exterior parts are coated in a Starlight Satin finish while brake calipers are painted orange, the dashboard cross beam is a dark grey powder coat brushed finish and door sill treadplates are illuminated with Defender script.
The X also sees air suspension is fitted as standard along with an electronic active rear differential, configurable Terrain Response 2, a sliding panoramic roof, Matrix LED headlights, 14-way heated and cooled front seats, ClearSight interior rear view mirror and a head-up display among others.
The Defender First Edition, available for one year from launch, is available in Pangea Green, Gondwana Stone or Hakuba Silver, with a folding fabric sunroof incorporated in the contrast white roof. Standard fare includes air suspension, 12-way heated seats, an electrically adjustable steering column ClearSight rear view mirror and 20-inch alloys.
BUILT FOR ADVENTURE
Configurable Terrain Response allows drivers to set-up the vehicle to suit precise off-road conditions and surfaces when adventuring. The Terrain Response 2 system also includes a new Wade program which optimises all of the vehicle systems accordingly to allow safe passage through water up to 900mm deep.
Customers can personalise their Defender 90 with four Accessory Packs. The Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban Packs each give Defender a distinct character with a specially selected range of enhancements.
The Explorer Pack includes a raised air intake, a lightweight Expedition roof rack to carry up to 132kg, a 24 litre exterior side-mounted gear carrier, matte black bonnet decal, and wheel arch protection to help conquer the most uncharted African landscapes.
The Adventure Pack, developed to make more of nature’s playground, consists of a portable rinse system for hosing off boots, bikes and wetsuits, a 20 litre Seat Backpack, bright rear scuff plate, front and rear mudflaps, a spare wheel cover, an integrated air compressor ideal for inflating tyres or air mattresses, and the same side-mounted Gear Carrier.
A Country Pack equips the Defender with front and rear Classic mudflaps, a full height loadspace partition to prevent items in the rear loadspace from entering the cabin, wheel arch protection, a bright rear scuff plate and the portable rinse system.
Finally, the Urban Pack comprises bright metal pedals, a bright rear scuff plate, a spare wheel cover, and front undershield protection to make the Defender stand out with style in the concrete jungle.
At South African launch the Defender 90 lineup includes four engine options comprising two diesels and two petrols. A 2.0-litre D240 turbodiesel produces 177kW and 430Nm, enabling 0-100km/h in 9 seconds with a top speed of 188km/h, while a 2.0-litre P300 turbopetrol with 221kW and 400Nm achieves 0-100km/h in 7.1 seconds and a maximum speed of 191km/h.
More powerful 3.0-litre straight six-cylinder options include a P400 petrol featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology with outputs of 294kW and 550Nm, and a D300 diesel with 221kW and an impressive torque figure of 650Nm. These two models accelerate from 0-100 in 6 and 6.7 seconds respectively, with top speeds of 191km/h for both.
Unfortunately, to due the rising number of Covid-19 infections South Africa, the local media launch of the Defender 90 has been delayed, however, IOL MOTORING is securing a vehicle for test drive and will bring you an initial driving impression in the coming week.
2021 LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90 PRICES IN SOUTH AFRICA:
Land Rover Defender 90 D240 S - R1 095 600
Land Rover Defender 90 D300 S - R1 186 800
Land Rover Defender 90 P300 S - R1 095 600
Land Rover Defender 90 P400 S - R1 214 200
Land Rover Defender 90 D240 X-Dynamic SE - R1 215 500
Land Rover Defender 90 D300 X-Dynamic SE - R1 297 000
Land Rover Defender 90 P300 X-Dynamic SE - R1 215 500
Land Rover Defender 90 P400 X-Dynamic SE - R1 338 600
Land Rover Defender 90 D240 X-Dynamic HSE - R1 284 400
Land Rover Defender 90 D300 X-Dynamic HSE - R1 365 900
Land Rover Defender 90 P300 X-Dynamic HSE - R1 284 400
Land Rover Defender 90 P400 X-Dynamic HSE - R1 407 500
Land Rover Defender 90 D240 First Edition - R1 223 800
Land Rover Defender 90 P400 First Edition - R1 341 700
Land Rover Defender 90 D300 X - R1 542 100
Land Rover Defender 90 P400 X - R1 575 000
All prices include VAT, but exclude carbon dioxide emissions tax. All models come with a five-year/100 000km maintenance plan.