It has been a long time since we heard from the 2020 Land Rover Defender. The reborn off-roader originally made its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show back in September of 2019. But other than making its rounds on the auto show circuit as well as visiting select Land Rover showrooms in the U.S. (our local dealer had one visit earlier this year) U.S. buyers have been waiting a very long time to get their hands on one. But Land Rover has revealed that the wait is finally over, with the first units beginning to arrive state side.
The arrival of the first batch of Defenders here in the USA is the first time in 23 years that a Defender model has been offered for sale in the U.S. since the iconic original generation left in the mid 1990s due to tightening safety and fuel regulations. But there is one caveat here, with the short wheelbase Defender not appearing just yet. Instead, it is the long wheelbase 110 variant which has a base MSRP of $49,000 (including the $1,025 destination fee.)
“In the coming months, we will ramp up availability as global circumstances allow. We want to thank all those customers, enthusiasts, retailers, employees, and logistics partners for their enthusiasm and commitment to making this a reality,” Jaguar Land Rover North America President and CEO Joe Eberhardt said in the announcement of deliveries beginning in the US.
U.S. spec Defenders will have two engines available for customers to choose from. A 296 horsepower 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder serves as the base engine, with buyers being able to upgrade to a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline six that makes 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. This engine is also mated to a mild hybrid system which not only improves fuel economy, but also helps provide a boost to acceleration as well. Both engines are mated to an eight speed automatic with all-wheel drive being standard equipment. A two-speed transfer case is also on board to help bolster the Defender’s off-road chops when busting through trails. The 2020 Defender will also arrive with a very impressive degree of customization with the model offering four different accessory packs and over 170 options to help it be a very welcoming canvas for buyers looking for something different from their purchase.
In addition to its off-road chops, the Defender also acts as a pioneer when it comes to technology and mobile capability with the model debuting the all new Pivi Pro system. Land Rover claims it is a noticeable improvement over older iterations of its infotainment technology, and not only does Pivi Pro support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but also over the air updates which is rapidly becoming a must have commodity in the luxury vehicle market. The 110 is available with three different seating arraignments, with the third option being a 5+2 affair that creates a third row of seating.
While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has delayed our chance to formally review the Defender for the moment, we look forward to having an opportunity sometime soon to see if the Defender is indeed a worthy successor to the very big pair of shoes that were left by its iconic predecessor.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.