Ace of Base: 2020 Land Rover Defender 110

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

This is the most predictable Ace of Base appearance since the C8 Corvette earlier this summer. With a stout off-road presence and a dose of retro style, the Land Rover Defender was shown in production form yesterday in Frankfurt.

A trio of trims will be available in America when it goes on sale, to be joined later by similarly equipped Defenders in two-door 90 next year and a long-wheelbase 130 sometime down the road. This base model, simply called the 110, starts under fifty grand.

All-wheel drive with a twin-speed transfer box is standard, of course, thereby preventing the die-hard fan base from rioting at Land Rover dealers across our nation. LR’s Terrain Response system is on board at this price, along with other off-road goodies like hill descent control and a low-traction launch function.

Powered by a 2.0L inline turbo four making 296 horsepower, the new base Defender can allegedly scamper to 60mph from rest just less than eight seconds. This is about half the time it takes owners of vintage Defenders to simply start the engine.

LED headlights are standard, meaning the forward facing peepers won’t give away your thrifty ways unless an eagle-eyed spotter notes the lack of LR’s signature daytime pattern. LEDs are present and account for out back, too. So-called ‘Alpine Lights’ aren’t really lights at all but rather narrow slivers of glass located in the side edges of the Defender’s roof. Designed as a throwback to similar cues on old Defenders, their purpose is to “help bathe the cabin in light and provide a view to the outside.”

What will nark on your choice of base model are the 18-inch steel wheels painted gloss white. They look good in a retro sort of way, standing out against any available color and offering yet another throwback cue to the past. If you listen to the talking heads on Car Twitter, including my own, they’re the best thing since bangers & mash. Those side mirrors are heated and power folding. Note that the only $0 paint choice is Fuji White.

Inside, one will find dual-zone climate control on the base Defender, along with durable rubber cabin flooring for a hose-it-out feeling. The rear bench is of a 40/20/40 configuration and, yes, you can spec a front bench as well, even if it is a $900 option. This puts it in company with another author-favorite SUV, the Chevy Tahoe Custom. A 10-inch touchscreen stands ready for infotainment duties and, it must be said, the location of Defender’s shift lever is just too perfect.

Lane keeping, blind spot monitoring, and a 3D surround camera are also standard. Something not found on, say, a $50k Ford Edge is something called a wade sensor, a device which doesn’t sense the approach of your author’s Uncle Wade but deploys ultrasonic sensors in the door mirrors to provide real-time pictorial information about the water depth when wading. Max depth is 35.4 inches, by the way.

Putting the excitement of a new Defender to one side for a moment and injecting a bit of buying advice for once in this series, the standard level of equipment in this $49,900 SUV compares quite well with other, less capable crossovers in this price range. Sure, it’s easy to go mad with the options and find oneself with a Defender costing the best part of $100k but, with restraint, buyers can easily find themselves with the keys to a reasonably stickered example of the coolest SUV on the block.

Until the new Bronco shows up, anyway.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 32 comments
  • Tstag Tstag on Sep 12, 2019

    Land Rover have already said orders for the Defender are running at twice that if the global smash hit that is the Evoque. Given the sticker price they will be delighted

  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Sep 14, 2019

    The Defender will be the next status symbol shopping mall vehicle! Nice Defender at $100K+ version called the Model "X"! The base model is for those sucker who buy it and have no status attach to it since it an entry model. People can clearly see the difference! After all; what percentage of the population actually live off-road or do off-roading that are not ranchers or farmers?

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.
  • Geozinger Up until recently this was on my short list of cars to replace my old car. However, it didn't pass the "knee test" with my wife as her bad knee makes it difficult for her to get in and out of a sedan. I saw a number of videos about the car and it seems like the real deal as a sporting sedan. In addition I like the low price, too, but it was bad luck/timing that we didn't get to pull the trigger on this one.
  • ToolGuy I agree with everyone here. Of course there are exceptions to what I just said, don't take everything so literally. The important thing is that I weighed in with my opinion, which is helping to move things forward. I believe we can all agree that I make an important contribution (some will differ, that is their prerogative). A stitch in time saves nine. Life isn't fair, you know. I have more to say but will continue at our next meeting. You can count on that, for I am a man of my word. We will make it happen. There might be challenges. I mean, it is what it is. This too shall pass. All we can do is all we can do. These meetings are never really long enough for me to completely express all the greatness within me, are they? Let's meet to discuss. All in a day's work. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. At the end of the day, I must say I agree with you. I think you will agree. When all is said and done, there is more said than done. But of course that is just one man's opinion. You are free to disagree. As I like to say...(I am working on my middle management skills -- how am I doing?)
  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.