By on September 11, 2019

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.

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32 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Land Rover Defender 110...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If you are going to give me steel wheels for 50K then you could at least give me baby moon hubcaps and trim rings. ;-)

  • avatar

    There’s a somewhat compelling argument for a 110 versus a loaded Wrangler Unlimited Sahara/Rubicon/Moab at this point. Interesting to see how this plays out.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I just don’t see a $50k minivan with steelies and a 4 cylinder being a realistic competitor to a fully loaded BoF Convertible Wrangler with solid axles.

      • 0 avatar

        for a large number of owners, having a Rubicon or Moab is just signaling you spent more money on your mall crawler than the other woman did on hers.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          If seeking status is someone’s goal, then maybe this is the ticket.

          The issue is I’ve never seen off-road equipment make a effeminate minivan/crossover look “cool”, the Wrangler is a set of 35×12.5 tires from looking unstoppable and commands attention, everyone has a Jeep story.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          “for a large number of owners, having a Rubicon or Moab is just signaling you spent more money on your mall crawler than the other woman did on hers.”

          Yep, which is why men won’t be seen in one without 35″ mud tires and a Hi-Lift on the hood. This isn’t my girlfriend’s purse!

          It’s my purse!

      • 0 avatar
        afedaken

        Minivan-Mafia-Made-Man here. A real minivan would seat eight, with twice the cargo capacity, a real roof rack, useful sliding doors, and a proper hatch.

        I’m not sure if this is worthy of being called a Disco. But calling it a Minivan is insulting to every Grand Caravan on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        afedaken

        Minivan-Mafia-Made-Man here. A real minivan would seat eight, with twice the cargo capacity, a real roof rack, useful sliding doors, and a proper hatch.

        I’m not sure if this is worthy of being called a Disco. But calling it a Minivan is insulting to every Grand Caravan on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Agreed. I did not expect this. I really like this though and frankly it seems to check every box that the “I miss REAL SUV’s” crowd always throws out there to include rubber mats and a bench seat. The question is will your Land Rover dealer stock them. Doubtful.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @ Flybrian. They’ll sell quite well with pan tan pneumatic blondes. The ones with amazing approach angles.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “This base model, simply called the 110, starts under fifty grand.”

    Oh, is that all? :-

    JLR Death Watch, anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I don’t recall Land Rovers ever being cheap and in the world of offroad oriented SUV’s with real offroad chops it doesnt seem unreasonable.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        “offroad oriented SUV’s with real offroad chops it doesnt seem unreasonable.”

        But we’re not in that world with this vehicle. This vehicle doesn’t appeal to that world, that world wants real SUVs not a mangled minivan that has no business hopping a curb let alone off-roading.

        • 0 avatar
          conundrum

          Aren’t you the fellow who calls some Hummer version or other the best but have never driven it? Good going, champ.

          We know you’ve never driven a new Defender but by golly it’s a “mangled minivan that has no business hopping a curb let alone off-roading.”

          Right. As if you’d know.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “Aren’t you the fellow who calls some Hummer version or other the best but have never driven it? Good going, champ.”

            I’m not sure what your talking about, I have driven and off-roaded two H1s an HMCO, and a HMCS, H2s, an H3 Alpha and a 5 speed H3T (well honestly I’ve babied a 5 speed H3T if we’re going to be exact.)

            What is there to know about the defender that the casual observer cannot deduce?, it’s like asking if a HIV infected blood transfusion is a bad idea on someone without HIV.

            The defender is a unibody constructed 4 wheel independent ( NO GEARED HUBS) minivan, there is no ladder frame to support the suspension and general stresses of off-roading, there’s not a single articulating axle to compensate for the reduced suspension travel, suspension which is clear from pictures is not a high travel suspension.

            The approach angle sucks, it’s absolutely shameful, I wouldn’t even want to talk about breakover angles on a unibody vehicle, because it’s going to take the “break” in breakover seriously.

            The design does not allow for reasonably sized tires by any measure, I can’t imagine the cost of trying to jack up 4 wheel independent suspension, re gear both axles, and then still be stuck with two weak sauce engine options that belong within close vicinity to a LR dealer.

            I’d love for you to explain how this is a capable off-roader though since specs have already been revealed to show it’s nothing more than the minivan I keep purporting it to be.

            It’s like saying technology can make a unibody capable… how? Off-roading is a simple hobby, you combine ground clearance, appropriately sized tires, low gearing, articulation and Center/Rear/Front lockers and your done. There’s nothing more that can be done. This does not carry all of those attributes and simply cannot ever be capable of keeping up with its predecessor.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            @conundrum; you’re trying to talk reason with a civilian off-road fan. Ask most ex-military guys why they don’t have a Hummer and you’ll get a two word reply: “They Suck”. A vehicle with a 3 feet transmission hump and too large to fit where the farm machinery grade Defender and G wagon would fit isn’t really that good. He is also dismissing or ignoring the four wheel drive engineering capabilities that the Land Rover company possesses. Nicely loaded, this will cost more than a double-wide house trailer. That might be the source of the butthurt.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Scotto, nothing in your reply makes sense, I am a civilian yes, what does an ex military individual know that I don’t know? I’ve yet to see a government owned Hummer outside of the American Red Cross.

            Also interested to know why you would have such an issue driving an H1? If something as short as an H1 is too much for you to handle then you may be able to find a smart car. Last I checked stability was a fairly important attribute. Stability comes from having weight as low as possible and the only way to successfully do this is by pushing the drivetrain up and the body down, the added width increases stability. So win win.

            Tell me more about off-road engineering capabilities at Land Rover – I’m dying to hear to this. I would love for you to explain what is so technologically superior in this new Land Rover over either 2 solid axle BOF Wranglers with 3 lockers, or a BOF Humvee/H1 with geared hubs, inboard brakes, low center of gravity, CTIS system, brake modulation system/lockers depending on configuration and much more.

            I am dying with anticipation to know more about this so called four wheel drive engineering capabilities supposedly possessed by LR. They certainly seem to be hiding those in a vault somewhere, too bad they forgot the code.
            As an engineer myself I’m giddy with excitement for your response.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            @hummer, he isn’t wrong. Chasing the IED trigger man in a lightly armored vehicle isn’t great, but it beats the heck out of chasing them on foot because your HMMWV is too wide to fit down the road.

            Additionally they were built to take a mine underneath. This of course just meant they double stacked the mines or used EFPs. The vehicle was built for a war that never happened and pressed into service in one for which they were I’ll suited. Adding all the armor required an engine upgrade. After that they couldn’t go through a sandbox without getting stuck.

            They were ok reliability wise but those portal axles you speak of gave our mechanics their share of heartache.

            I’m sure they are solid civilian vehicles off-road (even though that isn’t what they were built for) but dear lord, my FJ80 was a pig on the trail and these things make that look like a Lotus Elise. I can’t imagine wheeling something that massive. To each their own and if you like it, cool. I’ve seen them do some impressive things, but none of those things involved any trails I did…they were too freaking big.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Personally I’ve never had troubles down trails in my H1, however scotto states Hummers not Humvees which as I’m sure your aware are specced very differently.

            36 bolt two piece 16.5 in rims with magnesium run flats and 37s definitely work on those hubs much more than my civ spec trucks with aluminum rims and no run flats. I believe the mil spec rims were 195lbs a piece iirc, whereas I can physically pick up my wheel/tire combo.

            As I said though, I’ve enjoyed throwing them down trails for nearly 15 years now with no issue, if you have to make a new path, the truck has no trouble mowing down small 4” diameter trees.

            Regardless I’m still waiting patiently to hear about this magical secret sauce LR has supposably kept hidden away.

  • avatar
    gtem

    This thing is a travesty, but I didn’t expect anything less.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    The profile photo is a dead-ringer for a 1999 Honda CRV.

  • avatar
    honda1

    Hideous looking garbage, but i’m sure they will find a fool or 2 to separate from their money.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    I think the design works better as a 2 door than a 4 door.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    Looks like a generic SUV from an early 2000 Arch Viz props CD-ROM.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I had no idea this was coming. I am no Land Rover guy in the least.

    But this thing is seriously cool, way more in 90 series IMHO.

    Expensive, but I’m betting they’ll sell a ton of these things. I want one.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    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

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    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?


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