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A pre-launch peek at the all-new LR Defender 110

1983, to say that aficionados have been pining for a reimagination of the iconic Land Rover Defender is an understatement. The British poster child of the outdoors and off-roading ability is in desperate need to get to the present.

 So, the UK brand has delivered — and how. First revealed at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, two interpretations of the all-new Defender, the 90 and 110 (with three and five doors, respectively), have rolled out and are ready to create a new generation of Defender devotees while stoking the interest of longtime fans. On its website, the company touts that “the new model will represent 70 years of innovation and improvement; honoring the vehicle’s history for rugged solidity while thoroughly remaining a Defender for the 21st century.”

This Defender is set to be officially unveiled here on August 1 and, last week, we were afforded an advance glimpse (and a stint behind the wheel) of the SUV.

But first, the stats: The Defender 110 has four engine options available (two diesel- and two gas-sipping options) but, for now, Land Rover Philippines is bringing in the top-shelf 3.0-liter, in-line six-cylinder power plant. The all-new Ingenium six-banger engine, which debuts in the LR portfolio via the Defender, puts forth 400ps and 550Nm of torque – the latter available from 2,000rpm.

In an exclusive interview, All British Cars GM and Coventry Motors Corporation (Jaguar Land Rover distributor) president Chris Ward expressed excitement not just about the arrival of the Defender, but the continued addition of electrified models to the local Jaguar and Land Rover portfolios. Recently, Coventry had brought in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) trims, along with the halo pure electric car of Jaguar, the I-Pace. The brand is proud of the fact that it was the first brand to develop and roll out “a premium, all-electric SUV” in the I-Pace. 

Speaking of the I-Pace, Ward shared that people here were actually looking for the model. Commented Chris, “There was this pent-up demand, but there are people willing to understand, embrace and engage in this changing new technology. But you have to take that brave step and just say, ‘Here it is. I‘ve trained my people. My people know how to look after it. We’ve got the right product for the market.’”

How does this all tie in with Defender, you ask. 

Well, the Defender that will make its way here boasts a measure of electrification in the form of a mild hybrid system. Land Rover says it “utilizes a small integrated electric motor which gathers energy from regenerative braking, which then is used for instant power from takeoff.” The company says the vehicle can reach 100kph from standstill in 6.1 seconds, up to a top rate of 208kph, with the performance accessed via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Power is boosted through a twin-scroll turbocharger and continuous variable valve lift.

A scant few minutes driving the Defender shows the advantages of the electric boost. Despite tipping the scales at around 4,940 pounds, the vehicle is quick to get up to speed from standstill. 

An entire suite of tech features brings the new Defender to the here and now: adaptive dynamics, terrain response, electronic air suspension, wade sensing, a 3D surround camera system with ClearSight Ground View. It is equipped with black roof rails; heated, power-folding, and auto-dimming door mirror with approach lights; LED headlamps with auto high-beam assist and headlight leveling; foglamps; 19-inch, six-spoke wheels, off-road tires; and a rear-mounted, full-size spare wheel.

Inside are 12-way semi-powered seats in grained leather, and a ClearSight rearview mirror which turns from a regular mirror to a digital screen showing what’s going on behind the vehicle. A virtual TFT instrument cluster gives a futuristic, classy feel to the vehicle. A new infotainment system debuts in the Defender, while it pays homage to its history via so called “Alpine Lights” slim glass strips on the side of the ceiling that help “bathe the cabin in light.” 

Next year, there will be a PHEV version of the Defender as well, which we will definitely see in local showrooms, aside from the three-door Defender 90.

The vehicle is priced as follows with the various “accessory packs” (each one, maintained Land Rover “designed to help you make more of your world”)  Defender 110 Urban (P6.31 million), Defender 110 Country (P6.36 million), Defender 110  Adventure (P6.44 million), and Defender 110 Explorer (P6.61 million). The even more premium Defender 110 First Edition is priced at P9.39 million.

Reservations for the 110 are being accepted at the All British Cars (ABC) showroom on EDSA Greenhills. For more details, visit www.landrover.ph.

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