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2020 Defender Drive Impressions.

Discussion in 'Defender' started by Forty Deuce, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. Forty Deuce

    Forty Deuce Full Access Member

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    So, I had a really cool opportunity to drive the new 2020 Defender at a Land Rover sponsored event in Coachella (CA). It had a fleet of brand new, just shipped in, Defenders for us to drive. I’ll be honest enough to tell you I didn’t particularly like the press images of the Defender I had seen to date. Having now seen one in person the lines come off clean and crisp. The lineage to the original Defender is much more clear and perceptible. The interior was well thought out and the right blend of comfort and rugged.

    The handling of this vehicle was very impressive. The fit and finish was fantastic. The body was unbelievably rigid and I felt absolutely no frame twist as we worked through the designed course. The Land Rover Experience staff, of which every Defender had as a front passenger, told stories of their inroduction to the new vehicle in the day’s prior. They were also very impressed during some true off-road driving in the local mountains. Of the 12 instructors there, I was told 11 had preordered vehicles. One was holding out to see the 90 as all these were 110s.

    The camera system, including the rear view “mirror” (which is not a mirror at all but rather a mirror shaped video screen with a very crisp and clear image) is unbelievable technology and will just amaze you. There was plenty of power in the 6 and 4 cylinder versions we I drove. This is a controlled and relatively safe test track but it had some nice hills and a 25 degree side tilt. I got a real feel for the new Defender. The factory winch seemed very sturdy and had clean lines. There was plenty of power plugs and ports inside. The third row seats seemed even smaller that the third row of my LR4, but had their own HVAC control for them too.

    The shifting arrangement is awkward. It’s a dash mounted select lever but rather than the expected PRNDS set up it is RND (Putting the vehicle in park means pushing a small button marked “P”. Moving the gear select lever all the way forward or up can only get you in reverse. The drivers told me that I was yet another driver who has placed the car in reverse intuitively. I can’t see this as a good design and can only imagine this one wasnt well thought out.

    All in all it was a truly impressive design and if I wasn’t so in love with my LR4 I would be waiting the day they rolled in stock at my dealer. I can definitely see getting one though but it may take a few years before they work out the bugs that every new model car has inherently 997289D8-C441-45B2-A94E-2CDBB824E194.jpeg 82E13B9E-F8FC-404F-BF26-8D6EF49A8214.jpeg F40C56AC-F828-4B24-A7BB-864D532635F9.jpeg 858DC836-5695-4438-BDC9-A451B54271FC.jpeg 231486D3-D323-4D91-BFA2-1B2B51E266ED.jpeg
     
  2. Fields Carlisle

    Fields Carlisle Full Access Member

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    I really want to like the new Defender but I’m concerned about several things. For one, when you’re building a 110 HSE online the smallest stock tire size is again a 19” wheel, which is the WORST possible size for any off road tires. I mean there are hardly any legitimate options. So then you go up to a 20” wheel and you’re shrinking the sidewall even more. They’re offering 22” rims on the Defender. Insane. My next biggest gripe is the price. At $50K you get steel wheels and cloth interior??? Are you kidding me? I was really hoping JLR would price the Defender super aggressive to draw in new customers from Wranglers and the like, but at $80K for a somewhat well equipped 110, you’re pricing almost everyone out of the car. Too many things are optional upgrades like TR2, ATPC, rear locker, etc. They also should have offered a front locker and sway bar disconnects for increased articulation. I saw a video of the event you went to and I couldn’t believe how little front articulation there is. It seems less than my LR4. Also, I was really looking forward to the new I6 engine, but every review I’ve read about it says it suffers from the same weird throttle response the 2.0T MHEV has in the new Evoque P300. I had a new P300 Evoque loaner and it was honestly one of the worst driving vehicles I’ve ever been in. The brakes and throttle felt like they were controlled by minions doing the opposite thing you wanted. Either you had no braking force or you had a ton. You had no acceleration or it was on full boost. The 9-speed ZF transmission was just as awful as it was in previous applications too. I was shocked they would let a new car come to market so poorly sorted.

    When I then read several reports stating the same exact things about the new MHEV I-6 in the RRS, and to also hear it suffers from what seems to be lots of turbo lag I was left scratching my head. I don’t know how they could even accomplish lag when they’re using a 48V electric “supercharger” and a turbocharger. No recent turbocharged BMW, Mercedes or Audi I’ve driven has had a whiff of turbo lag. I haven’t driven a new I-6 RR or RRS myself yet, but if it’s anything like what has been described I’ll be sorely disappointed. I also hope they’ve managed to make the transmission shift a lot faster, smoother and more intelligently than my LR4. BMW and Alfa can make the ZF 8HP feel like a dual clutch, but JLR seems to be far behind in transmission software calibrations.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  3. Forty Deuce

    Forty Deuce Full Access Member

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    Honestly, the biggest disappointment to me was hearing that there are no current plans to import a Diesel engine. This is just ridiculous.
     
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  4. LR4USN

    LR4USN Full Access Member

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    Yet another strong case for keeping and maintaining our 4's.
     
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  5. colorover

    colorover Full Access Member

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    Thanks for sharing. How did you find the fit and finish of the interior materials (LR3/4 Level?) and 2nd row seat legroom?
     
  6. Davidinseattle

    Davidinseattle Full Access Member

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    Very difficult to say it any better than that.
     
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  7. bbyer

    bbyer Full Access Member

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    I am keeping my 3 so I agree with you. At least this one looks more like a Land Rover than a Ford Explorer.

    I am waiting for the 130 and hoping they put the spare tyre under like our 3/4's. The overall length parked in a garage would still effectively be the same as the 110 but have interior space closer to our 3/4's and the rear hatch would be lighter re opening.

    LR did alot of things right in the 3/4's but it is not clear that they recognized that.

    I guess there is hope anyway.
     
  8. mpinco

    mpinco Full Access Member

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    This ^. I live and tow at altitude so the 2L is not an option. The 3L MHEV is not getting good reviews, is way too expensive upfront and long term cost will also be problematic. For these reasons the new Luxury Defender has no viable power trains options. I'm out till they fix that product option.
     
  9. bbyer

    bbyer Full Access Member

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  10. Bogwhoppit

    Bogwhoppit Full Access Member

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    Nice review. On another note. LR is touting this vehicle with the stiffest chassis. How is this stiffer that the full monocoque/ladder BIF construction of the LR4? Could you tell a difference?
     
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