2020 Land Rover Defender: price, specs and release date

Will Davis
August 06, 2019

The long-awaited 2020 Defender has been snapped during a desert test in Dubai. Here’s all the newest information, plus everything else we know about this upcoming, rugged 4×4.

  • Revealed

    2020 Land Rover Defender

  • Specs include

    a boxy, offroad-ready body and sturdy ladder chassis

  • Price and release date

    est. around £40,000; autumn 2019

2020 Land Rover Defender desert photos

The new Land Rover Defender has been photographed during an offroad test in the harsh deserts of Dubai, as a part of the manufacturer’s lead-up to the car’s reveal later this year – which is now starting to feel more drawn-out than the building of the Millennium Dome did.

The all-new photos show the boxy 4×4 kicking up more sand than a dog with a stick to bury, blasting its way through Middle Eastern dunes. They were released to highlight Land Rover’s renewed partnership with the humanitarian charity IFRC, which provides aid to up to 160 million people a year.

Photos of the Defender on-road have been released, too, showing the car climbing mountains almost 2,000 metres high.

2020 Land Rover Defender trim details leaked

Recently, a spy photo of the alleged specs sheet for the new Defender was leaked online, showing what trims and significant equipment the car will have once it comes out.

According to the photographed sheet – tellingly titled “THE ALL NEW DEFENDER” – the 2020 Defender will start with the S. While the text is rather blurry, the sheet seems to say that this trim will give the car 18-inch wheels, with 20-inch ones as an option. There will also be electrically adjustable mirrors, fog lights, a 12-inch digital instrument binnacle, a 10-inch screen and a six-speaker 170W stereo.

SE follows suit, making 20-inch alloys standard. It also adds in automatically dipping LED headlights, 14-way electrically adjustable seats and a 370W stereo.

Next comes the HSE, with its Windsor leather interior, 16-way electrically adjustable seats and 14-speaker 740W surround-sound Meridian stereo. Plus, there are Matrix LED headlights.

Finally, there’s the X. Its 20-inch alloys are darkened and the trim also has smoked taillights and seats with yet more electrical adjustable seats.

2020 Land Rover Defender price and release date

You should be able to buy a new Land Rover Defender next year, although the model will be officially revealed this autumn. You can expect it to cost from around £40,000. This means it will carry a premium over other hardcore off-roaders like the Toyota Landcruiser, which starts at around £35,000.

The digital driver display in the new Defender

2020 Land Rover Defender other images and leaks

The image you can see above is the latest piece of leaked information about the upcoming 2020 Land Rover Defender. The graphic is actually a detail from the driver display screen on the dash. This comes on top of the toy Lego Technic version of the car that was also accidentally revealed.

The new Defender looks more TECHNICal than the old model

That’s not the only leak, either: more details were revealed in what appear to be leaked model briefing documents. They show that there will be three distinct versions of the car – labelled 90, 110 and 130 in a nod to the chassis lengths offered in the original Defender. The 90 and 110 will be available at launch, while the larger eight-seat 130 model won’t be on sale for a couple of years.

The leaked documents also show a range of petrol and diesel engines that include powerful new straight-six models, plus a plug-in hybrid model.

That image graphic from the driver’s display screen actually shows you quite a lot of information about the new car, too. For starters, you can now see clearly the design of the car in profile, without disguise. And it’ pretty square-looking. Up front is a bluff nose, which sits in front of a bonnet bulge that echoes the design of the original car. That bonnet hump also adds visual muscle, while a pillar around the windscreen that seems to ‘float’ and adds apparent length to the bonnet. It also emphasises the shoulder line that runs through to the floating pillars behind the rear doors.

The cheap-to-replace doors of the old model, with their chunky exposed hinges, are no more, replaced by a smoother, more conventional look. Their simple design should still make replacements relatively cheap if you do have a scrape, though. A clearer nod to the past comes in the form of the Alpine-style lozenge-shaped windows above the rear passengers’ heads – just like you got in the old Defender – while the floating roof design has been carried straight from the posh Range Rover. 

On the back is a boot-mounted spare wheel, another classic Land Rover design cue. However, it’s also a look that has a genuine utilitarian purpose: it’s easy to get to if you do suffer a puncture while out in the wilderness (or the supermarket car park).

Other photos of the 2020 Land Rover Defender have been unveiled, this time showing the disguised car among exotic wildlife in a conservation park in Kenya. These showed a camouflaged version of the new Defender that was provided to the British charity Tusk Trust, which protects endangered species across Africa.

2020 Land Rover Defender styling

The original Land Rover Defender was famous for its boxy shape and rugged, off-road-centric build. The 2020 relaunch of the classic SUV looks like it will retain these qualities, although it won’t be anywhere near as utilitarian. While the older Defender had a near-upright windscreen, alongside exterior details like roof guttering and exposed door hinges, the new one seems slightly sleeker. The sides and doors aren’t as perfectly flat as a shed any more, while the front is clearly more rounded.

The camouflage wrapping of the new car also suggests that it will get gills behind the front wheels. If this is indeed the case, it would bring the 2020 Land Rover Defender in line with the rest of the manufacturer’s current range.

The new Defender adopts the same wheel-at-each-corner layout as its predecessor, ensuring that the car can climb and descend seriously steep gradients and navigate harsh terrain as easily as possible. The rear-mounted spare wheel carries over, too.

The 2020 Land Rover Defender in Invictus Games-inspired camouflage earlier this year

2020 Land Rover Defender specs

Every part of the 2020 Land Rover Defender will be developed with tough off-roading in mind. That will start from the ground up, with a solid ladder chassis that will make the Defender heavy, but also allow it to bounce off boulders that would cripple a Nissan Qashqai. A ladder chassis would also make the Defender strong enough to pull huge loads. The old car was loved by UK police because it could haul a stranded articulated lorry off the motorway even if it was fully loaded.

The 2020 Land Rover Defender will be styled to take a hard life in its stride. Minimal front and rear overhangs will help it scale ridiculously steep gradients, while easily removed body panels will keep repair costs cheap when you pick up inevitable bumps, scrapes and scratches. It should look a lot more modern than the original model, though, with a less fussy, smooth body and tight panel gaps, while you can expect it to come equipped with power-saving LED front and rear lights. Improving on the old model’s off-road ability is a tall order, but making it more accessible to amateur off-roaders shouldn’t be a problem. Happily, you can expect the old car’s confusing combination of manually selected differentials and low-range gears to be swapped for a straightforward Terrain Response selector. This will set the car up for a variety of off-road conditions – such as sand, snow and mud – automatically.

2020 Land Rover Defender engines and driving

Jaguar Land Rover’s latest 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel Ingenium engines are likely to find a new home in the 2020 Land Rover Defender and most likely labelled D200 and D240. A more powerful six-cylinder diesel called the D300 will also be available. Three straight-six petrol engines, the P300, P400 and a P400e plug-in hybrid will be on sale alongside the diesel offerings. The latter will use a petrol engine alongside an electric motor to likely offer 31 miles of electric-only power.

The old Land Rover Defender was, at best, a terrible road car, especially if you had just stepped out of a modern family cruiser with safe and predictable road handling. The 2020 model should be a huge improvement, with suspension that won’t suffer from horrendous body roll in bends and sophisticated stability control systems that will stop you losing control of the car during evasive manoeuvres.

2020 Land Rover Defender interior

An image (seen above) showing the interior of the new 2020 Land Rover Defender was leaked onto Twitter, showing the seismic leap its cabin has taken compared with the agricultural old model.

In the 2020 Land Rover Defender, you will get two infotainment screens: one in the centre of the dash and another that sits behind the steering wheel in place of conventional dials. You will be able to use them to control pretty much all of the car’s systems, from the stereo to the four-wheel drive. What they will also likely do is visualise the car’s four-wheel-drive system, allowing you to set up the car perfectly for the kind of off-road conditions it has been built for.

The 2020 Land Rover Defender will also get the Clear Sight Ground View system previously fitted to the Range Rover Evoque. This system provides an augmented view of the ground below the front of the car, allowing you to steer its wheels around obstacles.

If the infotainment screens don’t stand out to you then the jump in build quality will. Even from this single leaked picture, it is clear that the 2020 Land Rover Defender will shy away from the brittle plastics that the old model was famed for. And – if the green tinge of this car is anything to go by – you should also be able to choose from a range of colour finishes.

Finally, if the ‘stop’ and ‘go’ pedals are anything to go by, it’s clear that someone at Land Rover has a sense of humour; it’s also interesting to note the 7,000rpm rev-counter, indicating that the Defender will be offered with a high-revving petrol engine.

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