After a 22-Year Absence, a Reborn Land Rover Defender Returns to the US

Bryan Hood

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Following a decades-long absence, one of the most beloved Land Rovers is finally making its return to the US.

Over a year after the British SUV-maker first teased the vehicle’s resurrection, the brand-new Defender finally made its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday. While the vehicle hasn’t been sold in the US in 22 years, it was sold in other countries until 2016, when Land Rover ceased production of the Defender entirely.

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Originally introduced in 1983, the 2020 Defender—available in two models, the two-door Defender 90 and the four-door Defender 110, and number of different trim options—is a modern take on a beloved classic. Its all-aluminum body is at once rounder and smoother than previous iterations, while still being boxier than any other current Land Rover. This makes it the perfect vehicle for Land Rover enthusiasts who feel the company may have strayed too far from signature design aesthetic. Other 2020 touches include an LED light package and a comfortably appointed interior, with a PIVI infotainment system and 10-inch touchscreen—all of which bears little resemblance to the 1997 Defender, the last to officially reach US soil.

“The design of the new Defender is a manifestation of our modernist design philosophy, elemental yet incredibly sophisticated,” the company’s creative director Massimo Frascella told CNBC.

But it’s not just the Defender’s exterior that’s been given a makeover. There are two different engine set-ups for the 2020 model, according to CNET—a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that outputs 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder mild hybrid that churns out 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Either way,  each Defender features a standard ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and permanent four-wheel drive, and is capable of towing an impressive 8,201 lbs.

Other nice touches include 8.5 inches of ground clearance for the two-door defender, and 8.6 for the four-door version, both of which can be bumped up to 11.5 inches by selecting the vehicle’s off-road-height setting. Regardless of the variant, the vehicle can also handle up to 35.4 inches of water.

The Defender starts at $49,900, but with two models, six trim types and loads of optional accessories, prices can vary dramatically, with the range-topping Defender X starting at $80,900. Check out more photos of the reborn Defender below:

The Land Rover Defender 110
Land Rover Defender 110
Land Rover Defender 110
Land Rover Defender 110
Land Rover Defender 110
Land Rover Defender 90
Land Rover Defender 90
Land Rover Defender 90

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