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New Land Rover Defender X P400e (PHEV) Goes Above & Beyond.

New Defender PHEV Goes Above & Beyond.

The Land Rover Defender is truly an off-roader for the ages, and it can trace its heritage back to the original Land Rover which was launched in 1948. As the name suggests, Land Rovers’ were designed to roam the land regardless of the conditions. When introduced in December 1948 the first Land Rover (Series) Station Wagon was expensive and only 641 were built, many of which were exported. A year later 8,000 units were built, most of which were trialled by the British Army. The Land Rover evolved over the decades to become the Land Rover Defender, which continued the model’s success until finally ending production in 2016 – at which stage a total of over two million Land Rover Series and Defender models had been built.

Recognisable Silhouette.

Impressive proportions and a reassuringly recognisable silhouette help define the new Defender’s arresting look. Compact and upright, the Defender’s front profile features a raised bonnet, sculpted grille and precise detailing, while from behind, it looks both utterly modern and perfectly planted. Solid shoulders and powerful squared-off wheel arches give the new Defender a purposeful stance, whilst short overhangs and impressive ground clearance give credence to the vehicle’s capabilities. With its floating pillars, alpine lights and side-opening tailgate with an externally-mounted full-size spare wheel, the new Defender has a unique personality and outstanding character. The interior features durable materials in areas that need it most – such as the rubber flooring, which is incredibly tough and easy to clean, with a chequer finisher adding to the compelling cabin design. Land Rover’s impressive and seamless Pivi Pro in-car infotainment system enables you to do 80 percent of most tasks with just one or two taps on the home screen.

Famous Nameplate.

The all-new Defender was relaunched in 2020 bringing a new focus to the famous nameplate. The new Defender might look vaguely reminiscent of the 1950’s model, but in reality it is a completely modern, high-tech off-roader with unique kerb appeal. It shares no components or technology with its predecessor Defender model, but it does come with permanent all-wheel drive, locking differentials in the centre and rear, and a two-speed transfer case. Unlike the previous Defender models, the new model has an aluminium unibody instead of a body-on-frame construction. All Defender 110 (long wheelbase) variants come with air suspension as standard for a dynamic driving experience, on and off-road.

New Plug-in Hybrid Powertrain. 

The Defender 110 P400e PHEV is available in S, SE, HSE, X-Dynamic SE, X-Dynamic HSE, X, and XS Edition trim lines, with a host of optional accessories (such as a raised air intake, extended mud flaps, and a side-mounted storage box, for example) available for ultimate personalisation. With an overall length of 5,018mm (including the spare wheel on the back door), and a width of 2,008mm (with mirrors folded), along with a maximum height of 1,967mm, the Defender PHEV exudes terrific road presence. However, it is the wheelbase measurement of 3,022mm that is important in terms of interior spaciousness. Other important figures of interest to potential buyers will be the Approach angle of 30.1-degrees, a Departure angle of 37.7-degrees, and a Ramp angle of 22.0-degrees – all of which apply when the Defender PHEV is fitted with air suspension. Additionally, a ride height of 218mm is also beneficial to drivers going off road, as is the ability to wade through water up to a depth of 900mm (with electronic air suspension). The Defender 110 comes with 5 seats as standard, with the option of a ‘Jump Seat’ located between the driver and passenger seats in order to accommodate a sixth occupant when necessary. When not in use, the middle seat can be folded down in order to use the cup holders incorporated within. The P400e combines a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine with a 19.2kWh battery, resulting in an all-electric range of up to 44kms. As is the case with all PHEVs, you do have to plug it in as often as possible in order to achieve decent fuel efficiency. Charging the battery at a 7.4kW wall box home charger will take around 3 hours (10-100%), while charging via a domestic socket will take up to 7 hours. Unusually for a PHEV, the P400e has the ability to be rapid-charged at a DC unit, cutting the time to top up to 80% to just 30 minutes.

Spacious Cabin.

In the spacious cabin of the Defender there is plenty of head and shoulder room for all occupants.  The cabin looks ultra-modern, rugged, versatile, and supremely comfortable, with high-quality materials used throughout. The standard 696-litre boot capacity can be expanded to 1,759-litres when the rear seats are folded down, and this takes into account the space allocated to make way for the 19.2wkWh battery. In traditional Land Rover fashion, there are lots of useful storage spaces dotted around the cabin, and there is a fantastic view out of the windows – irrespective of where you are seated within the vehicle. The 11.4” central touchscreen is easy to use, as are the rotary dials for the heating & ventilation, and many more functions besides.

Test Vehicle.

My Land Rover Defender test vehicle was a 110 P400e PHEV 5-seat SUV in high-spec ‘X’ trim, and it was fitted with an optional ‘jump seat’ between the two front seats, bringing the total number of permitted occupants up to 6. Finished in Santorini Black metallic paintwork, it had the ability to turn heads in traffic, while its upmarket Khaki Resist upholstery with ebony interior looked fabulous. With a combined power output of 404PS (399bhp) and 640Nm of torque, it is fair to say that the Defender PHEV never feels short of power, despite its size and weight. In fact, with so much power on tap, the 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in a sportscar-like 5.4-seconds, on its way to an electronically-limited top speed of 191km/h. The petrol/electric combination in the Defender PHEV means it has the potential to consume as little as 2.5-litres of petrol for every 100km driven on a WLTP combined driving cycle, with its official Co2 emissions figure of 58-70g/km resulting in annual road tax of just €150. The instantly-available pulling power of the electric motors will be of immense benefit when venturing off-road or when towing a braked trailer up to 3,500kg. The silence of the Defender PHEV in EV mode is incredible and, when the four-cylinder petrol engine kicks into life, it is barely noticeable. The driving position behind the electrically-operated steering wheel is terrific, and is a world apart from the old Defender. The overall feeling within the cabin is one of quality, refinement, prestige and comfort, and it truly is a wonderful place to spend time in. The Defender has the kind of handling prowess that the old Defender could have only dreamed of, and its excellent steering set-up is the polar opposite to the vague and wandering system in its predecessor. The Terrain Response 2 system in the new Defender consists of drive modes for Ruts, Grass, Gravel, Snow, Mud, Sand and Rocks, along with a Wading Mode also. Key standard features include dual-zone climate control, 20” alloy wheels with a 20” full-size spare wheel (tailgate door-mounted), all-season tyres, LED headlights with Auto High Beam Assist, keyless entry, Open Differential with Torque Vectoring by Braking, cruise control with speed limiter, front passenger seat & rear seat ISOFIX, orange-coloured exposed rear recovery eyes, Trailer Stability Assist, Head-Up Display, 3D surround camera, 360-degree parking aid, and a sliding panoramic roof, along with a host of advanced driver assistance systems, convenience features and cutting-edge infotainment tech.

Verdict, Pricing & Warranty.

The new Land Rover Defender PHEV Passenger SUV is refined, versatile and is full of off-road tech which makes it capable of handling every adverse situation imaginable. It is ultra-modern, luxurious and great to drive, and it wears its Land Rover badge with pride. Prices for the new Defender PHEV Passenger SUV start at  €87,727 with my test vehicle specification priced from €126,110. Every new Land Rover comes complete with the reassurance of a 5 Year/150,000km manufacturer’s warranty, along with service-activated roadside assistance for 3 years.

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