One of the most famous ads of last year was three Land Rover Defender SUVs—mid-air in a jump—being chased by motorcycles and a helicopter. That sequence is part of the forthcoming James Bond film ‘No Time To Die’, earlier scheduled to release late-2020, around the same time the Defender was supposed to be launched in India.
While the film’s release has been delayed due to the coronavirus, the Defender arrived on time last year. We now drive it in and around Delhi (on regular roads, like most owners will do).
If your idea of an SUV is to make a statement and turn heads around wherever you drive it, nothing really comes close to the five-metre-long Defender—not even Volvo XC90, Mercedes-Benz GLS, BMW X7 or Audi Q8 (all of which, I think, have a more luxurious cabin).
That is not to say the cabin of the Defender is spartan—the SE trim I drove has all creature-comfort features expected of in this class of SUVs. Just that even luxury feels a bit rugged once inside the cabin—from your sitting position to switches to the shape of the steering wheel to even the material used.
Off-roader it definitely is. From hill-launch assist to configurable terrain response to all-terrain progress control, it’s got enough bells and whistles to drive on any kind of road, or off it, supported by enough engine power (the SE trim I drove has 1997cc petrol engine with 296bhp and 400Nm). Other engine options are bigger, and more powerful—3.0-litre petrol and 3.0-litre diesel.
Its water-wading depth is 900mm, or about 3 feet. Also, while its ground clearance in regular driving conditions is a tall 218mm, in off-road mode it is a huge 291mm, or about 1 foot. It comes with the Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment system—it’s a dream to operate and you can control all features of the vehicle via the screen. Pivi Pro also has its own battery, so the system is always on.
Ex-showroom prices start at Rs 80.56 lakh, going up to Rs 1.08 crore.
Specifications (Petrol SE)
Engine: 1997cc petrol
Power: 221 kW (296 bhp)
Torque: 400 Nm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Length: 5,018 mm
Wheelbase: 3,022 mm
Wading depth: 900 mm (about 3 feet)
Go-anywhere features: All you can think of
Price (model driven): Rs 86.61 lakh
Price (all models): Rs 80.56 lakh to Rs 1.08 crore
(Prices are ex-showroom; the Defender is also available in 3.0-litre petrol and 3.0-litre diesel engines)
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