Customisation is in vogue at the moment, but choice can be seriously confusing. In our configurator challenge, we let the CarAdvice team loose on a manufacturer’s website to create their ideal spec of a certain model.
This week, we've taken on the 2020 Land Rover Defender.
Let us know what you think in the comments, and which cars you’d like to see next!
Scott Collie, Journalist
Alright. Cards on the table, I wish this was a '90' but Land Rover won't let us configure that yet.
Although the new Defender is decidedly more upmarket than its long-running predecessor, I've tried to eschew over-the-top options and add-ons in favour of a functional, subtle design.
This is an SE, which means it gets all the important technology and interior bits without going over-the-top, and I've opted for the D240 diesel engine. It wouldn't be a Defender without the clatter of a diesel engine, if you ask me.
I've gone for Acorn Blue with a white roof and white steelies on the outside, because it just looks... right. Forget the chunky wheel arch protection, there's no need for it. I have, however, opted for a front bash plate, rear scuff plate and the 'chequer body protection kit'.
The first Defender I drove had chequered bonnet panels, so we'll call that a nostalgic addition. Under the skin, my Defender has the advanced off-road package and an active rear differential, because it's an off-roader above all else.
Inside, I've gone for pale seats and the walk-through option. No central front seat, no console, just acres of space. Rubber floor mats are the only other option fitted.
Oh, and the first thing I'd do is fit a roof rack – but the Land Rover configurator isn't showing it. Boo!
Sam Purcell, Off-Road Editor
Talk about being in a difficult situation. I really want to like the new Land Rover Defender but am so infatuated with the old one, I’m finding it hard to balance my feelings. I don’t know what to think. Searching for clarity, I hit up the configurator.
I chose green over white because I like it, and it’s a very traditional Land Rover colour. White roof, because it keeps the bloody thing cooler when parked in the sun, and is another chance for a subtle nod to an old one. This self-healing business sounds interesting, too. I’d look forward to putting that to the test.
I was really tempted by the more powerful petrol engine in this Defender, having more than three digits worth of kilowatts under the bonnet is very unlike the old ones. This was until I realised you could only spec 19-inch wheels with this model. Presumably the brake rotors are larger, and inhibit the fitment of smaller diameter wheels.
For me personally, 18-inch wheels are only just acceptable with the right tyre diameter, 17-inches would be a much more suitable choice.
19-inch wheels, especially on a Defender, are an absolute no-no. That means I’m stuck with a stinky diesel and it’s complex, another-thing-to-worry-about AdBlue emissions control system. A compromise, at best.
While many might like steel wheels on a Defender, I chose alloys. Modern alloys are strong, you’ll save a couple of kgs, and this is a new four-wheel drive after all. Who am I kidding; First chance I get, the factory rolling stuff will be straight onto Gumtree in favour for some wheels with the widest allowable offset increase, the narrowest diameter, and some taller and wider all-terrain tyres with light-truck construction.
There’s nothing too crazy on the inside for me: cloth seats, rubber floor mats and a bit of a white highlight across the dash. I opted for leather on the steering wheel and gearstick, just because.
The Explorer pack went on, mostly for the snorkel and good-looking roof rack. That weird box on the side might end up on Gumtree as well. I looks like somebody glued a suitcase onto the car like it’s some kind of prank. The fake chequer plate can go directly to hell, but I really like the idea of the front dickie seat.
What the configurator doesn't let you do so far is choose between airbag suspension and coil springs. I would choose airbags, because it would make the Defender much more stable and capable off-road. It’s more complex and less reliable, yes.
But steel springs and independent suspension means there will be zero flex on offer. And that makes me sad. There’s also stuff like a winch and recovery gear to consider, but I’ll likely see what the aftermarket industry can cook up before deciding.
Donal Stott, Head of Content, Drive.com.au
Okay... so last time I went four-wheel driving was in an old LR110, but the new Defender looks like a pretty significant update. I wish the old one had had aircon.
I prefer darker colours on the interior and found some of the options in the configurator, well... horrible. I stuck to the dark options on the interior while going for an understated two-tone outside and had a bit of fun picking the biggest and most ridiculous wheels.
Plenty of creature comforts were on offer as well, so I packed this thing full of features... Hence the whopping final price.
Mandy Turner, Podcast Host and Road Tester
I haven't never been this excited for an off-roader since the Jimny. This thing is seriously cool, and I'm sure I would join the majority of my colleagues in saying we cannot wait until it lobs in Australia.
With my Defender configuration, I've gone with the theme of camping in my teardrop trailer on a road trip to the country with my cat. I'm not joking.
I've picked the Defender 110 with the D200 2.0-litre diesel engine as I will be doing some long kilometres in this baby. I've ticked the Country Pack because mud flaps.
The first feature that got my attention were the 'steel' wheels. All along I was adamant on choosing them until the Gondwana Stone paint caught my eye, and the wheels just didn't suit the colour.
I've gone with the 20-inch satin dark grey alloys instead. To tow my teardrop camper, I've optioned the electrically-deployable tow bar to save my shins when the trailer isn't in use.
I could regret getting the light coloured Acorn Windsor leather seats, but they look so good! I've said yes to the Pet Transportation Pack which includes a foldable pet carrier and spill-resistant water bowl at an eye-watering £479. I feel my cat, Smudge, would turn her nose up at it though. Cats.
Why pack an esky when you can option a centre armrest cooler for a cold beer by the campfire? It's cheaper than the pet package. Try and work that one out.
Lastly, because I like nonsensical things, I've optioned Union Jack valve caps, bringing my Defender to a total of £59,550 pounds, with £16,180 worth of options.
Now to load up the teardrop with an air mattress and wrangle spoilt Smudge into her expensive pet carrier...
Mat McNay, NSW/QLD Sales Director
I'm a tragic fan of the original Defender, and I've been talking some smack about the new design... but I think it's a grower. After trawling hundreds of pictures yesterday and now configuring this beautiful black beast I'm quickly becoming a fan.
What you see here is a base diesel with the Adventure Pack. As much as I'd love the supercharged Inline 6, it doesn't come with those heritage steel wheels – and the 6-cylinder would be an expensive way to get up and down the coast.
Other accessories added are: the off-road pack, a front jump seat, the cold climate pack (heated everything), black pack, roof racks, air compressor and the driver assist pack.
Those few accessories haven't made it cheap though, adding £20,000 to the price and making this a £65k beast.
With Land Rover having released a Discovery panel van there's hope we'll see that body type in the Defender too... fingers crossed.
James Wolstenholme, Engineering Lead
It's been a while since I've experienced so much enthusiasm for a vehicle release. I'm currently a proud Prado 150 owner but I fear this new Defender may see me offloading my beloved off-roader next year.
While I love the proportions of the 90 (and if were configuring this 11 years ago I would have definitely gone with it), I've gone with the 110 due to the practicalities required by a family of 5 bring, and their impact on any decision making process. To power it I've selected the petrol engine with 300 horses, which should make it relatively (dare I say?) quick.
That Defender Green is beautiful - both in the Pangea externals and in the leather Khaki Windsor seats with Ebony interior option. I expect to find myself regularly off the tarmac so have opted for a rugged (yet refined) off-road-ready Defender.
I'm sticking with the steel wheels (though may paint them black aftermarket) and have gone for the Off-Road and Advanced Off-Road Packs.
Extra bits added to tackle the great outdoors include a raised air intake, the chequer body protection kit, integrated air compressor, expedition roof rack, and a tow strap - for helping out Jeeps when they get in trouble.
I reckon the standard interior is anything but, so only a few extra niceties have been added:
- Meridian sound system to enjoy that beautiful surround sound wherever I roam
- Three-row seating for extra passengers (typically friends of the rugrats)
- Fridge in the centre console, because cold drinks
- Park heat with remote control because those alpine mornings can get pretty chilly
- And because the boot is frequently full of sports / camping gear, I've added quite possibly the best invention of the decade: ClearSight interior rear view mirror
What's missing? A bull/roo bar. Apparently this will appear in the configurator closer to the release date, but I'll be adding one when it does.
James Wong, Journalist
The new Defender really appeals to me because it's a bit of old-school meets new-school, and of course it's available in green!
I've opted for a Defender SE in Pangea Green exterior paint with the white 18-inch steelies, contrasted with a black roof finish, black roof rails, privacy glass, an electronically-deployable tow bar, and the Country Pack – which brings accessories like front and rear 'Classic' mud flaps, a full-height luggage partition, portable rinse system, bright rear scuff plate and plastic wheel arch protectors. You gotta be ready for anything, really.
For the cabin, I've ticked the box for smoother 'Windsor' leather in 'Acorn' beige – yes it'll get dirty, but I like the airy and earthy colour scheme – 5+2 seat layout, rough-cut Walnut veneer, the optional three-zone climate control with air quality sensor and cabin air ionisation (protect the family from those pesky smells and spores in the wilderness).
As for option packages, there's the Advanced Off-Road Capability Pack (Terrain Response 2 with All Terrain Progress Control), the Comfort and Convenience Pack (premium interior lighting, front centre console fridge, wireless phone charger) and the Driver Assist Pack (adaptive cruise control and rear collision monitor).
Power comes from the D240 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel (179kW/430Nm), good for a 9.1-second dash to 100km/h and a claimed fuel consumption rating of 9.0-9.6L/100km.
While it may not be the most hardcore of Defenders in this Configurator Challenge, I think my specification is a great balance of capability and comfort, without being outlandishly styled to look like a Dakar Rally contender.
Go on, I know you want it.