First versions of the new Land Rover Defender 90 short-wheelbase (SWB) will hit Australian driveways during October, just a few months after first iterations of the longer 110 lob in August.
The first batch of Defender 90s will comprise 100 cars, all in a specification called P400 First Edition, painted Pangea Green with a Fuji White contrasting roof for maximum retro appeal.
The P400 moniker denotes the installment of an 'Ingenium' inline-six petrol engine, outputting 294kW and 550Nm, giving the Defender 90 First Edition a 0-100km/h time of just six seconds. This ain’t your tweedy Grandpa’s old axe.
JLR claims the 90’s shorter wheelbase and smaller overhangs make it “the most capable Land Rover ever made”, even better off the beaten path than the 110 or the comparatively primitive predecessor.
Inside, thanks to a nifty front-centre jump seat, the Defender 90 has room for six people “in a body shorter than many compact family cars”.
While pricing for the First Edition 90 hasn’t been revealed, based on the $102,500 (before on-road costs) price point for the 110 First Edition model we would expect a just-under-$100k starting point might be worth speculating upon.
Expect the 90 First Edition to get features including premium LED headlights, 20-inch wheels in A/T tyres, metal tread-plates, leather-and-textile seats, a heated steering wheel, 10-inch infotainment screen, 400Q Meridian sound system, a 360-degree parking camera, the full list of driver-assistance active safety features, electronic air suspension, and Terrain Response.
Meanwhile other versions of the Defender 90 are slated to go on sale from December as MY21-delivered models, and you can expect a similar breadth of variants as in the 110, kicking off with the eponymous 90 Defender, climbing to the 90 S, 90 SE, and 90 X. We understand the HSE may not be offered on the 90.
We’d bank on the 90 models being a few grand cheaper than the 110s, which are priced between $69,990 to $75,900 (depending on engine) for the base model, $83,800 to $95,700 for the S, $91,300 and $103,100 for the SE, and $137,100 for the X. All before on-road costs.
Based on a configurator page we've seen, the base Defender 90 looks likely to have the D240 177kW/430Nm diesel engine (not the 147kW used in the base 110), comparing it to the $75,900 Defender 110 D240 model. This indicates the 90’s starting price will be about $72k-$73k.
In terms of spec, we can work off this as a guide.
Base D240 90s should have as standard LED headlights, steel wheels, off-road tyres, powered fabric seats, a 10-inch touchscreen with phone mirroring and navigation, a 180W audio system, 3D surround camera, Wade Sensing, AEB, lane-keeping assist, traffic sign recognition, AWD, coil springs, a two-speed transfer box, and Terrain Response software.
The mid-range 90 S with D240 or (221kW/400Nm petrol) P300 engines should add Auto High Beam Assist, 19-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and gear shifter centre console, leather and textile seats, and uprated Interactive Driver Display infotainment.
The next-rung 90 SE with the (294kW/550Nm petrol) P400 engine should add keyless access, 20-inch alloy wheels, a digital rear-view mirror, electric steering column, blind-spot monitor, and 400W Meridian sound system.
Expect the 90 X range-topper P400 to add a contrasting roof with panoramic glass, orange brake calipers, Matrix LED headlights, dark grey 20s, Windsor leather with seat heating and cooling, 700W audio system, head-up display, Terrain Response 2, and air suspension.
JLR Australia claims that its local site has experienced “extraordinary levels of traffic” wanting to check out the Defender, with more than 50 per cent of total site visits being for this reborn icon.
“Customer expressions of interest are the highest recorded for any new model Land Rover launched locally,” its local arm claims.