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Frankfurt Motor Show 2019: Iconic Land Rover Defender returns

AFTER years of concepts, rumours, teaser images and countless leaks, Land Rover has at last revealed the new Defender.

The original Defender went out of production in 2016, with a dedicated off-roader-sized gap in the British firm’s line-up since then.

This new version – revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show – tackles that and is instantly recognisable as a Defender thanks to its boxy silhouette. Its design takes on a modern look though with enclosed LED headlights, softer details and a distinctive rear light design.

It looks set to be just as capable as its iconic forefather, if not more so, thanks to some clever new tech. Underpinning the off-roader is a new ‘D7x’ platform, based on an aluminium monocoque, which Land Rover says is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame chassis set-ups.

Debuting on the new Defender is ‘Configurable Terrain Response’, which allows vehicle settings to be fine-tuned to cope with any particular surface — although pre-set options are there for beginners to off-roading too. The firm’s ‘ClearSight’ technology features as well, which uses a camera set-up to display the ground underneath the bonnet on the central screen.

A spartan approach is taken inside. Structural elements are exposed — both to save weight by doing away with materials that would normally cover these as well as showcase its rugged roots — while rubberised flooring shows the function-over-form approach Land Rover is taking.

It’s not entirely a blast from the past, though. A touchscreen infotainment system features with over-the-air software updates to remain futureproof.

Available in short-wheelbase 90 or long-wheelbase 110 guises, the British off-roader is capable of seating seven in its largest form (six in the 90). Folding the rear-most row results in 1,075 litres of boot space — rising to 2,380 with the middle row flattened. Those looking for an open-air experience can opt for a fabric roof, too.

Powertrain choices at launch consist of two petrol options — a six-cylinder and four-cylinder — along with two four-cylinder diesels. Petrol offerings also use mild-hybrid technology, with a plug-in hybrid unit set to join the range next year.

Five trims will be offered for the Defender – namely S, SE, HSE, First Edition and Defender X. Pricing starts at £45,240 for 110 models, with standard equipment across the range including LED head- and taillights, 18-inch steel wheels, heated windscreen, 10-inch screen supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control and a 3D 360-degree camera system.

Order books are set to open imminently for the reborn Land Rover Defender 110, with first deliveries expected in December. The 90 variants are due mid-2020, with pricing expected to begin at £40,920.

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