Simply the best

0
106

For decades, Land Rover Defender has been all about pure off-road capabilities and a rugged look.

The Defender was first introduced in the 80’s and was based on the original Land Rover of 1948. It didn’t have the luxury you would expect from a British mark, and it wasn’t much talked about in terms of technology.

So for years, Defender has represented the most realistic, affordable, rugged and simplified Land Rover model compared to the flagship Range Rover, Discovery and even Freelander models. rice field. Well, that was until a whole new Defender came out.

The new Defender took a completely different shape and created a sensation at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The rugged, box-shaped design that the world is used to seeing has been removed and replaced with futuristic styling suitable for science fiction movies. Based on the DC100 concept, the new Defender is up-to-date and complies with global automotive regulations in terms of safety and the environment.

Defenders come in 90 and 110 (wheelbase lengths in inches) versions and are powered by 2.0-liter or 3.0-liter mild hybrid diesel engines. However, the price is high, ranging from THB 75.99 million to THB 8.69 million (compared to THB 6.5 million for Discovery 3.0 SE).

Then earlier this month, Land Rover Thailand introduced the latest additions to its Defender lineup-Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) Defender 110P400e, starting at THB 6999 million. We are the first media to promote Defender PHEV in Thailand, and the flow is as follows.

design

Enthusiastic fans of the original Defender will be scared to see the design of the new model. But perhaps not for the new generation of luxury SUV buyers in the US and China. They are expected to be willing to accept the modern version of this old 4×4 classic.

Yes, it still features an angular body design proposed by the original Defender, but the new model looks so Star Wars that you can’t guess which Land Rover model it really is without a badge.

Among the technical improvements are the monocoque architecture that replaces the body-on-frame construction and the independent coil suspension that replaces the live rigid axle found on older models.

The exterior styling is complex, with lots of detail around it and at the same time luxurious. The test vehicle also comes with a special accessory package that includes add-ons such as snorkels, roof racks, roof ladders, side steps, spare tire covers and side mount gear carriers. According to Land Rover, the roof can support over 100 kg of cargo on the move (300 kg when stationary).

Once inside, Star Wars elements are further enhanced, from the steering wheel and front console to the dashboard and door panels, with rugged bolthead decorations.

In addition to Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, the 10-inch center touch screen features 360-degree omnidirectional and ground views, allowing drivers to “see through” the hood when driving dangerous trucks.

Next to the control panel is a joystick-type gearshift lever for a variety of systems, from air conditioning to off-road mode.

The seats are comfortable both front and rear, ensuring ample space for all occupants. There is no sunroof, but there are two narrow glass openings at the rear of the roof that can brighten the room to some extent.

Opening the door-type tailgate reveals a highly functional luggage area with a power socket, fixed hooks and rubber lining.

The Defender PHEV does not have a 7-seater option as the battery occupies part of the luggage area space. I don’t care-having 7 people in a car can be pretty chaotic!

performance

The Defender PHEV is equipped with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with a turbocharger, can output about 300hp, and with a 105kW permanent magnet electric motor and a 19.2kWh battery, it raises the maximum total output to 404hp and 640Nm torque.

Despite weighing 2.6 tons, the Defender PHEV moves around quickly, and 0-100kph acceleration takes 5.6 seconds for the engine and electric motor to work together. The maximum speed is said to be 191kph. This is a fairly fast speed for a full-size off-road vehicle that is less aerodynamically visible. Land Rover says the optional 22-inch wheels increase the top speed to 209kph.

It takes about 7 hours to fully charge the battery through the home wall box, while 30 minutes for fast charging (50kW) up to 80%.

Lithium-ion batteries have enough grunts to bring the Defender PHEV to a top speed of 140kph in EV mode. On the other hand, the EV range is said to be 40-43km (WLTP), which helps reduce the average fuel consumption of the first 100km after a full charge to about 25kpl. But let’s face it-the Defender is a full size 4×4 and fuel economy is never the strongest point.

Nonetheless, the hybrid system is so functional that the driver can retain battery power for later use or use hybrid mode to let the system decide when to run on the EV. I can do it. For those who like to carry things on a trip, the Defender PHEV’s 3,000kg traction capacity helps.

I didn’t spend much time on the Defender PHEV. Land Rover was offered a short pre-launch drive in Ratchaburi Province, which has a customer-designed glamping facility. However, there were both on-road and off-road sections that truly demonstrated the strengths of the Defender PHEV.

I’ve driven an old Defender Td5 before (that was a long time ago) and loved what it was, including the uncomfortable ride. It was one of the best true off-road vehicles in my opinion, and the Defender deserved to stay in the jungle away from the civilized world.

But with the new Defender PHEV, that’s a different story. Equipped with electronic air suspension as standard, the vehicle height can be lowered by 40 mm and raised by 75 mm for off-road use (and even higher by 70 mm for extreme off-road use). The ride quality from the now independent suspension has been dramatically improved, and in fact it was very comfortable to ride the Defender PHEV on and off the road. The Defender also handled better than I expected on a country road in Ratchaburi and glide through corners with proper body control like a small crossover.

The Defender PHEV is the first Land Rover model with regenerative braking. Stopping power comes from an all-round disc with a 6-piston caliper on the front.

Most German luxury SUVs (and Swedish) appear to be better suited for on-road driving than off-road, but Land Rover confirms that defenders are there when the situation gets tougher. doing. It’s not just an SUV, it’s a serious 4×4.

For off-road driving, the Terrain Response 2 system has a variety of modes (and configurations), from gravel, mud and ruts to sand, rocks and wades (up to 900mm depth).

Raising the suspension increases the approach, breakover and departure angles to 37.5 degrees, 31 degrees and 40 degrees, respectively, ensuring high off-road capability.

Driving the defender off-road not only shows its full 4×4 potential, but also how comfortable it is while overcoming various obstacles along the route.

Conclusion

If you want to go off-road and need to choose one model from a group of luxury SUVs consisting of Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes Benz GLE, Volvo XC90, Land Rover Defender, my finger points to the defender increase. Before saying “Which?”

But on the other hand, I may hesitate if I have to pay for it. Driving is great and offers the best off-road performance, but at the 7 million baht entry point, the Defender PHEV is also the most expensive and its weakest point.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here