When Land Rover first launched the Defender in September 2019, people had a lot to say about it.
With the introduction of the new 2021 model Defender, the purists who never really like the rounded and modernized design of the new Defender will have even more reason to dislike it. For the 2021 model year, Land Rover has given the Defender a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Yes, meet the first ever Defender hybrid.
Called the P400e, the Defender PHEV uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine paired to an electric motor producing a combined output of 404 horsepower. This makes it the most powerful variant of the Defender yet, accelerating from 0 to 100km/h in just 5.6 seconds. In electric mode alone, it can do up to 43 km on a single charge. Thanks to the electric motor, Land Rover claims fuel consumption has been reduced to 3.3L/100km or around 30km/L.
Along with the new hybrid powertrain, Land Rover also introduced a new diesel engine. The 3.0-liter turbo-diesel inline-six produces 300 HP and 650 Nm torque and is equipped with mid-hybrid technology.
The Defender PHEV and the new diesel mill will be available on the four-door 110 series and the new two-door 90 series. Yes, after a very long delay, Land Rover has finally launched the two-door Defender 90. Compared to the 110, the 90 measures in 43.7cm shorter and boasts a break-over angle of 32 degrees, 3 more than the four-door Defender. With more compact proportions and improved off-road capability, the 90 makes for a better off-roader on paper.
Design-wise, the 90 still looks the same as the 110 albeit missing two rear doors. The British marque offers the same trims and options on both the 90 and 110 Defender. For 2021, there’s a new trim level called X-Dynamic which bridges the gap between the Defender X and the base Defender. It features gloss black wheel arches, rocker panels, and silver skid plates.
Despite being a lot shorter, Land Rover still offers the 90 with a choice of 5 or 6 seats. The 6-seater configuration is done by fitting a bench seat in the first row. Not the best choice for overlanding if you plan on bringing your family along. Then again, that’s where the 110 comes which still has all of the off-roading capabilities as the two-door model.
What do you think of a plug-in hybrid Defender – ingenious or sacrilege? Let us know in the comments below.