When Land Rover revived the Defender, it certainly had a tough pair of shoes to fill in regards to the iconic original that preceded it. The rugged SUV began appearing in U.S. showrooms earlier this year, but it was only initially offered in long-wheelbase 110 guise (the 90 being delayed by COVID-19.) But the brand claimed that the short-wheelbase model was waiting in the wings, and at last that model has finally arrived — along with some welcome updates and a new variant to boot.
The big thing about the two-door 90 is it has a smaller wheelbase than the 110, which means that off-road enthusiasts will be treated to a slightly better 32-degree breakover angle. This is a slight improvement over the bigger four-door 110, and that also puts it within shooting range of equally rugged rivals like the Jeep Wrangler.
However, don’t mistake the 90 for being the least capable hauler of the family, with Land Rover revealing that the model can be equipped to haul either five or six passengers. That sixth passenger is included thanks to a cleverly engineered front bench seat that can transform the unused sixth passenger slot into a large center console when the space is not in use. Other than the shortened wheelbase, the core elements of the SUV remain unchanged, which is just fine with us since it still does a good job blending select elements from the past and the present together into a cohesive look.
A more noticeable change that buyers will definitely notice is the addition of the all new Defender X-Dynamic trim. Designed to be a stylish middle ground between the base and the range topping Defender X models, X-Dynamic models get a number of features that combine the best of both worlds. Gloss black accents on the wheels and rocker panels help give a modern flair to the Defender, while the skid plates provide a welcome splash of contrast to the broader canvas, and will make you think really hard before taking the X-Dynamic down demanding trails.
The interior of the X-Dynamic doesn’t stray too far from the core theme, but the seats are slathered in Robustec synthetic accents versus traditional leather or leatherette materials. Robustec was designed with off-roading and rigorous use in mind, and the material is supposed to help reduce the amount of wear and tear on the seats, especially after a long day of slogging through messy trails. Buyers looking to add an X-Dynamic to their garage will be happy to hear that it still keeps the traditional Land Rover options ladder intact, with S, SE, and HSE packages all being available to help craft and hone the Defender to their personal tastes.
The 2021 Defender 90 and 110 are available to order now from your local Land Rover dealer, with the 2021 versions just being added alongside the 2020 110 model in the online configurator for the U.S. market. The base 90 model will have an MSRP of $46,100, with that price getting you a model with standard steel rims and an eye towards rugged dependability. X-Dynamic models will have a base price of $57,800 which is a bit of a premium over the base model. As expected, prices only climb higher from here, with the range topping Defender X trim starting at $80,500 when equipped to a 90 model. The bigger 110 has a slightly higher $50,500 base sticker, with X versions of those having a wallet busting figure of $83,000.
Land Rover did not reveal an exact timeline for the 90’s arrival to the U.S. but the first units could begin arriving later this year, with a full roll out to all showrooms being completed in the middle of 2021.