After waiting for decades, the Land Rover Defender is now available in India.
And this time, in its newly launched, more capable, Hybrid avatar.
The Defender was born out of the British automobile company Rover's post-World War II need for a go-anywhere vehicle and not the regular luxury cars that it manufactured at that time. The British government would only permit the production of vehicles which would help rebuild Britain after the war.
The first prototype was built on the JEEP platform with an engine from the Rover P3.
This vehicle was tested by ploughing fields with its driveshaft. And it had a centrally placed steering wheel instead of a left or a right-hand drive.
The prototype was then modified and the steering was shifted to the left and aluminium alloy was used in the bodywork; The British government was rationing steel after the war.
The result was a much bigger, wider, heavier and faster vehicle which did not use any of the Jeep components it started out with.
Come 1948 and the first Landrover was born, christened the 'Series I'. A car that could withstand harsh conditions on the road and withstand Britain's temperamental weather. It would not rust as the body was built with aluminium.
With an 80 inch wheelbase, 50bhp 1595cc petrol engine from the Rover P3, pick-up body, the Series I was then priced at £450.
Rover tried exporting the Defender at the end of 1948, but it was expensive as it attracted purchase tax and only 641 were built for export.
The Defender underwent many changes over the years. In 2008 the Tatas bought Jaguar Land Rover, but there was no sign that the vehicle would be launched in India.
In January 2016. Land Rover announced it was phasing out the Defender because it could not abide by the escalating safety regulations and the changing marketplace made its sustainability impossible.
Come 2019 and Landrover started releasing images of a new Defender being test DRIVEN.
The new Defender was test driven for 1,200,000 km over all kinds of terrain in Kenya.
WATCH the 2020 Land Rover Defender being test driven in Kenya. Video: Kind courtesy Jaguar Land Rover
On October 15, 2020, the Land Rover Defender 2020 was launched across India.
Offered with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, producing 221 kW (300 PS) and 400 Nm of torque, the Defender is available in two distinct body styles: The very sporty 90 (3-door) and the versatile 110 (5-door).
The Defender 90 is priced from ₹73.98 lakh onwards while the Defender 110 is priced from ₹79.94 lakh (ex-showroom India).
Deliveries of the Defender 110 have begun while deliveries of the Defender 90 will commence from Q1 of FY 2021.
But that is not all.
This capable all-rounder had one more surprise left.
So on December 15, 2020, JLR announced that it has opened bookings of its first Plug-In Hybrid in India, the New Defender P400e.
Combining the same powerful 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine and a 105 kW electric motor, the P400e develops 297 kW of combined power and 640 Nm of combined torque.
This helps the Defender accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 5.6 seconds and achieve a top speed of 209 km/h.
The Defender P400e has a 19.2 kWh battery which can be charged at home or office using a 15A socket or a 7.4 kW AC wall box charger, supplied complimentary with the vehicle.
Offered only with the 5-door 110 option, the prices for the hybrid Land Rover Defender is yet to be announced, But it's likely to be higher than the standard petrol powered models.
The Land Rover Defender was to be showcased in No Time to Die, the latest Bond movie which was to have released in April, but has been stalled because of the pandemic. Watch it in the video below:
WATCH the 2020 Land Rover Defender in No Time to Die. Video: Kind courtesy Jaguar Land Rover