Land Rover Defender drops six-cylinder petrol, gains three-pot PHEV

3 weeks ago - 8 May 2024, autocar
Land Rover Defender drops six-cylinder petrol, gains three-pot PHEV
Updated Defender also adds more powerful diesel and a new V8, along with interior and trim tweaks

The Land Rover Defender line-up has been shuffled, with the addition of a luxurious new seven-seater, a more potent diesel engine – and a plug-in hybrid that uses a three-cylinder engine. 

The revamp comes four years after the launch of the L663-generation Defender and, while not as substantial as a full-blown facelift, ushers in a range of important mechanical and cosmetic tweaks, along with a reorganisation of the trim structure. 

The headline change for the updated Defender comes under the bonnet, where the D300 diesel engine has been swapped for the more potent D350 from the Range Rover, boosting outputs by 49bhp and 37lb ft – to 345bhp and 516lb ft – with the result that "everything from overtaking to towing is even more effortless", says JLR. 

JLR has not revealed any performance figures for the new engine, but no doubt it will improve slightly on the D300's 7.0sec 0-62mph time. 

So too has the P400 Ingenium straight-six petrol been replaced by a 419bhp version of JLR's supercharged 5.0-litre V8, and the plug-in hybrid Defender swaps its two-litre four-cylinder engine for the P300e arrangement used in the Evoque and Discovery Sport PHEVs - based around a 1.5-litre triple and producing 305bhp all up.

The changes have been made in order to make the Defender compliant with Euro 6e emissions legislation, so no doubt the petrol straight six will soon also be retired from the Discovery, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport line-ups. 

Chief among the cabin upgrades is the introduction of a new Captain Chairs pack for the three-row Defender 130, which swaps the middle bench for a pair of individual armchairs – with access in between for the rearmost three seats. 

Heated and ventilated as standard, and with easy access to a pair of cupholders in the middle, the captain chairs are said to bring "front-row comfort to those travelling in row two", and are available on Defender X and V8 models.

They can also be added to the Defender X-Dynamic HSE as part of a new Signature Interior pack, which brings 14-way electrically adjustable front seats, heated third-row seats, Windsor leather and Kvadrat upholstery, and a bespoke colour scheme for the interior trim.

The Defender is now available in a simplified range of trims comprising S, X-Dynamic SE, X-Dynamic HSE, X and V8 variants, with the same choice of 90, 110 and 130 bodystyles.

There is also a new 'Sedona' edition of the 110 on offer for the next year. It wears bespoke red paintwork, a black trim pack and – optionally – a bonnet decal depicting the rocky terrain of the eponymous desert town in Arizona. 

Prices start from £53,310 for the Defender S 90 and £60,470 for the smallest version of the commercial Hard Top variant. The range-topping 130 costs from £81,585. 

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