The Land Rover Defender’s transformation from tough, robust and gruff to scrub, inexperienced and surprisingly serene has been accomplished with the addition of a plug-in hybrid mannequin.
Gone are the beat ‘em straight panels, rudimentary inside and rumbly diesel of the unkempt previous workhorse – qualities now not befitting a automobile now working in £60k territory and with gross sales aspirations past those that merely reside and work within the countryside.
This model combines a full of life petrol engine with an electrical motor and battery pack, and is simply accessible as a 5-door, mid-wheelbase 110.
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That excludes the 2-seat business Hard Top and the compact 90, with the latter’s shorter chassis providing inadequate house to accommodate the batteries.
In principle, PHEV energy provides motorists a handful of potential benefits over all-electrical.
For starters, the inclusion of a combustion engine makes it much better suited to towing, and having a straightforward-to-replenish 90-litre tank eliminates vary anxiousness.
Compared with pure combustion, there’s additionally the potential for decrease working prices if the electrical aspect of the powertrain is totally exploited by way of common charging, thus maintaining petrol use to a minimal.
And, with the 2 energy sources mixed, it might present zesty efficiency.
The catch is the value. This mannequin begins at a whisker below £66,000 and our take a look at automobile had £8,000 value of typical extras, making it a number of grand costlier than a six-cylinder equal.
Company automobile consumers may be capable to offset a few of that by way of tax financial savings – profit-in-type is nineteen% – although there are sweeter monetary perks for going totally electrical.
Land Rover Defender 110 P400e
- Engine 2-litre petrol
- Max energy 404hp
- Max torque 640Nm
- Transmission Eight-speed auto AWD
- Claimed mixed economic system 72-86mpg
- Economy as examined 31mpg
- Electric vary 25-27 miles
- 0-60mph 5.4sec
- Top pace 119mph
- Weight 2,600kg
- Towing capability 3,000kg
- Starting worth £65,915
- Price as examined £73,755
How does it look?
It’s an enormous lump. At 2.1m huge, 2m tall and 5m lengthy with the spare wheel on the again, it feels extra like a earlier technology Discovery in stature, dwarfing the unique Defender.
It’s heavy too, with the battery and motor including about 300kg for a complete that’s close to 2.6t.
The iconic boxy silhouette remains to be there, albeit with a extra rounded waistline and flared wheel arches, and the khaki inexperienced of our take a look at automobile is pleasantly restrained in comparison with the all-black variations that appear to monopolise seller forecourts.
How does it work?
While the remainder of the Defender vary stays reliant on uncooked combustive energy, the PHEV mixes petrol with electrical.
The senior social gathering within the powertrain division is a turbocharged 2-litre, 4-cylinder Ingenium engine that, at 296hp, isn’t any shrinking violet. The identical engine is used within the petrol-solely P300 mannequin.
It can be utilized in unison with the 139hp electrical motor to ship a mixed most output of 404hp and 640Nm, which ranks just under the hench V8 mannequin by way of energy and tempo.
The motor is fed by a 19.2kWh lithium-ion battery buried below the boot flooring. Officially, this ought to be sufficient for a 27-mile electrical-solely odyssey in “EV” mode, however we discovered 20 miles a extra practical goal. That’s a way shy of equal autos from Volvo and BMW.
“Hybrid” is the default mode. This trusts the automobile’s laptop with deciding when and the right way to flip-flop between the ability sources, which it does virtually imperceptibly.
There’s a slight delay on energy uptake as it really works out which, or each, parts of the powertrain to make use of; however as soon as determined, it heads forth with puppyish enthusiasm.
There’s additionally a mode referred to as “Save” that maintains battery cost by solely participating the engine, with minor power prime-ups by the use of regenerative braking.
Charging is usually a chore, however is value getting accustomed to, because it’s the one strategy to claw again the upper preliminary funding over an ordinary mannequin.
A 50kW speedy charger is the one you need, pumping the battery again to 80% full in half an hour.
A 7kW wall field does the identical job in two hours, whereas a home three-pin socket is an in a single day affair, at seven hours.
Usefully, it’s attainable to set the time that it begins and stops charging to focus on off-peak charges.
Economy relies upon completely on what you’re as much as.
A bit of jaunt to city and again after a full recharge will price peanuts, however lengthy hauls throughout which the battery provide is shortly exhausted could be costly – to the tune of about 30mpg.
What’s the inside like?
One of the explanations for the lofty record worth is that the PHEV is simply accessible in Land Rover’s X-Dynamic trim or above.
Among the raft of normal package at this degree are 20in alloys, heated and cooled reminiscence entrance seats, and the agency’s Terrain Response 2 system.
The end is a cross between luxurious and pretend workaday. In locations, it’s eminently sensible, with wipe-clear plastic footwells, helpful seize handles, and storage areas in abundance.
Everything feels stable and chunky, although not essentially in a £74k sort of method.
Front row seats are comfortable and surprisingly distant from one another, whereas the rear three get first rate headroom and legroom, plus entry to air-con controls and an excellent unfold of charging ports.
The boot is conveniently sq. however, with the ground raised by 30mm to accommodate the batteries, marginally smaller than the usual petrol and diesels.
As a end result, there’s no third row seating choice, although consumers can spec a “leap seat” that replaces the entrance centre console to extend carrying capability to 6.
For all its fripperies, this Defender – and the remainder of the vary, for that matter – is effectively geared up for correct off-roading.
It has everlasting 4-wheel drive, and the dual-pace switch field offers a low vary that may be pushed by both petrol or electrical, as the ability sources are clutched individually to the ZF eight-pace computerized transmission.
This, and settings for the centre and rear differentials, are managed by way of the Terrain Response 2 system.
As traditional there are numerous modes for driving on mud, sand and rocks, which alter the response of the throttle and transmission, in addition to a “low traction launch” setting.
Ground clearance is 218mm in street mode however 290mm with the air baggage totally inflated, remodeling the strategy angle from 30deg to 37.5deg and departure from 38deg to 40deg.
Wading depth is 900mm – 50mm up on coil-sprung variations – and our mannequin got here shod on Goodyear Wrangler AT tyres.
The one draw back is the decreased towing capability, down 500kg to three,000kg.
The present state of gas costs implies that PHEVs, for all their shortcomings, turn out to be extra interesting by the day.
For many rural consumers, the diesel will make extra sense – it’s cheaper to purchase, higher for towing, and accessible as a business Hard Top, in both 90 or 110 guise.
Likes and gripes
✔ Rapid charging customary
✔ Handles effectively
✔ Good off-street
✘ Poor economic system when the battery is depleted
✘ Reduced towing capability
A barely cheaper method into Land Rover’s PHEV household is the Discovery Sport P300e which, mercifully, you will get on the street for lower than £50,000.
It comes with a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine and 109hp electrical motor to supply a mixed 309hp and 540Nm.
It takes simply 6.2secs to get from 0-60mph, which is marginally slower than the Defender, and prime pace by way of the eight-pace computerized transmission is 130mph.
The largest distinction is that, just like the Range Rover Evoque PHEV, the electrical drivetrain runs the rear wheels solely, so it’s not attainable to have 4-wheel drive in EV mode.
Inside, it has the identical touchscreen because the Defender and many of the mod-cons, which come as a part of the R-Dynamic SE bundle.