Again after 20 years, the Land Rover Defender is known as MotorTrend SUV of the Yr

Just like the Jeep Wrangler or Ford’s Bronco, the Defender is constructed to resist critical off-road use — regardless that many patrons will hardly ever take it past the suburbs. When it was first unveiled on the Frankfurt Motor Present in Germany in 2019, Land Rover boasted it had been subjected to “Excessive Occasion Take a look at” procedures that had been much more rigorous than these ordinarily used within the auto business.

MotorTrend editors had been impressed by the Defender’s efficiency on the street — in addition to off — and by its design, which gave a way of journey.

“You possibly can inform that Land Rover spent the additional cash to make the inside look rugged, but additionally be rugged,” stated editor-in-chief Mark Rechtin.

The brand new Defender has a contemporary design that carries styling cues from basic boxy Land Rovers. It is at the moment obtainable within the four-door Defender 110 model, with a beginning worth of about $50,000. The 2-door Defender 90 will likely be obtainable early subsequent yr with costs beginning at about $46,000.

Land Rover has a number of SUVs in its lineup with comparable exterior dimensions and costs, Rechtin stated, however the model manages to make every one attraction to a distinct form of buyer. The Defender will entice those that wish to go far off-road — or no less than seem like they do. All the identical, stated Rechtin, it drives effectively on pavement, too.

“I am certain there’s gonna be loads of individuals who won’t ever take it off-road, who simply wish to purchase it as a result of it is cool trying and there is nothing fallacious with that,” he stated.

To be eligible for MotorTrend’s award, an SUV mannequin needed to be fully new or considerably redesigned for the 2021 mannequin yr. Final yr’s winner was the Kia Telluride.
Land Rover unveils all new version of its iconic Defender

A complete of 28 SUV fashions had been in competitors for the award this yr. The automobiles had been put by instrumented assessments, with outcomes measured by computer-connected displays. Then MotorTrend staffers drove all of the contenders and met to debate their subjective impressions and vote on the winner.

Moreover the Defender, there have been 5 different finalists for the award. They had been the Cadillac Escalade, Genesis GV80, Kia Seltos, Nissan Rogue and Toyota Venza.

As a result of coronavirus restrictions, this yr’s testing didn’t embody off-road driving. It might have simply been logistically too tough to get all of the SUVs out to a distant off-road location on the identical time, stated Rechtin. (All of the subjective driving assessments contain driving the identical automobiles on the identical roads at or close to the identical time.) Some MotorTrend journalists had beforehand pushed the Defender in tough off-road environments, although, Rechtin stated.

The SUVs had been judged on six standards: security, effectivity, worth, development in design, engineering excellence, and efficiency of the meant perform, MotorTrend stated.

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