Land Rover has finally released a local price list for its keenly anticipated Defender 2.0. The all-new new version of Land Rover’s iconic off-road exploration vehicle will be vital to the brand’s global future.
The Defender has deep South African roots and market expectations for the new version, which features vastly more advanced engines, driver assistance systems, and overall comfort, are high.
But another reality is that Land Rover is held hostage by exchange rate volatility and Rand weakness. That has pressured the pricing matrix for the new Defender.Land Rover's South African range offering is mighty broad: with no less than 30 derivatives. But how does the new Defender price with its rivals?
Although Land Rover listed 'standard' variants of both its Defender 90 and 110, it is unlikely that any customers will order these very basic vehicles.
For the sake of comparison, we’ve selected those Defender variants which should prove most popular with South African buyers. That has led us to Defender 110 D240 S, which has 177kW and prices at R1 042 800, and 110 P300 HSE, with 221kW, positioned at R1 198 700.
In our estimation, the most popular Defender 90 specification should be D240 SE, with 177kW and a price of R1 060 200. With most of the Defender range now into seven-figure pricing, it is competing against rivals that are quite different from before.
2020 Land Rover Defender. Image: MotorPress
If you are marking a 4x4 exploration vehicle in South Africa, Toyota is your primary competitor. The Japanese brand dominates every segment related to local SUVs and 4x4s.At the Defender price points we selected, you can buy much more significant, albeit slower, SUVs from Toyota. The Defender’s traditional rival, Land Cruiser 76, is an ancient design but features robust mechanical components, three differential locks, an under-stressed V8 turbodiesel engine, and R810 000 sticker price.
You could choose to go much larger with the Land Cruiser 200 4.5 turbodiesel GX-R, fitted steel-wheels, and a factory-fitted snorkel. This Toyota has significant off-road touring abilities, an enormous cabin, and retails for R1 086 200.
2020 Toyota Land Cruiser 200 4.5 GX-R. Image: MotorPress
The slightly smaller Land Cruiser Prado and FJ models offer 4.0-litre V6 petrol power, for those drivers keen on dune exploring into the Kalahari and Namib desert. Although the design is a generation old, the FJ Cruiser has confident off-road abilities and retro styling appeal, at a very compelling R678 100.
The more refined, modern, and spacious 4.0 VX Prado will set you back R1 010 000. A 3.0 turbodiesel in TX trim is R892 500, and the VX-L luxury specification R1 052 100.
2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. Image: MotorPress
A reason to remember Jeep
Beyond Toyota, the other hardcore 4x4 wagon alternative to Defender has always been from Jeep.
Jeep is the only other local automotive brand to offer a short-wheelbase off-roader with fair cabin space and performance, in the guise of its Wrangler. A two-door Wrangler Rubicon V6 auto prices at R857 900, and with its three lockable differentials and sway-bar disconnect assisted wheel travel, it should be a match for new Defender 90 off-road.
The larger Wrangler Sahara, in similar Rubicon V6 auto-configuration, competing against Defender 110, is an R914 900 buy.
Defender 90 and 110 inarguably offer the most sophisticated engines and drivetrains on offer. Still, in the market for Safari capable 4x4 station wagons, they face noteworthy price matching peers in the South African market.
2020 Jeep Wrangler. Image: QuickPic