Land Rover recently announced the launch of its all-new Defender, over 30 years after the original Defender was developed in the 1980s. The new model has all the hallmark details of a Defender – two skylight windows at the top corners, a square rear end, round headlights in a square frame and a choice between two wheel-bases. Land Rover is an indirect customer of Formex Industries so the launch of this new vehicle is exciting news.

The new Land Rover Defender will be built on an all-new, body-on-frame platform, called the D7X. A combination of aluminium and high-strength steel will make the chassis of the new Defender tough – so sturdy, in fact, that it can withstand a seven-tonne upward load through the suspension. This means that the vehicle can hit a 25cm concrete kerb at 40 km/h, something that was repeatedly done during testing.

Outdoor enthusiasts are likely to flock to the new Defender and sales predictions in South Africa are extremely positive. The Defender 110, the long wheel-base iteration, will launch in early 2020. The short wheel-base Defender 90 will follow six months later. The iconic offroaders will be offered with a 3.0-litre straight six-cylinder engine, featuring efficient Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology. Alternatively, buyers can opt for a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine.

New Land Rover Defender is extremely capable offroad

The 90 and 110 Defenders both have extreme approach and departure angles as the wheels are close to the edge of the body. They have a 38-degree approach angle and a 40-degree departure angle, which means that they will be able to tackle so seriously steep inclines – a 45-degree climb and a 47-degree descent, to be exact.

The Defenders are also capable of wading through water 90cm deep. All the electrics have been tested underwater and they can remain submerged in one metre of water for over an hour without short-circuiting. The Defender also comes with an optional winch, hidden behind the front grille, which can pull over 4.5 tonnes from 45 metres away. Each of the snatch points on the vehicle is capable of six tonnes of force too.

Defender is customisable… really customisable

Land Rover has developed over 170 individual accessories for the new Defender. Buyers can customise their vehicles with roof racks, ladders, air compressors, jerry cans and even a dog box in the boot. All of these accessories have been designed and developed specifically for the new Defender.

The roof rack is capable of carrying 168kg of gear while the vehicle is driving, or 300kg when it is stationary. Owners can order a roof-mounted two-man tent that sits on top of the roof rack – perfect for explorers on the move or people who prefer to be closer to nature on their holidays. 

New Defender is far more comfortable than the original

Owners of the original series Land Rover Defender will know how uncomfortable the interior can get on long journeys. The door closes right against your shoulder and the seats can leave you numb all over after a bumpy trip. Thankfully, the new Defender is lux, although not over the top!

Inside, it has leather seats and magnesium dash elements. There are still exposed screws and a third (central) front seat – hallmarks of the original series. Padded armrests, a digital dashboard and all the mod-cons of the new generation Discoveries and Range Rovers place the new Defender in a more upmarket category than the original model.

Defender steps into the 21st Century

Unlike the original Defender, which can only be described as ‘analogue’, the new model is firmly planted in the 21st Century. At the core of the vehicle is a 100Mb ethernet connection that allows new software to be downloaded and activated at any time. Land Rover describes the vehicle as having “always connected, always up-to-date architecture”.

To power this tech, the Defender comes with 85 ECUs (or computers) that allow it to handle 21 000 different bits of information at any given moment. The digital gauges and large screen mounted in the centre of the dash are further signs of the Defender’s new focus on tech. Die-hard fans may scoff at this move by Land Rover, but it’s certainly the right decision in the modern era.

As fans hold their breath for the launch of these iconic vehicles, all we can do now is to admire the pictures online and wait for the actual Defender to land in South Africa. These vehicles are probably going to be among the best-sellers in 2020 and years to come.

Image credit: Alexander Migl


Formex Industries is a metal forming and assembly company that supplies a variety of complex products to the local automotive industry and the export market. The company is based in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropole, South Africa’s foremost region for automotive manufacturing and export.

Formex specialises in producing components for the catalytic converter industry, as well as metal components and assemblies for the various vehicles. Formex aims to become one of the foremost suppliers for the South African automotive industry by 2035, aligning itself with the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) which takes effect in 2020.

Formex is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with over 80% black ownership, of which more than 40% are black women. The company is owned by Deneb Investments Limited – a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI) – one of South Africa’s biggest true B-BBEE companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

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