2021 Land Rover Defender P400e: The 398-HP Plug-In Hybrid Off-Roader You Want
It’ll travel up to 27 miles on electricity alone, but what we really care about here is instant torque.
Appearing to mirror the Jeep Wrangler's powertrain release strategy, Land Rover has introduced a plug-in hybrid version of the Defender before we get that sweet rumored V8. This is the 2021 Land Rover Defender P400e and on top of being the most fuel-efficient Defender out there, it also promises to be one of the most capable off-road thanks to that instant electric torque.
Using a 2.0-liter four-cylinder working in tandem with a 105-kilowatt electric motor drawing charge from a 19.2-kilowatt-hour trunk-mounted battery, the plug-in Defender is good for 398 combined horsepower, a zero to 60 mph sprint of 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 130 mph. More importantly, though, it apparently returns 85.3 mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and an electric-only range of 27 miles. On paper, that's two miles more than the plug-in Wrangler 4xe although given the different testing methods between the WLTP and EPA, we're gonna take the Defender's electric-only superiority here with a grain of salt.
Max towing capacity for the P400e comes in at 6,613 pounds, a marked downgrade from the 8,201 pounds and 7,716 pounds that the regular 3.0- and 2.0-liter versions can tow, respectively. Only available in four-door 110 guise, the plug-in Defender comes with 20-inch wheels and air suspension as standard equipment.
Unlike most electrified variants of existing cars, Land Rover's latest hybrid looks pretty much identical to its more gas-guzzling counterparts. No closed-off grilles, no baby blue trim—just a Defender with a charge port on its left side that could easily pass as an extra gas door when closed.
Now for some bad news. The plug-in hybrid Defender will be added to the model's 2021 lineup in the U.K., but as Land Rover confirmed to The Drive, it won't be sold in the United States for...reasons. Maybe they're waiting to see how Jeep's Wrangler 4XE fares first.
Stateside, the Defender's most notable 2021 model year enhancement is merely a new X-Dynamic model, a trim level that slots in between the existing Defender X and regular Defender and features seats and a center console trimmed in something called Robustec, a rugged material "inspired by textiles used in extreme outdoor activities." It also gets Silicon Satin skid pans front and rear as well as blacked-out wheels, mirror caps, side sills and fender trim.
In the U.S., the 2021 Land Rover Defender will continue to be available with a turbo-four or mild-hybrid straight-six. Not that we'd ever condone violating any import laws but given the plug-in's lack of visual differentiation, it's unlikely people would notice if one were to sneakily have a P400e shipped over here anyway.
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