It goes without saying that New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) are gaining popularity, with the niche market seeing a significant amount of growth locally over the last 5 years. CAR contributor Mpho Mahlangu recently got behind the wheel of the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle – here are his thoughts.
Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV Fast Facts
- Price: R2 135 900
- Engine: 2,0-litre 4-cylinder, 105 kW electric motor
- Power: 297 kW
- Torque: 640 N.m
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic transmission
- Fuel consumption: 2,8 L/ 100km (Claimed)
- 0-100km/h: 5,6 seconds
- Top speed: 209 km/h
- Rivals: BMW X5 xDrive50e M Sport, Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge AWD Ultimate Dark
What are we driving?
The Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV was introduced locally in 2021, with the single standout feature over the rest of the line-up being the hybrid drivetrain which promises a claimed 43 km of pure electric driving range. Theoretically, this model should mostly appeal to urban commuters who want to take advantage of the hybrid benefits the P400e PHEV offers. Noteworthy however, the benefits which come with this model may only be fully enjoyed by owners who have a wall box installed at their home, for ease of charging.
Why is the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV significant?
The biggest selling point of the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV is of course its hybrid powertrain. As mentioned, the electrified vehicle offers a claimed 43 km of pure electric driving range, which may appeal to owners who commute around that figure for their daily commute. Apart from offering pure electric driving range, the vehicle may also significantly reduce the relatively high fuel consumption that one would expect from a vehicle as heavy as a Land Rover Defender.
Owners who have a wall box installed at their home may fully enjoy the advantages of the P400e thanks to the convenience of charging at the end of each day. The closest charging station from my home located in a shopping center is roughly 15 km away, which for obvious reasons, quickly proves how inconvenient it is not to have a wall box or charging station close by. In this scenario, by returning home from the charging station, I would have already used almost half of the total electric driving range making it unfeasible with current infrastructure.
The next big reason why the Land Rover Defender 110 PHEV is significant is thanks to its off-roading prowess which is unmatched compared to its rivals. Despite not offering as much electric driving range as its closest adversaries, the Defender, as a nameplate, has always been synonymous with its immense off-roading capabilities. The P400e can perform off-roading duties in low range in its pure electric driving mode – quite remarkable if you ask me.
What’s new on the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV?
The Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV misses out on some updates that later models of the Defender received such as the larger, upgraded Pivi Pro infotainment touchscreen system. New and exclusive to this model is the hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2,0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine paired with a 105 kW electric motor and 19,2 kWh battery. DC charging is possible, making time spent on charging a much quicker task – just over an hour with a 75 kW charging station.
What does the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV cost?
- Defender 110 P400e PHEV – R2 135 900
What are the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV rivals?
The Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV finds itself going up against the likes of the BMW X5 xDrive50e M Sport, and Volvo XC90 T8 Recharge AWD Ultimate Dark. Noteworthy, the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV’s rivals offer up to 110 km and 77 km, respectively.
What is the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV like to drive?
In normal day-to-day driving situations, the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV offers a pleasant experience. Notably, as a driver, you sit in an elevated position which makes visibility particularly commendable too, both at the front and rear of the vehicle which is ideal for maneuvering the large SUV in and around suburbia. Despite riding on optional 22-inch alloy wheels, my tester handled road imperfections rather beautifully.
Thanks to the 105 kW electric motor, power delivery felt rather brisk, even with its 3,2-tonne heft. Land Rover say that the PHEV will accelerate from a standstill to 100 km/h in 5,6 seconds, and although I didn’t test this claim myself, it certainly feels that way from behind the wheel. Instances where overtaking is quickly required are almost effortless thanks to aid by the electric motor providing near-instant torque delivery.
Also commendable are the impressively low Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels. Cruising at the national speed limit is pleasant and relaxing, with hardly any wind or tyre noise penetrating the cabin. These all add up to an overall well-refined experience which is perfect for families, whether on the long haul or just tootling in and around town.
As mentioned, the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e PHEV doesn’t offer as much electric driving range as its rivals, which is a letdown, however it can be forgiven thanks to flexing its arms when it comes to overlanding. Arguably, most customers of the Defender nameplate opt for it because of its off-roading prowess, thus setting it apart greatly from its closest German and Swedish rivals. That said, the P400e PHEV makes for a well-rounded and equally as capable large off-roading SUV which also offers the benefits of owning a New Energy Vehicle (NEV).