When it comes to rivals, the Ford Bronco is often compared to the Jeep Wrangler, for obvious reasons – the two rugged, off-road focused SUVs are quite similar in many ways, right down to the removable top present on each. But the Bronco also competes with the Land Rover Defender, an iconic model that was recently revived from the automotive scrap heap – just like the Bronco – and was all-new for the 2020 model year. Thus, it isn’t a huge surprise that Ford Authority spies recently spotted FoMoCo benchmarking a new Land Rover Defender.
Wearing the tell-tale yellow sticker like all Ford-owned vehicles the automaker is benchmarking, this Defender was spotted driving around The Blue Oval’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford clearly wants to see how the Land Rover model stacks up against the new Bronco, as these two models share some distinct similarities – as well as a few noteworthy differences.
Like the Bronco, the Defender is a rugged SUV designed with off-road capability in mind. It’s offered in two-door guise as the Defender 90, and a longer-wheelbase four-door model called the Defender 110. Like the Bronco, each wears retro-modern styling, though the Defender offers more in the way of luxury features, particularly inside the cabin.
The Defender is available with a trio of engine choices – a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that produces 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, or a turbocharged and supercharged 3.0L inline-six-cylinder with 48-volt hybrid assistance that produces 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Those wanting even more power can get it from the Defender V8, which features a 5.0L supercharged powerplant cranking out 518 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. Regardless of engine choice, all Defenders come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel-drive and locking differentials.
While the Bronco utilizes body-on-frame construction, the new Defender ditches that for unibody construction, and also features a fully independent suspension with standard coil springs or an optional air suspension. In terms of pricing, the Defender 90 starts out at $46,100, while the four-door 110 has a starting MSRP of $51,700.