2020 Land Rover Defender vs. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon: The top 2 dirt-worthy rigs
Hey everyone, it's me Whoa.
And Yep, the rumors are true.
The new Land Rover Defender is here.
And before you ask, it's pretty darn good.
But how does it compare with my beloved Jeep Wrangler Rubicon?
Well, I've driven both off road pretty extensively,so let's take a look at basic construction off road geometry, power trains and utility and see how they measure up.
All right, let's start with those basics,the Defender has a unibody construction.
That means that the body in the frame are all in one unit.
Now all Land Rovers are unibody construction.
So really, this isn't all that surprising.
And the company says that the defenders new D seven X platform that X, it stands for extreme.
The company says that it's three times as rigid as a traditional body on frame construction.
The defender however, also spots independent suspension on all four corners.
I know it's like what.
Meanwhile, the Jeep Wrangler is body on frame which is just like it sounds a separate body is mounted onto a rigid frame that usually consists of two long rails connected by crossmembers.
It's an old school construction like a pickup truck, but it's simple, it's robust and it works.
The Wrangler also has solid axles front and rear.
That ladder frame on the Jeep can really twist and flex while the defender just doesn't have the same kind of articulation to keep the tires on the ground when the holes get uneven and deep.
Sure the defender can make up for it with all kinds of traction control algorithms that keep power going to the tire with contact but nothing beats good old tires on terra firma.
If he asked me.
And when you start looking at those axles, well, some with axles are generally considered to be more durable, stronger, and easier to fix in the field if necessary.
They're also easier to modify.
Independent suspensions and their CB axle joints don't really allow for extreme angles, so while it's pretty easy to put a two inch lift on a Wrangler, it's gonna be a bit more difficult on a Defender.
All right, let's move on to geometry.
This is really important, since you've got to clear obstacles if you wanna keep moving along the trail.
Vehicles with low numbers here will find themselves nosed in at the bottom of steep hill, or stuck axel deep on the top of a sharply crested dune.
The Defender 110 with air suspension and set to the maximum off-road height.
Has 11.5 inches of ground clearance, the approach angle is at 38 degrees.
Departure angle is 40 degrees and break over angle is 28 degrees.
The Defender can also afford 35.4 inches of water
Now the Wrangler Rubicon unlimited which is not offered with air suspension.
It's got comparable but not quite as good numbers.
Ground clearance is 10.8 inches.
Approach angle is better at 43.9 degrees.
But departure angle is 37 degrees and brake over angle is 22.6 degrees.
The Rubicon can forward water that is 30 inches deep.
The advantage here is going to go to the defender with a caveat.
air suspension really scares me I mean I've been on more than one offer a trip where Land Rovers air suspension has failed.
Yes, it's anecdotal evidence but the Jeep setup is much more simple and it's easier to fix if everything goes bad.
Okay, next up, let's talk power trains.
The defender is offered as a mild hybrid p 400.
With a three liter six cylinder engine with 395 horsepower and 406 pound feet of torque Or you can trade down to the P3 hundred two liter twin turbocharged four cylinder engine.
That's good for 296 horsepower and 295 pound feet of torque.
Both of those are mated to an eight speed automatic transmission.
Meanwhile, the Jeep offers up a mild hybrid of its own, but that's in the two liter turbo four cylinder Pushing out 270 horsepower and 295 pound feet of torque.
The 3.6 liter V6 engine that's good for 285 horses and 260 pound feet of torque while a 3 liter diesel rocks out 260 horses and 442 pound feet of twist.
A six speed manual is standard on the V six gas engine but the rest are all eight speed automatics.
I'm going advantage Jeep Ladies and gentlemen, it's got more choices and a manual transmission can still be had.
Sure the diesel with all that torque is a $4,000 upcharge over the 3.6 liter gas but get this
If you want the three liter in the defender with more torque, you have to jump up to the SE Trim.
And that starts at $63,275 including at 1025 bucks per destination.
Meanwhile, that base two liter that can be had for just over 50 grand.
Yeah, that's a hell of an up charge y'all Well, no, I mean the Jeep ain't cheap right?
It starts at $43,620 including $1,495 per destination, but it can easily get into the mid 50s However, it's still less expensive than the defender even with that diesel upgrade.
Last let's talk Utility.
The Defender goes big with nearly two thousand pounds of payload capacity and over eight thousand and two hundred pounds of towing capability.
Meanwhile, the max payload you can eke out of a Rubicon is about 1350 pounds and towing is limited to 3500 pounds.
Think it's clear here y'all check check chickity check for the Defender.
However, those are just the specs on paper.
I mean what do each of them feel like to drive?
Well, I took a Defender on a three day Safari through Namibia in Southern Africa and have to see it conquered everything from steep rocky slopes to soft sand to mud to water crossings.
The ride is incredibly comfortable and at the end of each day, I wasn't left feeling like I'd just been through a continuous car crash for 10 hours.
The benefit of a unibody construction with air suspension y'all.
Land Rover also says that the defender has conquered Moab Utah on difficult trails like Hell's revenge, Poison spider and Steel bender.
However, Land Rover hasn't said anything about a successful run over the Rubicon trail.
Now that's where Jeep does all of its testings.
I was able to complete the Rubicon trail in a stock Rubicon over about two days.
And I've got my doubts that a defender could make it if only because of its lack of articulation and lack of sturdy rock rails.
Then again, I had tried so maybe Land Rover needs to give me one so I can try it out.
What do y'all think?
Now there are a lot of features that contribute to a great offer a drive that I haven't even mentioned here.
The Wrangler can be driven without the roof or the doors, its infotainment system is easy to figure out.
I can upgrade to larger tires without lifting it.
Heck, I can even fold the windshield down.
Now having said that, the defender is not second fiddle to the Wrangler.
I mean its capability is downright astonishing.
It's way more comfortable than the jeep and I could actually tow something besides a tiny U haul trailer with it.
It all comes down to personal preference here.
And for me, I just prefer this simple old school build of a jeep.
But the defender certainly has changed my mind about a unibody construction with independent suspension.
It's proved that it is definitely a very worthy adversary to the Wrangler.
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