New Model News

2021 Land Rover Defender gets new mid-grade X-Dynamic model

Land Rover is offering the 2021 Defender 90 and 110 in a new grade.

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Now that Land Rover Defender production and distribution worldwide is finally underway after being hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is prepared to expand its Defender offerings for the 2021 model year.

The Defender will be offered in two wheelbases for 2021: Defender 110 and Defender 90. The 110 is a five-door more traditional SUV design offering seating for five, six, or 5+2, while the 90 is a three-door.

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 X-DynamicPricing for the new grade is slightly above the base model Defender's MSRP.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

At launch, the model range comprised the Defender, First Edition, and top-tier Defender X models. With First Editions being snatched up, Defender X-Dynamic moves in to the mid-grade slot. The Defender X-Dynamic can be enhanced further with a choice of S, SE and HSE Specification Packs.

All models come standard with four-wheel drive.

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 X-Dynamic

The Defender 90 X-Dynamic builds on the base model. To differentiate it from the pack, the Defender X-Dynamic gets gloss painted Narvik Black exterior door and wheel arch cladding with Silicon Satin skid pans. There's also a P400 badge, X-Dynamic badge, body-color door handles, and Satin Silicon Silver grille bar. The model comes standard with automatic high beams and rides on 19-inch six-spoke gloss black wheels. At the back are black tow hooks.

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 X-DynamicThe model has unique accents to differentiate it from the rest of the pack.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

Inside, the Defender X-Dynamic features Robust seat pull ribbons and a console finisher. Robustec is a protective and hard-wearing material inspired by textiles used in extreme outdoor activities. The Robustec accents are available in the same selection of colors across S, SE, and HSE models.

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 X-DynamicLand Rover offers the X-Dynamic grade on its Defender 90 and 110.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

"Essentially a tool – obtaining this balance of tactility, softness and durability was key to create a modern premium aesthetic for both the interior and exterior materials," said Amy Frascella, Director, Color and Materials, Land Rover. "We have enabled innovation of materials by creating new approaches to development, challenging conventions of traditional methods of make and modifying existing technologies."

Additional interior features include a Ebony Morzine headliner, illuminated metal tread plates with Land Rover script, and dutotonne interior seat color. Its rear seats feature a 40/20/40 split and the front seats are 12-way semi-powered. Seat facings are appointed in ebony/ebony grained leather and Robustek.

The 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 X-Dynamic starts at $57,800.

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 X-DynamicThe model comes standard with four-wheel drive.Photo courtesy of Land Rover

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 X-Dynamic

Like the Defender 90 X-Dynamic, the 110 version builds on the 110 base model. Its exterior is more premium than the 90 and features LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, a P400 badge fog lights, X-Dynamic badge, body-color door handles, black rear tow hooks, and Satin Silicon Silver front and rear skid pan, grille bar, and badging. Automatic high beams are standard. It rides on 20-inch five-spoke Dark Satin Grey wheels.

Interior features are the same except the model changes up the front seats for 12-way electric memory front seats with two-way manual headrests. It also gets a ClearSight interior rearview mirror, Meridian sound system, Click and Go integrated base unit, and interactive driver display.

The 2021 Land Rover Defender 110 X-Dynamic starts at $65,500.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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What was your best car-related experience this year?

Chris Teague

This year has been a lot of things, but it hasn't been boring. Even if we focus only on the car world, there's plenty to talk about, from microchip-related new vehicle shortages to the wave of new electric vehicles hitting the market. That leaves us with a question for all of you: What was the best or most memorable car moment for you in 2021? I'll get the conversation started.

Porsche Cayenne GTSMy SoCal Cayenne śaw snow for the first time in its nearly 200k-mile life last week.Chris Teague

I'd spent a good portion of 2021 wanting a new-old car to drive when I wasn't testing a new vehicle. That's harder than you'd think for someone who thinks, talks, and writes about cars all day, because there are so many interesting, risky, and downright funky options out there in every price range. The added headache for me was that I'd chosen to shop for a "fun" car in one of the most volatile car markets ever seen. Even the extremely high-mileage "untouchable" European cars I wanted to buy were commanding ridiculous prices.

After a solid few months of waffling between various rattletrap Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi S/RS cars, I landed on an option that had escaped me before: The Porsche Cayenne. First-generation Cayennes are a real bargain now, but the 955/957 (Porsche's internal code for the SUVs) can experience major problems that occur with or without regular maintenance and care. I was determined to buy one, and wasn't overly concerned about mileage, as long as I could count the number of owners on one hand. There was a beautiful 2009 Cayenne GTS with 90,000 miles but nine owners, a gorgeous 2004 Cayenne Turbo with a concerning engine tick, and many more just like them. Finally, I decided to risky-click a 196,000-mile Cayenne GTS in Southern California. It had one owner and one dealer-owner for a month or two prior to sale, its condition looked decent in photos, and I was able to negotiate a reasonable enough price that shipping it from San Diego to Maine wasn't a huge problem.

Porsche Cayenne GTSThe pics look great, but hands-on tells another story.Chris Teague

I had two traveling Euro mechanics check the car out, and both confirmed that it was well-worn but mechanically sound, so I jumped. Ten days later, on a snowy, icy, dark Maine afternoon, the Cayenne arrived. Cosmetically, there were a few things the dealer and mechanics failed to mention, but overall, it looked good. The SUV passed Maine safety and emissions testing without problem, got a new set of Michelins, and I was on my way.

Porsche Cayenne GTSI'm in danger, but thankfully this should be a reasonable fix.Chris Teague

A few days of driving revealed what I was really in for. A check engine light revealed a camshaft position sensor error and the Cayenne displayed a nasty vibration at idle. A new sensor and motor mounts, and I'm on my way. I'll update you as more things break or miraculously work, but I want to hear your memories from 2021.

Email me at chris@automotivemap.com, and I will compile the best and most interesting stories for a story on New Year's Day. May you all have a wonderful 2022.

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