More ‘poisoned’ than ‘chalice’ effectively sums up the challenge faced by Land Rover’s designers when updating the iconic and much loved Defender. Yet, if initial interest and sales are taken as an accurate barometer, it would seem the team has made a fair job of it.

Despite COVID-19’s best efforts, Land Rover’s UK sales in July 2020 were actually up on the same period in 2019, although the result needs to be interpreted with caution. This year there was pent-up demand in July from the firm ceasing production for three months, and it also now has more models on offer, including the new Defender, which started to appear in its long-wheelbase 110 configuration on UK roads in June.

The Defender line-up is expected to benefit from another sales boost later this year when the short-wheelbase 90 and commercial variants are introduced, along with a full Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). Currently the only motor options are a four-cyl P300 petrol and a couple of four-cyl diesels (D200 and D240), plus a six-cyl P400 petrol that’s only available on the top-spec X model.

Price-wise, the Defender 110 starts from £45,560 on the road, while the Defender 90 kicks off at £40,290 and the commercial hard-top at £35,500 (plus VAT). A full vehicles section ‘drive’ in the Defender 110, including a look at the raft of new technology on board, will appear in an upcoming profi issue.