2024 Land Rover Defender P400e Plug-in Hybrid is a Frugal Workhorse
As we move away from diesel, plug-in hybrids make a lot of sense for luxury SUVs with added efficiency and extra torque coming from an electric motor. In the Defender range, the arrival of the P400e in 110 guise means that it’s now a more frugal workhorse when compared to the standard mild hybrid variants with a meagre drinking habit of 3.4L per 100km (WLTP).
That figure is mainly due to the 19.2kWh lithium-ion battery which offers a decent 52 kilometres of electric-only range (we managed around 44km in our testing) along with a diesel rivalling 760km overall range.
The powertrain in question here combines the staple 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with a 140hp electric motor to generate a total output of nearly 400bhp and 640Nm. Hence, the P400e certainly is no slouch with power figures just behind the V8 engine versions and a 0-100 km/h time of 5.6 seconds which is plenty quick for this leviathan.
Importantly, you can also use a DC fast charge to juice up the battery with a 0 to 80 per cent charge in around 30 minutes while a 7kW charger does it in around 2.5 hours. In our testing, we plugged the car into a simple 240v outlet at the wall where it fully charged itself overnight. We hardly used the petrol engine at all during our week with the car and went from home to work and never switched on the motor.
Off-road aficionados’ and Defender loyalists need not be worried as the plug-in hybrid tech does not mean sacrifices in terms of practicality or off-road ability with a 3,000kg towing capacity plus electric-only driving also compatible with the low-range off-road setting.
While this variant certainly makes a lot of sense, you would need to spend more for the added frugality of the PHEV with prices hovering at $127,600 (plus on-road costs) for the X-Dynamic SE P400e while the higher spec X-Dynamic HSE is $139,300 plus on-road costs. Do note that the extra weight of the batteries also ramps up the overall weight of the car when compared to the other Defender variants.
Inside, the PHEV gains an extra button on the dashboard marked ‘EV’ with a steely-eyed focus on extracting the best efficiency by locking the car into electric-only mode.
Land Rover is not a stranger to PHEVs and it already offers the same powertrain in other models while the hardcore Defender combines this powertrain with more off-road ability. While plotting its electrified future, the brand is keen to preserve its traditional values while looking at expanding its range. The eventual next step is a battery-powered model which will happen with the electric Range Rover due towards the end of 2024.
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