By Ken Fletcher

IT'S taken an agonising few years and where farming folk have been left Defender-less – but it's now here. The all-new Defender has been launched by Land Rover at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show.

From the stats revealed so far it WILL be packed with a lot of electronic wizardry and a fresh styling that looks more Common Riding than riding the range.

From it's big launch this week, you will be able to order the 110 version, which is a four-door model that starts at £45,240 on the road, while the Defender 90 and Commercial pricing and deliveries will be confirmed at a later date – though there's a guide price of around £40,000, with Defender Commercial guide pricing from £35,000 (plus VAT).

The opening statement from Land Rover kind of says it all really from the farmer and rural perspective: 'An icon reimagined for the 21st century; it has been cleverly engineered with capability and safety for all the family at its heart.'

So that looks like the 'family' aspect is more important than the utilitarian value which the Land Rover Defender has become synonymous.

The 110 is just the start for this family and it will be swiftly followed by a short wheelbase 90, before a pair of practical commercial models join the line-up in 2020.

It still carries that quite distinctive silhouette, with minimal front and rear overhangs and it retains the side-hinged rear tailgate and externally-mounted spare wheel that made the originals so identifiable.

The Defender 110 will have five, six or 5+2 seating configurations, with a loadspace behind the second-row seats of up to 1075 litres and as much as 2,380-litres when the second row is folded. The 90 will be able to accommodate six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback – looks like a tight squeeze there!

On board it will have a maximum payload of up to 900kg, a static roof load of up to 300kg and that all-important towing capacity has been confirmed as being 3500kg, which was one of the old Defender's biggest advantages – which has now been caught up by some of the more popular pick-up trucks.

User-friendly features include a durable rubberised flooring ideal for wellies, while an optional folding fabric roof can provide an open-top feel and allows passengers in the second-row seats of the 110 to stand up when parked to provide the full safari experience – great for looking at the cows!

Gerry McGovern, chief design officer at Land Rover, said: “The new Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it. This is a new Defender for a New Age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable – a visually compelling 4x4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment.”

However, the stripped-back personality of the original Defender has been embraced inside, where structural elements and fixings usually hidden from view have been exposed, with the emphasis on simplicity and practicality.

Innovative features include a dash-mounted gear shifter to accommodate an optional central front ‘jump’ seat, which provides three-abreast seating across the front like early Land Rovers.

While it might look like a vehicle made up of spare parts from other in the Land Rover stable – like the various Discoverys and the Evoque – it says that the new purpose-engineered architecture is 95% new, based on a lightweight aluminium monocoque construction.

This is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame designs, providing perfect foundations for the fully independent air (added extra), or coil sprung suspension and supports the latest electrified powertrains.

The new Defender has been through more than 62,000 tests for engineering sign-off, while the chassis and body architecture have been engineered to withstand the marque's extreme event test procedure – repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars. No mention of cow bashing was mentioned.

Configurable Terrain Response will debut on the new Defender, allowing experienced off-roaders to fine-tune individual vehicle settings, while inexperienced drivers can dial and drive using the 'Auto' function.

True to Defender history, the ground clearance is a generous 291mm and a maximum wading depth of 900mm is supported by a new 'Wade' function in the Terrain Response 2 system.

On dry land, Land Rover’s advanced ClearSight ground view technology allows drivers to see the area usually hidden by the bonnet, directly ahead of the front wheels, on the central touchscreen.

What's in the engine bay and will it need a three pound hammer and a big spanner to fix it? Well ... No. There's a choice of advanced petrol and cleaner diesel engines and a plug-in hybrid electric powertrain will join the range next year.

At launch, the petrol line-up comprises a four-cylinder P300 and a powerful six-cylinder P400 featuring efficient mild hybrid electric technology. Alternatively, customers can choose from a pair of four-cylinder diesels – the D200 and powerful D240 – both of which deliver fuel economy of 37.2mpg (7.6 l/100km) and CO2 emissions of 199g/km (NEDC equivalent).

You'll need to keep your hands clean, too, for operating the new Pivi Pro infotainment system, though LR promises it is more intuitive and user-friendly, requiring fewer inputs to perform frequently used tasks.

First Edition and top of the range Defender X models and customers will be able to personalise their vehicle in more ways than any previous Land Rover with four accessory packs – Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban. The exclusive First Edition model features a unique specification and will be available throughout the first model year of production.

Customers will also be able to opt for a new satin protective film to make the exterior paintwork more durable and help protect against everything from car park scratches to bramble 'rash'.

So, this all a very different from the old Defender with its uncomfortable seating arrangement, clonky gearbox but a much loved vehicle nonetheless. It'll be interesting to see how the farming industry responds ...

UK OTR pricing:

2.0L SD4 200hp diesel

D200 110 £45,240

D200 S 110 £48,695

D200 SE 110 £52,625

2.0L SD4 240hp diesel

D240 110 n/a

D240 S 110 £51,750

D240 SE 110 £55,680

D240 HSE 110 £60,505

D240 FE 110 £58,860

2.0L Si4 300hp petrol

P300 Defender 110£48,295

P300 S 110 £51,750

P300 SE 110 £55,680

3.0L i6 400hp petrol

P400 X 110 £78,800