THE LAND ROVER Defender 90 has returned to Australia, gaining a range of major upgrades since its last appearance.
The short-wheel base 'little brother' of the Defender 110 Wagon, the 90 is powered by a 2.4 litre common-rail diesel engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission, dual range permanent four-wheel-drive and a locking differential.
Developing 90kW at 3500rpm and 360Nm of torque at 2000rpm, the Defender 90 lists a fuel consumption figure of 10 l/100km on the combined cycle.
More than 90 percent of the engine's peak power is available from less than 2200rpm to over 4350rpm.
The six-speed manual gearbox provides a wider ratio spread than previously available, with the lower first gear offering easier towing and a reduced crawl speed.
Changes to the Defender 90's iconic exterior have been kept to a minimum, although a revised bonnet profile is in place thanks to the updated engine.
Inside, however, the Defender features an all-new dash with high-output heating and air-conditioning.
New seating up front provides greater comfort, and for the first time the Defender 90 gets full-size forward-facing second-row seats.
To take advantage of the Federal Government's Small Business 50 Percent Tax Break (which ends on December 31), Land Rover is offering the Defender for sale immediately. Deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 2010.
The Defender 90 starts at $44,990, before on-road costs.