Land Rover will throw a few key updates at the 2021 Defender, even though the reborn off-roader has only been on sale for less than a year. However, die-hard off-roaders will appreciate that finally, the US will have access to the short-wheelbase Defender 90, bringing with it improved maneuverability and a better breakover angle.

The 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 was originally intended to launch alongside the longer 110, but the coronavirus pandemic forced its delay. The Defender First Edition seems like it will be offered in 2021 – Land Rover’s build-your-own tool has it listed as the only available trim for the 2020 Defender 90, though deliveries have yet to begin for that machine, and it’s already September. As such, we think Land Rover will carry the First Edition over to 2021 for both the Defender 90 and 110.

Gallery: 2021 Land Rover Defender 90

Joining the lineup will also be a Defender X-Dynamic trim level. Bridging the gap between the base Defender and the fully loaded Defender X, the X-Dynamic gets Gloss Black wheel arches and rocker panels, along with “Silicon Satin” skid plates. Inside, it receives Robustec synthetic seat accents, reducing wear on the seats. And like the base model, the new trim will also feature optional S, SE, and HSE option packages that bolster equipment levels appropriately.

The Defender 90 boasts a breakover angle of 32 degrees, 3 notches steeper than its bigger sibling. Measuring 17.2 inches shorter, the Defender 90’s nimbler proportions mean it will be better for serious off-roaders than the longer, more family-friendly Defender 110. Nevertheless, the Defender 90 will be offered with the buyer’s choice of five or six seats, the latter made possible by a novel-for-this-era front bench seat whose center position transforms into a spacious fold-down console when not in use.

That means the 90 could be good for small, adventurous families whose rear-seat occupants don’t mind climbing in past the front seats. The Defender 110 will persist in offering both a front bench seat and two optional rear jump seats – though not together – meaning it can be ordered with five, six, or seven seats. That will make it the natural choice for folks who have to haul people and cargo and who don’t mind settling for a still-impressive 29-degree breakover angle.

Dealers are taking orders for the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 and 110 now. The base-model 90 is $3,800 cheaper than the current 2020 Defender 110, starting at $46,100.

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