This may seem like wishful thinking, but there are signs that some manufacturers are starting to see some evidence of recovery moving into 2021, due to increased sales of new models such as the Land Rover Defender. Redesigned for 2020 as a limited release, it whets the appetites of fans before the pandemic really hit home and the world came screeching to a halt. And Jaguar Land Rover wasn’t the only company to contribute to the segment, with new models for 2020 including the Audi A5, BMW 2 Series, Cadillac CT4, Ford Escape, and Mazda CX-30.
The timing could not have been worse, considering the pandemic sweeping across the glove. But all is not lost. Moving into 2021, automakers are starting to see some life in new car sales again, albeit still far below the pre-COVID levels. Despite the global lockdown, the need for vehicles was still very much present, but with so many people strapped for cash, the used car market was where all the business was going down. Now, as travel restrictions start to ease up and hope is renewed with the planned distribution of vaccines around the world, people are cautiously optimistic. So, automakers like JLR are hopeful that their latest models, like the refreshed Land Rover Discovery, will see higher sales.
No road too rough
Now that viable vaccines are starting to be shipped out locally and around the world, there is hope that things will get back to normal. However, after such a huge scare and a fundamental shift in our lifestyles, it is unlikely that things will ever truly be as they were. Many have become accustomed to working from home, and others have been financially ruined. Several car factories have been downsized or shut down, too, and there is no guarantee that they will ever reopen their doors.
But recent sales figures from the British automaker Jaguar Land Rover suggest that the tide is turning. It will still be some time, years perhaps, before we start seeing sales rivaling that of pre-COVID times, but we can already see brighter days just over the next ridge. And what better company is there to crest that hill? Unlike many of its rivals, JLR has not closed a single factory or dealership, which shows just how confident it is in its recovery. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t adapted to the changing market. Online sales are particularly healthy, since buyers can easily customize their purchase and have it delivered to their homes. This is just one of the ways the company plans to update its business plan to meet demand.
Survival of the fittest
With markets still recovering slowly, now is the perfect time for those with the best product to pull ahead of the competition. So, it only stands to reason that car enthusiasts would want to take a closer look at what sets these apex predators apart from the rest. The Defender is practically a new model, even for 2021, since the previous year saw only limited units produced, while the already popular Discovery received a mid-life refresh.
Land Rover Defender
In a time when getting back to nature seems like a really good idea, where there aren’t any crowds to be worried about, a car with genuine off-roading capabilities is an attractive proposition. There are a few marques that specialize in this area, including Jeep and Toyota, but Land Rover seems to have taken the cake with the latest rendition of its compact SUV. It’s not just its size that’s appealing, though. All of its dimensions have been carefully engineered to produce the best angles for handling uneven and rough terrain. These include approach/breakover/departure angles of 38/48/28 degrees and a ground clearance of 11.5 inches.
Unlike some of its bigger siblings, the Defender is not a particularly luxurious vehicle. The materials used in its construction are hardy, instead, but the overall aesthetic is still pleasing to the eye. On top of that, there is plenty of space for both passengers and cargo, especially if you opt for the slightly longer 110 model. Most of the standard features are aimed at improving off-road performance, but you still get automatic dual-zone climate control, lane keep assist, and a ten-inch infotainment interface. But it’s the 3D surround-view camera that will most likely be your go-to gadget. Sadly, while the Defender may lack some of the comforts and features of the larger Land Rovers, it doesn’t lack the hefty MSRP. Even a base model will set you back well over $45,000.
Land Rover Discovery
Positioned slightly higher within the Land Rover hierarchy, the Discovery has a higher starting price, but how much you get is directly related to what you spend. It looks more handsome than ever thanks to new LED headlights and taillights, and the R-Dynamic trim is a real treat. But the big changes are under the hood, where a turbocharged four-cylinder now comes standard, developing 296 horsepower, while a 355-hp MHEV V6 is available for those who want a little extra kick.
It’s not quite the off-road warrior that the Defender is, but it is a far better urban cruiser, rivaling the best crossovers out there. A larger, 11.4-inch touchscreen now comes standard, including modern features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and two LTE modems. The 12.3-inch interactive driver display and full-color head-up display are just icing on the cake. However, you may have to aim a bit higher than the entry-level trim to get everything the Discovery has to offer.
Towards the sunset
While we may still be struggling to get our bearings as we wait patiently for the vaccine to kick in, things are starting to look up. We are resilient, much like the automotive industry or a hardy off-roader. And since the market is trying to recover and boost consumer confidence again, now might be the best time to nab that brand-new car with the best incentives at the lowest price.