2020 Land Rover Defender is here and it looks good, but only if you avoid the short wheelbase with the option " floating bar ”. Because a vehicle thus equipped takes an element that helped the latest Defender stand out as a truly iconic piece of design – the large, standing greenhouse – and covers it with a cheap-looking, huge-blindspot-creating fake pillar. Just look at this silliness.
I just returned from the Frankfurt Motor Show, where I had a chance to sit in the driver's seat of the 2020 Land Rover Defender 90 – the two-door version of the new Defender that debuted yesterday.
The cabin seems nice in many ways, but what surprised me was a huge artificial blind spot created by a false pillar located in the middle of the rear glass window. Look at this:
From the inside, the "floating bar" as Land Rover calls it. interior and compromises visibility, and from the outside it creates what I consider to be Defenders (whose general design I quite like) biggest aesthetic flaws:
On the four-door shown to the right, I think "floating bar" looks good, and in fact, if you look at the outer panel of the body page below, you'll realize that the square trim covers the C- column, so it all makes sense.
This is how things look from the inside of 110 – it looks like standard C-pillar interior t rim:
As per the picture of the two-door Defender 90s body-in-white below, there is no vertical structural element behind the B-pillar other than the rear pillar, so this "floating bar" is really just a big, seemingly plastic field that Land Rover appears to have attached to the side glass with four torque screws and probably some kind of paste or rubber.
From the inside, the rear passenger's view is extremely limited:
And though it's a small plastic box, it doesn't look like it would fit much more than maybe a couple of decks and some papers:
From the outside, and up close, things also look strange. The bar only looks like a large plastic square stuck in a window:
Gerry McGovern, Land Rover's Chief Design Officer, describes the feature of the approximately 16 minute mark in the debut video embedded below. "[The Defender’s] horizontal weight continues with the square wheel arches," he says, "and this distinctive floating pillar, which is placed above the rear wheel to enhance the planted appearance."
So it seems that design was the primary purpose of this "floating bar", which Land Rover also calls "Signature Graphic."
I emailed Land Rover to learn more, and the mark confirmed that the confusing square piece of trim was actually included as a styling element:
The Signature Graphic is not mentioned in the US 2020MY Defender 90 First Edition but displayed in global assets. It is fitted to a standard of 110 because of this area which has body structure in the longer 5-door variants (as shown in the enclosed infographic). The shorter 90 does not have this extra piece of structure, so Signature Graphic on the 90 is purely for aesthetics.
Land Rover's press release states that it is a practical purpose for these fake pillars, and writes that the vehicle's "Exterior Side Mounted Gearbox … conforms to the Defender model's distinctive floating columns and is perfect for to keep dirty equipment. "
" If the gearbox is not mounted, "Land Rover continues," the new Defender model's floating columns also provide a home for the distributable roof ladder, which is folded down from its locked position for easy access to objects that are carried on the roof. "
Whether the False Bar Really Needs to Keep This I'm not sure about the accessories, but the main point is that Land Rover deliberately stuck a large, hard, blind spot on the side glass as a design element, and I don't think it works at all taken.
Just take a look below. Without the floating bar, I think the vehicle looks significantly cleaner. Plus, the machine loses the huge blind spot, giving the rear passenger the opportunity to look outside the vehicle, and not just on a shallow plastic bucket:
My colleague Jason Torchinsky mocked what Defender 90 would look like if it had painted B and C pillars, and I think it's fantastic, giving the off-roader a more sincere appearance:
Jason also mocked what it would look like with just the B-pillar painted. He prefers this design:
Why the brand believed that the false pillar enhanced exterior design is beyond me, especially considering how much it damages visibility.