SPIED: New Land Rover Defender On Its Way!

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Land Rover had discontinued the iconic Defender 4×4 from its lineup in 2016. Thankfully, that’s not the end of the line for the bare-bones SUV as it is making a comeback, probably by 2020.

A new prototype of the Land Rover Defender was caught doing test runs around Jaguar Land Rover’s Gaydon facility. The heavily camouflaged vehicle does little to hide its design: a boxy, spartan body that may or may not have equally bare interiors. Asked about the Defender at the ongoing Paris Motor Show, JLR marketing chief Felix Br¤utigam told Autocar that the test mule was the first of the prototypes that were scheduled to commence testing as the ramp-up to production begins.

“These are what we call Pilot build cars and testing will increase on public roads from now,” said Br¤utigam. “The first four cars are ready, and now the line is running you can expect the number of test cars to grow exponentially.” The test mules would eventually go through rigorous routines that would involve cold-weather testing in Arjeplog, Sweden, followed by hot-weather testing in Death Valley, USA. “It’s exciting for us to be able to now be one step closer to bringing the car to market, of course. We are talking about the rebirth of an icon and not just as a single car, but as a whole family,” Br¤utigam added.

Developing a Defender-based family makes more sense than just marketing a single model from a sales and profit perspective. Which means good news is about to come from Land Roer regarding the Defender model line. Is it too much to hope for a Defender pickup, long-base SUV, and perhaps a stripped-down, hardcore off-roader? We think not.

Br¤utigam continued while talking about the Defender: “Our brand is about passion, and it is icons that drive that passion. The truth is the world doesn’t need another premium brand doing what all the others do. These icons are what separate us; at Land Rover we are rooted in our heritage and that’s what makes us different.” He also said he felt that the time taken between axing the bare-bones 4×4 from the lineup to re-introducing it in the future could be a positive for the new car. This includes the possibility of an electric drivetrain powering the new Defender, along with a selection of the usual petrol and diesel alternatives.

“The one thing I can promise you is that the new Defender will do all that our customers expect of it, without being a copycat of what has gone before. It is a car for the modern world, and that means that it must move the game on if it is to be relevant,” said Br¤utigam. A JLR spokesperson declined to elaborate about the spy shots but commented that the new Defender could hit the streets as a production model from 2020.

The new Defender is being developed in two guises: a short-wheelbase 90 and a long-wheelbase 110 version. This opens up the platform to be expanded into an entire family of offerings. With the new machine, Land Rover aims to offer the “biggest breadth of capability of any model to wear the badge”, with prices expected between $50,000 and $90,000.

So much for the new 2020 Land Rover Defender. As the Brits say, the Defender is not a car, it’s an institution. The model has been the single biggest success for the British SUV maker, becoming an able platform for a variety of applications. Be it farming, military transport, emergency services, or even cross-continental adventures; the Defender took it all without complaint. It will be interesting to see how Land Rover tackles a motoring icon and ushers it into the modern age without compromising on its core principles.

All Images Credit: Autocar UK

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