3 bodystyles confirmed, 1 retained as option.
The clock is ticking down to its reintroduction, and so Land Rover’s decided to let a little air out of the hype-balloon surrounding the all-new Defender off-roader. Arguably Land Rover’s most iconic model, it’s not enough for the Defender to return alone, and so they’re planning to unveil it as part of a few Defender ‘family.’ In doing so, they’ll be offering potential buyers of Land Rover’s hardcore off-road machine more body style options than it ever has traditionally, which is certainly an exciting thing.
The new Defender, due to arrive in showrooms in 2020, will be built off of Jaguar-Land Rover’s MLA platform, which is intensive in its use of aluminium. As a result, the new Defender(s) will be lighter than the car it replaces, and be able to offer some of Land Rover’s very newest technological innovations.
Land Rover’s been quiet on the new-Defender front for some time now, so it’s nice that they’re letting on a little more about the upcoming replacement. ‘Seismic changes’ are afoot for the new Defender, which Autocar claims “is deep in development” at the time of writing. Thanks to the use of MLA, the new Defender should be able to offer a whole suite of electronic chassis manipulation systems, the kind of kit demanded to be a properly-capable off-roader, while also allowing for greater model customisation that’ll let Land Rover sell a wider variety of Defenders, ranging from ones built purely for utility and others that might be posher and more lavish.
The desire to offer more kinds of Defenders is evident by the chosen body styles that it’ll debut with: It’ll arrive with 3-door short-wheelbase, 5-door long-wheelbase, and 4-door long-wheelbase ute bodystyles, with the additional option of a short-wheelbase 3-door with a hard removable top (like a new Jeep Wrangler).
Motivation for the new Defender will come from a variety of sources: In addition to the Ingenium 4-cylinder engines, there will also be mild- and plug-in hybrid powertrains to choose from, with those expected to debut before 6-cylinder Ingenium options join the lineup. Standard however will be things like permanent all-wheel drive and automatic transmissions, so that you never forget you’re in a new Defender.
There’s still two more years to go before the all-new Land Rover Defender returns, during which time a lot of things could change. Comments from Land Rover bosses have suggested that 8-cylinder and 3-cylinder Defender models are unlikely; The former will probably stay unlikely, while the latter might become a smarter idea later. An all-electric Defender could be on the cards too if battery technology continues to develop at their current rate, too. We’ll just have to wait and see.