Could do as Santa’s new all-terrain sled.
If you thought that the recent launch of the Range Rover Evoque would cap the year off for Land Rover, we’d be in the same boat. The new Evoque is a pretty big deal for Land Rover, and a pretty sweet birthday present considering that it’s been 70-years since the first Land Rover made its debut at the 1948 Amsterdam motorshow.
But the sweetest birthday present would have been a new Defender. And just ahead of Christmas, there’s talk that it’s Solihull, not Santa, that might be delivering the Christmas present that many a Defender fan have been waiting for since the iconic all-roader was formally axed in 2016.
The teaser campaign for the new Defender has only really just begone, with officially-supplied ‘spyshots’ of what Land Rover was dubbing the ‘#best4x4xfar’ according to the camouflage. Official market introduction is still pegged for 2019 (with Australian models probably sometime in 2020), but really, we’re still pretty floored that the new Defender could be just a few more days away.
The revelation on the Defender’s introduction come courtesy of Motoring, who say that their sources have told them repeatedly that insofar as Land Rover’s global 70th birthday parties are concerned, the best is yet to come.
When it does finally break cover, there’ll be quite a number of things that ardent Defender defenders (cough) will have to get their heads round. It’s binned the ladder-frame construction in favour of a monocoque construction, utilising the same D7u platform as used in the Discovery & Range Rover, albeit with significant structural strengthening. This should also help the Defender avoid a paltry & disappointing showing with the safety regulators, unlike the Jeep Wrangler that was given just 1-star from EuroNCAP (which is basically a token for trying, really).
This means that the Defender will benefit from the new range of 48V mild-hybrid powertrains that debuted with the Range Rover Evoque, and provide accommodation for plug-in hybrid and pure-electric powertrains sometime after the launch. All powertrains (sans the electric one) will make use of an Ingenium 4-pot in either petrol or diesel guises, though it’s suggested that the 3.0-litre straight-six could feature too.
The Defender will be available in 90-, 110-, and 130-inch wheelbases (just like the old car), and will be offered in 3- and 5-door guises as before. However, it’s unclear if a ute body style will make a return for the new-generation Defender, though we certainly hope it will. We’re made to understand that prototype Defenders are currently testing on public-roads in the UK, as well as in Arjeplog, Sweden (for ultra-cold weather) and Death Valley, USA (for ultra-hot weather).