The #Best4x4XFar arrives State-side for more testing.
With prototype testing well underway and anticipation higher than ever, Land Rover’s decided it prudent to let some air out of the Defender hype bag, and silence a great amount of speculation (like the buzz we reported from Motoring saying it’d be here before Christmas).
The new Defender has been confirmed for a 2019 launch, with deliveries in North America set to begin in 2020. This was said directly, without question or pause, by Jaguar-Land Rover North America’s marketing boss, Kim McCullough.
“There are a handful of automobiles that are beloved around the world and stand for a brand, a country, and a distinct way of life. The Land Rover Defender is such a singular vehicle. On behalf of Land Rover, we are proud to announce the voices of American & Canadian customers have been heard: The all new Defender will be on sale here starting in 2020. This announcement is a holiday gift to our Defender fans in North America and a hit of what’s to come in the new year.” — Kim McCullough, Vice President (Marketing), Jaguar-Land Rover North America
Judging by the ardent insistence that the car will be on sale in 2020, we’re going to assume that the Defender will be making a late-2019 debut, rather than one right around the corner. However 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 new 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).