But will it be able to stack up to today’s contenders?
Land Rover’s long awaited new Defender has finally been given an estimated time of arrival, both globally and locally. Questions regarding the Defender were thrown relentlessly at the top-management of Jaguar-Land Rover at the launch of the new Jaguar XE, showing exactly where the interest of motoring enthusiasts land these days.
“There will be something around Frankfurt. Whether it’s at the motor show or whether it’s an out-of-show event, we’re sorting that out at the moment, with Australia in early 2020.” – Tim Krieger, General Manager (Communications/Public Relations), Jaguar-Land Rover Australia
The Defender is an incredibly important car for the Australian market, given the warm reception it received right up to its demise. Land Rover is of course more than happy to service that demand, and it seems that that’s exactly what they’ll do. Or so Krieger alludes.
“Australia is one of the few markets that continued to sell the old Defender right up to the end. So in a sense, the brand name is probably stronger in Australia because we haven’t had this hiatus like some of the other markets who haven’t sold it in a number of years. So that’s positive. The interest that new cars command is huge. It’s a pretty good year coming up, I think.” – Tim Krieger, General Manager (Communications/Public Relations), Jaguar-Land Rover Australia
The Defender will undoubtedly be a very difficult car for Land Rover to convincingly nail. Due to its status as one of the standard-bearers of back-to-basics motoring, there will be purists who feel a migration away from the purely-utilitarian persona would be an affront to the original, but those purists will likely not be the ones coming out in significant numbers to buy the new one anyway.
In this writers’ opinion, having seen the Jeep Wrangler evolve steadily through the years to end up in its very convincing form today, the 2020 Land Rover Defender certainly needs to keep the original in mind, but not hold back on meeting the demands and requirements of today’s buyers. The Defender can’t just be an off-road machine in order to survive; It also needs to be an icon in its own right.
To that end, we’ve watched JLR do that with every iteration of the Range Rover already, so why are we so sceptical about the Defender?