Land Rover is on the cusp of revealing the new Defender but, before it does, check out our exclusive image to see what the new model could look like. The Queen has been known to drive Defenders herself so the model shown above could be very similar to one she’ll undoubtedly receive from the British brand.
Like the outgoing model, the new Defender is likely to be offered in a variety of lengths to accommodate three or five doors and a range of options for the cargo bay. The Queen’s Defender above is the mid-range ‘110’ wheelbase with a crew cab for occasional back seat passengers and a large fabric-covered boot with space for her corgis to stretch out.
The old Defender was known for being a versatile vehicle fulfilling roles as diverse as military transport, farm work and cruising city streets. The new model will have to work just as well across these areas so we’ve imagined the new version in a range of locations with various modifications to make it suitable – check out our exclusive Land Rover Defender renders.
Our designs are closely based on the DC100 concept Land Rover revealed in 2011. This car keeps the boxy appearance of the iconic outgoing model but updates it for the 21st century with more aerodynamically friendly bodywork, better crash protection and even more practicality.
Some pundits are suggesting it’s tricky for Land Rover to make the new Defender because its low volume sales won’t make it economically viable. One solution could be that the new version is built outside the UK for the first time – while this might not prove a popular decision, it might be the only way to make a business case for the new model.
Read on to learn more about this long awaited update to an iconic model.
New Land Rover Defender latest news (updated July 2015)
Company insiders say the new Land Rover Defender will be the most capable off-roader ever built when it goes on sale in 2018.
Little has been confirmed about the new model, which replaces the ageing current model that went out of production on 1 July 2015, but we expect it to look similar to the DC100 concept car pictured.
We also expect it to keep that car’s utilitarian feel and it will be designed to be easily maintained in the far-flung, harsh environments that the current Defender thrives in. To that end, it is likely to use wheel, bolt and tyre sizes that are interchangeable with the car’s big rival – the Toyota Land Cruiser.
Although it will be a utilitarian machine first and foremost, Land Rover will call on expertise gained building plush SUVs such as the Range Rover to give the new Defender a nicer interior than the one found in the Toyota.
The company is set to show another concept that will give a better idea what the production-ready car will look like sometime next year, with reveals at the New York, Geneva and Frankfurt Motor Shows all possible.
Keep reading for all the latest on the new Land Rover Defender.
New Land Rover Defender SVO
Most exciting of all is the possibility of a quick Defender SVO. Land Rover knows there’s a market for the car – companies such as Twisted have based their businesses on tuning Defenders, while half of utilitarian Mercedes G Wagons sold are fast AMG versions – but the company has never offered its own fast Defender.
What could power such a car is up for debate – traditionally powerful Defenders sport a petrol V8, but that could make way for a petrol V6 or even a more frugal turbodiesel.
Another possibility is a super-luxurious SVA version that would sport premium fixtures and fittings to appeal to the same kind of customers that snapped up the limited edition LXV.
New Land Rover Defender construction and engines
One of the biggest drawbacks of the current Defender is its outdated construction. Although its body is made of lightweight (rust immune) aluminium, it sits on a steel ladder chassis that is tough, but also heavy – some Defenders have a kerb weight of more than 2,000kg – quite a lot for a relatively simple car. Constructing it too from aluminium would make a significant weight saving and would allow the Defender to get the best out of its super-high-tech engines.
Dubbed Ingenium, Land Rover’s all new petrol and diesel engines will first feature in the new Discovery Sport, but we would expect them to also power the new Defender. They’re relatively small in capacity (2.0-litres for now), but are lightweight and boosted by turbochargers to produce the power of a conventional engine, but with far improved fuel economy. Not one of the current Defenders can return fuel economy of 30mpg. In theory, the new model could double that.
New Land Rover Defender technology
Land Rover has got plenty of technology at its disposal to help do this and the new Defender should be much easier to drive than the current car. It could get a version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system that makes it easy to setup the car for a variety of conditions simply by selecting from a variety of presets. Hill descent would allow the new Defender to roll down steep inclines in total safety. One thing about the new model is clear, it will need to be excellent off-road and be able to adapt to a variety of tasks.
New Land Rover Defender styling
Sales of the current Land Rover Defender – a 65-year-old design – are still going strong, so it’s understandable that the firm is not going to be rushed into replacing it any time soon.
The wheels are in motion, though, and the styling of the new car has apparently been signed off. Its looks perfectly encapsulate the dual role of the Defender – city dwellers may treat the current car as a fashion accessory, but it’s a working SUV first and foremost and the new model has to reflect this.
Expect it to take plenty of utilitarian inspiration from the current Defender with a bluff front end and slab sides, while incorporating some details (such as LED signature lighting) that are drawn from the more upmarket Range Rover line-up. The DC100 – first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011 and pictured above – gives us a good idea of what the new model could look like.
New Land Rover Defender factory
According to a report in the Financial Times the new Land Rover Defender could be produced in Eastern Europe – possible locations include Gyor in Hungary. It appeals thanks to close links to the automotive industry since Audi set up shop there.
The success of models such as the Discovery Sport, Evoque, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover and Jaguar XE mean that UK-based Jaguar Land Rover factories – including Halewood and Solihull – are now running close to maximum capacity.
New Land Rover Defender release date and price
We expect to see a close-to-production-ready version of the new Defender sometime in 2016, with the car going on sale in 2018. We predict it to be priced from around £30,000.