- New Land Rover Defender spotted testing
- Strange-looking shortened Range Rover body shows three-door 90 version
- Fully electric model likely
- Due on sale in 2018
The much-anticipated Land Rover Defender replacement has been spotted again, being tested using a bizarre-looking shortened Range Rover body. It looks to be the size of the three-door 90 short-wheelbase model, and a five-door 110 model is yet to be seen. The Defender should be revealed later this year, and a fully electric model is expected before 2020.
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It’s safe to say that the upcoming Defender won’t look anything like this pre-production mule – thankfully. Instead, it is expected to look very similar to the DC100 concept that we first saw way back in 2015 – a modern interpretation of the Defender’s signature boxiness, with lots of ground clearance and heavy-duty scuff plates at the front and rear.
Full-LED lights and smoother bodywork will add modern touches to the Defender, which is expected to be taken upmarket with this new model. While we haven’t seen it yet, a larger five-door model is likely to join the range, although we suspect it won’t be available with the old 110 model’s classic bench seat arrangement in the rear.
Not too much is known about the Defender’s interior yet, but don’t expect it to feel like you’ve just climbed into a barn. It will no longer be so spartan and utilitarian inside, with luxuries such as leather seats and Land Rover’s latest technology making their way onto the options list. A reversing camera is likely, as is auto emergency braking and – whisper it – a modern heating system to cope with the worst winters.
However, a Defender’s main focus is still to be the best off-roader, despite the recent trend to posh it up and keep it within a city. Chunky climate control buttons and harder plastics will set the Defender apart from the Discovery, Discovery Sport and the Range Rover lineup.
Engines and driving
Jaguar Land Rover’s latest 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel and petrol engines will be the main powerplants of the Defender, and both manual and automatic gearbox options should be available. It’ll be far more refined than the old model, which isn’t saying much, but the Defender will still show the breadth of its talents when you take it into the wilderness. A hybrid model is expected from or soon after launch, using a petrol engine alongside an electric motor. It is likely to offer 31 miles of electric-only power, but a completely electric version will appear in a couple of years – when the battery technology is good enough to dissolve fears of getting stuck in said wilderness.
Price and release date
After a couple of setbacks, the new Defender is expected to be revealed later in 2018 before going on sale in 2019. The more upmarket nature of the new car means prices are expected to rise above £30,000.