New emission regulations coming into effect in 2020 meant there were "certain conditions the Defender just won't meet", the company said. We may have lost a piece of British motor history however, a new Defender is set to be launched later this year, creating another significant milestone in the brands rich history.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE NEW DEFENDER?
The images released, both official and unofficial, have caused some controversy amongst the Land Rover community. Although wrapped in camouflage, detering rival manufacturers from copying or stealing ideas, it’s clear the new design is different from the previous Defender. The sharp lines that defined the vehicle look to have been replaced with softer contours. The iconic box shape remains, albeit with a rounder front and rear. This new, refreshed look is to ensure popularity and sales across the world, similar to what the rest of the Land Rover family enjoys. Improved safety features will also allow more international sales as previously it couldn't be sold in the US or Canada as it did not meet safety regulations.
Land Rover’s focus for the new Defender is 'premium durability', meaning that it should be every bit as tough as the old model, without looking as basic. Design boss for Land Rover, Gerry McGovern said: ‘We have to stop thinking about function in a durable way. When you're buying into the brand, you're buying a premium product.’
The engine is expected to come from Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium petrol and diesel ranges, with both manual and automatic gearboxes available. Also predicted is the latest off-road technology, including multiple cameras and an evolution of the All-Terrain Progress Control system (in effect cruise control for off-roading) found in the Discovery. An electric version is rumoured to be in the pipeline however not until 2024.
Land Rover have been carrying out rigorous testing (1.2 million kilometers across 45,000 tests) in extreme conditions. Currently, the new Defender is being put through its paces in the Borana Conservancy in Kenya, with wildlife conservation group Tusk. This final phase of testing is set to include towing heavy loads, wading through rivers and tackling some seriously challenging, off-road terrain - exactly what you’d expect from a Defender.
Another controversial change is where it will be made. The new Defender will no longer be manufactured in its spiritual, Solihull home. Instead, it will be built in Nitra, Slovakia, Jaguar Land Rover’s new plant, which has the capacity to build 150, 000 vehicles per year.
WHEN CAN WE SEE THE NEW LAND ROVER?
All will be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September of this year, where the new Defender is expected to officially launch.
‘We are enormously excited to be revealing the first member of the Defender family during 2019 with UK customers taking delivery in 2020’, said Rawdon Glover, Jaguar Land Rover UK Managing Director.
‘The Defender nameplate stands for durability and alongside Range Rover delivering ultimate luxury and Discovery offering the best versatility in the market, we will have an SUV for every customer requirement.’
OFF-ROAD DRIVING SCOTLAND
Here at 4x4 Adventures Scotland we absolutely love our fleet of Land Rovers. Although we expect a big change from the current Defender design, we can’t wait to see the final product and it test it out on our Loch Lomond off-road driving tracks. Both our Discovery and Defenders (90 and 110) have served us well over the years and we fully expect the new Defender to perform to the same high standards.