Land Rover De­fender

Long-awaited suc­ces­sor to Land Rover’s off-road icon will evolve into a new fam­ily of tough SUVS and pick-ups On sale Sum­mer 2020 Price from £40,000 (est)

What Car? - - Contents - Dar­ren Moss Dar­[email protected]­mar­

Di­verse fam­ily of 4x4s will ar­rive in 2020

IN JAN­UARY 2016, the last De­fender rolled off Land Rover’s pro­duc­tion line at Soli­hull, bring­ing an end to the iconic off-roader al­most 67 years af­ter the Se­ries I Land Rover on which it was based went on sale. It won’t be gone for long, how­ever, be­cause an all-new De­fender is ar­riv­ing in 2020.

The new car’s styling is a closely guarded se­cret – Land Rover is very wary of show­ing con­cept cars for fear of the de­sign be­ing copied – but the big­gest clue so far came with the DC100 con­cept in 2011. Orig­i­nally in­tended to show how a new, low-cost De­fender model could look, the project was canned be­cause pub­lic re­ac­tion to the car was very poor. That re­ac­tion de­layed Land Rover’s plans for a new De­fender as its de­sign­ers re­turned to the draw­ing board.

An­other rea­son for the de­lay was that the ex­ist­ing De­fender, be­ing a niche ve­hi­cle, was never a big make its suc­ces­sor vi­able, Land Rover is un­der­stood to be tar­get­ing an­nual sales of around 100,000 cars, so it will be nec­es­sary to of­fer buy­ers a choice of mod­els, cre­at­ing a De­fender fam­ily with dif­fer­ent bodystyles.

As well as the tra­di­tional short and long-wheel­base ver­sions with three or ve doors, there are plans for a pick-up, an even smaller SUV and nu­mer­ous trim lev­els that will pri­ori­tise ei­ther ev­ery­day road use or hard­core off-road­ing. Premium and per­for­mance ver­sions are also planned.

The new De­fender will sit on a strength­ened ver­sion of the alu­minium plat­form that un­der­pins the cur­rent Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Dis­cov­ery.

En­gines will come from Jaguar Land Rover’s In­ge­nium petrol and diesel line-up. Among the likely can­di­dates is the 2.0-litre diesel we rec­om­mend in the Dis­cov­ery Sport. A V6 diesel will also be of­fered.

The De­fender is ex­pected to re­main one of the most ca­pa­ble off-road­ers around. It will be of­fered with the lat­est off-road tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple cam­eras and an evo­lu­tion of the All-ter­rain Progress Con­trol sys­tem (es­sen­tially off-road cruise con­trol) found in the lat­est Dis­cov­ery.

En­try-level De­fend­ers are ex­pected to cost around £40,000 and ri­val the Toy­ota Land Cruiser and Jeep Wran­gler, but high-end ver­sions could cost more than £70,000.

Pro­to­types have been spot­ted test­ing on Bri­tish roads

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