The Land Rover Defender Returns With Bold New Look
The hotly anticipated Land Rover Defender was launched to the world at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week and later made it’s UK debut at the prestigious Goodwood Revival last Friday.
With its reveal came the end of a long wait that commenced when Land Rover first pulled the plug on the original back in 2016. Replacing the original Defender was never going to be an easy task and it’s proved to be one that’s faced strong opinion from start to finish.
The recipe of the original Defender was patently clear. A utilitarian machine, the Defender was a rugged, robust go-anywhere off-roader. Designed to be easily maintained and repaired when away from home, the Defender suited the needs of a post-war Britain perfectly and it quickly became the go-to vehicle for emergency services, the armed forces and farmers alike. Even Queen Elizabeth has been pictured driving one and rumour has it that she’s even got her hands dirty in the past in repairing one on the Balmoral estate in Scotland.
Whatever your opinions on Land Rover resurrecting the Defender, the new one is here and it’s here to stay. Whilst being designed with the recipe of the original in mind, it is clearly different and Land Rover faced a huge task in the conception of the new Defender. Over the course of five decades, the world has dramatically changed. Ever tightening emission and safety regulations made the creation of anything remotely close to the original an impossible task so it should come as no surprise that the all-new Defender is a major departure. That said, Land Rover has worked tirelessly to retain the iconic Defender philosophy.
Not since the rebirth of the Mini has a manufacturer faced such a monumental task and it’s a task that Land Rover has gone all-in on and there are absolutely no half measures here.
The new Defender will come in the same wheelbases as the now-defunct predecessor. That means that there will be a 90 and 110 option to choose from. The 110 is set to go on sale first in early next year with the 90 set to follow up to a year later. In addition to this, and if rumours prove to be true, Land Rover is investigating an even larger 130 variant, although this news is yet to be officially confirmed.
Alongside the two choices of wheelbases, customers will also be able to choose from a vast variety of body specifications. What was loved in the first Defender was it’s versatility with business and agriculture both using Defender to great effect. Land Rover has confirmed that commercial variants will be forthcoming and these will also arrive in 2020.
All Defenders will come with four-wheel drive as standard and will also have a choice of air suspension or coils. 110 will feature air suspension as standard whilst the 90 will come with coils by default, however air suspension can also be specified. In addition to the choices of suspension set up, the new Defender will also come with a choice of powertrains. At current, the choice revolves around two petrol and two diesel variants with one of the petrol options featuring a very mild form of hybridisation.
Buyers also have a choice when it comes to accessories with an unrivalled selection of over 170 items to choose from and four themed accessory packs with these being badged ‘Urban’, ‘Country’, ‘Explorer’ and ‘Adventure’. Alongside these packs, the Defender will also feature modern additions such as Apple CarPlay and a 10in Infotainment system.
We know that the new Defender will come with a variety of choice as standard, but what about the way that this thing looks? Well, straight away you are confronted with a beast that is dramatically more modern than its predecessor. The new Defender is boxy yet elegant with an eye-catching yet purposeful shoulder which runs the length of the vehicle. Upfront, new front and rear aprons are far more sculpted and are integral to the design of the new Defender. It sports a fresh new face and key to this are relatively small yet prominent headlight clusters.
Small roof lights to the rear are an affectionate nod to the original whilst a spare wheel sits proudly on the rear door, again very much like the original. Inside this theme continues. Whilst there’s the latest in Land Rover tech, the interior see’s exposed rivets on the door cards, grab handles to the left and right of the dashboard and a front-row seat setup that can be configured to have three seats or a storage compartment thanks to the dashboard-mounted centre console.
At first glance, the new Defender looks like a fantastic machine and Land Rover is billing it to be significantly better off road. With that in mind, it’s going to be interesting to see if the marques Discovery model can continue to stay relevant once the new Defender gains sales traction.
Whatever your viewpoint the new Defender is here. Whilst visually different, the new Defender is fully fit for the 21st century and is a machine that stays true to the original recipe. A recipe that created a legion of adoring fans, it is set to go on sale in early 2020. It looksset to be a major sales success and a 4x4 worthy of carrying the Defender moniker long into the future. Welcome back, Defender.