I remember writing about the Land Rover Defender way back in 2014, as time ticked away with Land Rover’s announcement that the Defender would cease production. At the time I wonder if even Land Rover could have expected the outpouring of emotion from people lamenting its demise. Upset followers even made the evening news, pouring their hearts out and proudly displaying Defender family heirlooms.
Fast-forward to 2017 and Land Rover has announced that the much-anticipated new Defender is currently under development in advance of – what will no doubt be – a very big and controversial unveiling in 2018.
Diehard fans of the traditional Defender (the boxy 4×4 barely changed in its long lifespan dating back to the forties) will no doubt offer a mixture of outrage and excitement once the new Defender is splashed all over the TV, magazines and the Sunday supplements, but time moves on and this incarnation is likely to improve on the previous model so much, that I’m sure the doubters will be eventually won over.
Land Rover promises that the 2018 Defender will be even more adept at off-roading than the old model, with a somewhat more luxurious interior to boot. Of course, this is likely to increase the price compared to the old variety, but it might just be worth it…
This will be a resurrection of the Defender, not a new model year version. So styling and vehicle lines will be updated, and we can expect an end to those box-like sharp rivetted angles in favour of more modern flowing lines, while not straying too far from the Defender aesthetic.
Back in September 2011, the Frankfurt Motor Show gave us the DC100 (‘Defender Concept 100’), which gained a very positive response from the public and automotive press respectively. One of the factors in there being such a positive response was possibly that people expected the asking price to be around £40,000 upwards, but the price point was in fact half that. Two versions of the concept were offered; the diesel 3-door estate off-roader, and the petrol 2-door sport model minus a roof and gaining some bright paintwork. It was the latter version that was arguably the most striking, with the 4×4 suiting the missing roof extremely well.
We can expect that the new Defender will look very much like the DC100 – with the addition of six years worth of tweaking and improving the basic design. Engine-wise, the Defender will be expected to take on the Jaguar 2-litre, with options of petrol and diesel available – just like the DC100. The P400e will herald the modern world for the Defender by being a hybrid-electric model. The Range Rover is likely to head in this direction too, incidentally.
So if that’s whetted your appetite a bit, when can we expect to see something? Land Rover has stalled before on the new Defender, but as things stand, we can expect something in (late) 2018, with more information trickling out earlier than that during the year.