The Land Rover Defender L851 is a long-overdue addition to the Land Rover family – it’s hugely important for the company’s long-term plans, and it will be finally revealed at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show.
Here’s what we know about the car Jaguar Land Rover should have launched in 2016.
All-new Land Rover Defender teased online
It promises to be one of the longest teaser campaigns in history, but Land Rover’s latest image of the L851 Defender mule shows it testing. The company promises that this will be the ‘most off-road capable Land Rover vehicle ever’, which if all goes to plan, should maintain the original car’s position as the world-beating go-anywhere utility vehicle.
The mule, which has all the unmistakable signs of being based on the Discovery 4, doesn’t reveal too much. But given the direction Land Rover design has taken in recent years, expect it to have many styling cues shared with the rest of the range – but an identity all of its own. Also expect it to evolve significantly from the Land Rover DC100 concept, which was originally mooted to be the project’s starting point.
‘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.’
What we know about the 2020 Land Rover Defender
Not a great deal, but it’s worth repeating that Project L851 has been in existence for some time, but has been re-evaluated several times, due to changing market conditions, and shifting product plan. It won’t go on sale until 2020, after its official unveil at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show. Given the outgoing Defender has been off-sale since 2016, and how much pent-up demand has built up, this has been a difficult situation for Land Rover to manage, but the onset of the teaser programme should allay the frustrations of some potential owners.
According to our friends at CAR magazine, It is now certain that Land Rover will launch a Defender and a Defender Sport model, and that there will be a myriad bodystyles on offer in short- and long-wheelbase forms. The Defender has a big task ahead of it – to win back lost agricultural sales (the pickup market dominated by the Ford Ranger has been a big winner here), as well as convince city dwellers that this new car will have all the classless and timeless appeal of the old one.
Land Rover’s model family will be composed of: Defender, Discovery and Range Rover. And like the larger, more expensive cars, the Defender family will encompass several models to cover its wide brief. The powertrains will be 2.0- and 3.0 Ingenium diesels and petrols in various states of tune, a three-cylinder PHEV version (that will debut in the Range Rover Evoque) and from 2024, a full electric version.
Given the critical success of other retro-styled off-roaders such as the Suzuki Jimny, Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, it almost seems like this car’s visual identity may well already be mapped out for it. We’ll see in the coming months whether Gerry McGovern’s team has got it right…