Land Rover is circulating a photo of a new SUV wrapped in camouflage, with the caption “Do not unwrap until 2019.” The accompanying photo shows what can only be the new Defender SUV rolling out of the back of a trailer, in black-and-white photo-scattering print wrap, bearing the date “December 27.”
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For a while now, Land Rover has suggested that there will be a new Defender, the company’s oldest and most storied model, possessed of an iconic status on par with some of the most famous nameplates in the world: Wrangler, Mustang, 911 and Beetle. The SUV stopped production in 2016 after a run of 67 years, receiving a big update in the 1980s but still maintaining a lot of its original mystique from its debut in 1948.
Not much is yet officially known about the new Defender, but several reports from other outlets have deduced a few details about the new truck. We do know that it will be sold here, unlike the current version, which was pulled from the U.S. market in 1998 after airbag requirements made the current version unsalable. It’s likely to come in at least two wheelbase lengths, and as we can see from the photo released by Land Rover, it will still have a tailgate-mounted spare tire. Powertrains are still unknown, but a diesel seems increasingly unlikely given the continuing problems diesel is facing with emissions across the developed world.
We’ll have to see what Land Rover unwraps for us on Dec. 27, two days after we’ve opened all our other presents — which kind of stinks, Land Rover, thanks for that. I mean, given the shape of the new Defender, you’d think Land Rover would let us see it on Boxing Day instead.
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