Land Rover Defender; Manufacturer images
With a gaggle of images that show a camouflaged example traipsing around New York City and an undisclosed off-road location, Land Rover announced plans to reveal its reincarnated Defender sometime in 2019. The SUV hits U.S. dealerships sometime in 2020.
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Land Rover’s images underline the boxy profile we first glimpsed in a pre-Christmas teaser. The Defender carries a far boxier shape than we’ve seen from Land Rover in years — more akin to a Jeep Wrangler than the windswept lines that characterize half a dozen Range Rover and Discovery variants.
That should please fans of the last Defender, which new safety requirements (airbags? Pshaw!) forced Land Rover to scuttle in the U.S. after 1997, even as the SUV lived on elsewhere. With all the aerodynamics of a major kitchen appliance, the prior Defender was a hard-as-nails, off-road truck.
The nameplate’s reincarnation will no doubt be more civilized, but it looks to remain just as boxy. Like its forebear, the Defender straps a spare tire in back and features prominent fender extrusions with space aplenty for wheel articulation. The nose looks boxy, but with camouflage wrapping around portions of the headlights and what could be a faux bump-out above the real hood, it’s hard to tell what the face will really look like.
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Comparisons to the rest of Land Rover’s lineup will have to wait until full details come, but the images suggest tidy overall dimensions. The Defender looks to be tall but narrow, with tight overhangs at both axles. Naturally, Land Rover touts significant off-road testing as part of the SUV’s development, going so far as to say it will be “the most off-road capable Land Rover vehicle ever” — no timid claim, given the terrain-conquering chops for models like the flagship Range Rover. It will also have plenty of driver-assistance and connectivity features, Land Rover says.
Stay tuned for more.
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