Have you been wondering about the situation regarding the replacement for one of Land Rover’s most iconic models, the Defender? We have too, and thankfully, AutomotiveNews came to our avail to supply us with a new update.
For those who are having a hard time remembering, Land Rover has been busy going back and forth on their decisions as to how they plan to replace their legendary Defender off-roader. This is because the Defender, even in its current form, whose design literally dates back to decades ago in terms of origination, is still a hot topic–so hot, that their buyers are demanding that little be changed, or that the Defender remain in its current form for as long as possible.
It’s a slightly similar story to the Mercedes-Benz Gelandewagen–despite its ancient bones design, people still love it and buy it to this day, which forced Mercedes to continue making it aside from plans to can the G-Wagen altogether at one point because of age.
But given the fast-changing climate with new safety and emissions guidelines, it’s getting harder and harder for Land Rover to continue making the Defender in current form. That said, the company’s been working hard over the past few years to come up with a suitable replacement that will make everyone happy–but such a task is no easy feat.
Land Rover has been forced numerous times to return to the drawing board after their first renditions of a conceptual replacement to the Defender didn’t bode well with its audience. The last we ever heard and saw of a conceptual Defender replacement was the Defender Concept 100–the concept that wasn’t positively received from the audience, forcing Land Rover back to the design table.
Since then, there hasn’t been much of an update until, now, where AutomotiveNews learned the next Defender won’t share a thing in common with the last Defender Concept 100.
“When this vehicle comes out, people will know it’s a Defender, it’s a modern Defender,” Land Rover’s design director, Gerry McGovern told AN. “But it will bear no resemblance to those Defender concepts.”
So what are we to expect? Some speculated a design resembling the latest Range Rover Evoque, but with a boxier and more upright profile to provide the look of a much more utilitarian vehicle. It’ll also help the Defender move slightly more up-market for a greater appeal among the masses–the sort of thing Defender owners are probably not going to be keen to hear. But in order for the Defender to continue existing, it needs to present a solid business case for itself, so selling more is simply a requirement for sustainability.
“A lot of people love the idea of [the previous Defender], but they never buy one,” McGovern continued. “While I’m a designer, and I love designing, I’m also a businessman. We need to build a critical mass in order to sustain ourselves in the long term and reinvest.”
To keep the Defender flexible with its offerings though, it’ll continue to be offered in a wide array of body styles, ranging from two-door form to replace the current short-wheelbase Defender 90, to the four-door long-wheelbase Defender 110 replacement. Pickups are also on drawing board, as are convertibles, possibly.
For those in Yankee land wondering as well, America will also see the return of the Defender, but its lineup will most likely be limited when compared to the European version.
All in all, the next Defender isn’t expected to arrive until 2018 in Europe as a 2019 model year car. So while all of these plans sound solid, they’re still up for change until then.
So stay tuned.
– By: Chris Chin