The Land Rover Defender is, along with Merc’s G-Wagen, one of the two most iconic 4x4s ever. However, despite its cult car status, it has gotten really old and the automaker struggled to sell about 20,000 units annually before closing down the assembly line.
That’s expected to change when the new generation arrives, as Land Rover estimates it will shift some 100,000 units annually.
The Defender is in for a total makeover, which will not only bring a new platform, engines, interior and state-of-the-art technologies, but also a new design. Speaking to Ralf Speth, JLR’s CEO, CarAdvice has learned that the trademark boxy looks might not be adopted for its successor.
The classic design with a few nips and tucks has worked like a charm for the new generation Mercedes-Benz G-Class. The German SUV is basically all-new and remains one of the most sought after vehicles in class without straying too much from the original’s design, yet JLR might choose to eschew this recipe.
“It requires a state-of-the-art design and technology in this kind of vehicle, so looking only forwards, not backwards”, said Speth. “I think it’s a very interesting approach to keep designing the same vehicle [Mercedes G-Class], but move ahead with new technology inside, but at the end of the day, it’s only a halfway approach. To be really relevant while using the latest technology, and to hit all our environmental targets, we can’t keep looking back. We have to move forward in this regard.”
Previous reports claimed that, like its predecessor, the next-gen Defender will be offered in different flavors. The range should include two wheelbase lengths and several versions ranging from the utilitarian to the luxurious, and will probably count a pickup truck as well.
Expect mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains to make their way into the upcoming SUV, in addition to a number of straight-six engines with different outputs. However, there won’t be any V8s, as JLR is ditching this architecture in favor of downsizing.