The Land Rover Defender is easily one of the most highly anticipated new SUVs and spy photographers have snapped a heavily camouflaged prototype undergoing testing on British roads.
Looking far more modern than its predecessor, the all-new Defender features a squared off front fascia with gentle curves. The model also has a slender single bar grille which is flanked by relatively large headlights that are partially obscured by camouflage.
Further below, we can see a central air intake and two mesh screens which cover additional intakes on the sides. The outside edges of the bumper continue downward and there appears to be a cutout for a front skid plate.
Moving further back, we can see a relatively flat hood and curved fenders with pronounced wheel arches. The latter reside in front of vertical vents which are located near the base of the A-pillar.
Speaking of the latter, the Defender has a rakish windscreen which meets a relatively flat roof. The model also has a compact greenhouse and flat sides that taper inwards towards the top.
Out back, the Defender has a rear-mounted spare tire which will undoubtedly impact rearward visibility. Of course, this issue won’t be too much of a problem as the model should have a rearview camera and parking sensors.
Besides the rear tire, we can see a more traditional bumper than the one used on its predecessor. The Defender also sports a side-opening rear door with a prominent handle.
Land Rover has been relatively tight-lipped about the Defender, but it is expected to debut in 2020 and ride on the company’s new Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA). Teased earlier this year, the platform has designed to accommodate a handful of different powertrains including internal combustion engines, mild and plug-in hybrids as well as full battery electric models.
The new architecture is expected to be lighter and stiffer than the previous platform and Jaguar Land Rover has already said it will deliver a more comfortable ride. While the model will come with an independent rear suspension, previous reports have suggested the company will offer an assortment of axle, suspension and tire choices to ensure the Defender can tackle everything from a day of shopping to hardcore off-roading.
Engine options remain unconfirmed, but entry-level models are expected to be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder which is available in both petrol and diesel guise. Fans can also expect an assortment of six-cylinder options.
Several different body styles are expected to be available and Land Rover could eventually introduce a pickup variant. There have also been rumors about a Defender Sport which could be positioned as a lifestyle vehicle with more focus on street performance.