Update 1/23/2019: Our spies caught the shorty Land Rover Defender 90 again, this time testing in Sweden. We’ve added a new gallery of photos below, along with some new information in our article.
The all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender will carry on the tradition of offering at least two wheelbase configurations.
Some say it will even bring a third wheelbase labeled “130” but we’ll believe that when we see it.
Following the first spy shots of the upcoming Defender that showed the five-door, long-wheelbase 110 version, we can now bring you the three-door, short-wheelbase 90 model.
Shorter-wheelbase equals more fun off-road
We’ve spied it twice, the first time near Jaguar Land Rover’s headquarters in the United Kingdom, and more recently, undergoing cold-weather testing in Arjeplog, Sweden. As you can see, the Defender 90 is significantly shorter than the 110, making it even more suitable for extreme off-roading thanks to its vastly superior break-over angle.
As with its longer sibling, it is completely covered in camouflage and disguise material but those can’t hide the boxy shape of the bodywork. Unlike the Defender 110, however, this particular prototype doesn’t feature a spare tire mounted on the side-hinged rear door. That likely means the full-size spare wheel will be an optional feature.
Everything else looks just like the five-door prototype we previously – including the camouflage pattern with the cheeky #BEST4X4XFAR hashtag on the UK tester.
New MLA platform will help improve ride quality significantly
Despite the styling link to its predecessor, the 2020 Land Rover Defender is very much a modern vehicle and the technology on board will reflect that. Unfortunately, not much is known about the rugged off-roader’s underpinnings.
However, the 2020 Defender could be the first vehicle built on Jaguar Land Rover’s new flexible Modular Longitudinal Architecture (MLA). This platform is expected to equip most of the carmaker’s vehicles by 2025. JLR previously said in an investor presentation that the first model to use the architecture will arrive in 2020.
Given that the Defender is expected to go on sale in 2020, it’s likely the vehicle that will debut MLA. The new platform is capable of accommodating ICEs, mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric drivetrains.
Base models to get turbocharged four-cylinder engines
Besides obvious gains when it comes to weight saving and stiffness, the new platform is also expected to deliver a much more comfortable ride, thanks in part to an independent rear suspension. Engine options are yet to be confirmed, but entry-level models should use turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline and diesel engines. Six-cylinder units are likely to be available too.
It’s coming – to America too – in 2020
Expect to all-new Land Rover Defender to debut towards the end of 2019, with the first vehicles to be shipped from the new plant in Slovakia in dealerships worldwide starting in 2020. For the first time in a little over two decades, the Defender will be sold in America and Canada as well, as Land Rover recently confirmed.