Back in 1993, the Land Rover Defender was the first “Land Rover” branded vehicle to grace the U.S. soil as a new model since 1974. The Defender was ultimately a victim of government regulations, as the 1998 rule changes that required fitting all passenger vehicles with dual front airbags and side-impact protection enhancements caused Land Rover to pull the model from the U.S.
Well, now we have confirmation that the Land Rover Defender will indeed make its way back to the U.S., per an Automotive News interview with Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover. The model will arrive in 2015 and will be based on the DC100 Concept SUV that we saw at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Since its debut is still three years away, it will probably look nothing like the Defender that currently roams the streets of the UK .
What’s more, this new SUV will be ready and in the U.S. as soon as 2015 and will become the entry-level model for Land Rover, just under the all-new Evoque Pure . Speth also noted that the Defender will be priced below $42,000, but did not provide any hint as to what the price range may be.
There was also no mention of the engine that Land Rover will plop under the new Defender’s hood, but we have a pretty secure guess that the 2.2-liter diesel engine in the current UK Defender will not make the journey across the pond. Diesel-powered vehicles, sans large trucks, rarely ever make a big splash in the U.S. It may even borrow a V-6 from its sister company, Jaguar, or possibly a slightly detuned version of the Range Rover Evoque’s 2.0-liter engine.
We’ll keep an eye out on what’s happening with this upcoming rebirth of the Defender and let you know what other information we can dig up.
gallery: Land Rover DC100 Concept