The 2020 Land Rover Defender Could Be Revealed at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show
Land Rover has been working on the Defender project for over five years now, and from an exterior perspective, it seems like a long time for a vehicle to be developed and for that development to not be completed. But the all-new Defender is now in the final stretch, which is why we’ve been teased with a shot of a camouflaged prototype for the first time.
Land Rover Teases The New Defender
Land Rover teased a picture of a new off-roader yesterday. Although the company hasn’t mentioned the name or any other details, we are guessing it’s the new Defender. The off-roader, in the picture, is seen ramping out of a trailer, covered in zebra camouflage, looking kind of like a Mercedes G-Class. What an early Christmas present this is!
Land Rover Wants to Take on the Mercedes X-Class and Toyota Hilux with a Single-Cab Defender Pickup
Land Rover is one of the few brands in the auto industry that abides by its identity unflinchingly. It’s known for building some of the finest SUVs in the world, and it stays in its own lane. When was the last time you heard Land Rover consider a sedan as part of its lineup? Never? That said, the automaker has shown its willingness to stretch its identity a bit. We saw it when it launched the Range Rover Evoque earlier this decade. Now, we could be seeing it again in the form of a single-cab pickup that will be based on the upcoming Defender.
The Most Useful Land Rover Defender Can Fit Inside Your Wallet
The Land Rover Defender was known for being one of the most functional cars in the world. It was built to drive on any road surface and its all-world toughness has become one of its most enduring features. Unfortunately, the Defender is in a bit of an influx today as Land Rover prepares to launch the next-generation model. Fear not, though, because there is a Land Rover Defender that’s currently on the market that has no shortage of useful functions. Best of all, it costs under $20. Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on the Land Rover Defender multitool device.
A 50-Year-Old Coal-Powered Steam Land Rover? Yup, There’s One Out There
If there’s anything the iconic Land Rover Defender proved in its 67-year run that concluded in 2016, it’s that it could be used in a variety of ways. Whether it was used as a military car, an off-roader, or even as an expedition car, there was no purpose the OG Defender couldn’t fulfill. Apparently, as one British man proved, it can also be turned into a fully functioning coal-powered steam car.
Meet Frank Rothwell. He’s a 67-year old retired British businessman man who happens the own one of the most unusual custom Land Rover Defender 88 models in the world. On the surface, we can still make out traces of its old identity. The body still has the Defender 88’s styling cues. but the recessed grille has been replaced by boiler front with a working chimney for the coal smoke. There’s even a Land Rover badge thrown in there for good measure, presumably to keep up with the appearances.
Rothwell said that he spent around £24,000 (about $34,000) on the project after buying the Land Rover for £4,000 (a little more than $5,600). From there, Rothwell spent more than 400 hours working on the conversion, most of which were used in fitting a coal-fired boiler that heats water into steam that is used to power the steam engine. The result speaks for itself.
The Defender 88, or whatever remains of it, now looks like something Jeremy Clarkson would build after one of his old late night benders.
Functionally, Rothwell claims that his Defender can top out at speeds of 15 mph with a full head of steam. It’s not much, but it’s enough for him to make his usual trips in and around town. More importantly, the car represents something of a love project for his grandchildren. "I think it’s really good for children of this era to do things like lighting fires and using coal," he says, "because they have little access to using things like that these days."
2017 East Coast Defender “Project Beast”
The name “Defender” carries some serious weight in the world of off-roading. With a long history of military service and simply unflappable talent off-road, this iconic model from Land Rover serves as the bones for myriad capability-focused vehicles. Florida-based auto shop East Coast Defenders knows this well, making its name building custom versions of the British model for enhanced style, greater interior comfort, and even greater agility while traversing the great outdoors. Now, ECD is invading the sands of Vegas with its latest custom build, dropping the sheets at the 2017 SEMA show. The project was a collaboration with Warn Industries, a manufacturer that specializes in vehicle recovery equipment, and is based on a Defender 110 model from 1985. Created by hand and equipped with a litany of custom parts, ECD appropriately calls this build “Project Beast.”
Framed as an “elite off-road SUV,” Project Beast was actually completed in 2016, built in ECD’s “Rover Dome” in Kissimmee, Florida. All told, it’s got the right stuff for attracting attention at SEMA. Read on for more.
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Of Course The Next Land Rover Defender Will Be Electrified
People might act surprised when automakers release a new fully electric vehicle or a hybrid version of an old favorite. Ford, for example, says a hybrid version of the F-150 is coming. There’s even talk of a hybrid Jeep Wrangler in the next few years. As such, it should come to nobody’s surprise that the next-generation Land Rover Defender will also have an electrified drivetrain. What exactly that entails, not even Land Rover has the specifics nailed down. Add to that Land Rover’s official statement confirming every one of its models will have an electrified version by 2020. So yeah, the next Defender will be electric in some way.
It would be a safe bet Land Rover will use a similar hybrid drivetrain found in the recently revealed Range Rover P400e and Range Rover Sport P400e. The system consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with an 85-kW electric motor sandwiched between. A 13.1-kWh lithium-ion battery supplies the power, while regenerative braking and engine power recharge the battery when in motion. When parked, a P400e’s battery is plugged in for charging. Impressively, both P400e versions have an all-electric range of 31 miles.
As for the new Defender, it’s reported to abandon the traditional body-on-frame design for Land Rover’s modern, aluminum-intensive unibody architecture. The Defender is expected to keep its tradition of a two-door soft-top and a four-door hard-top version. We’re just hoping it retains the boxy shape that’s made it an icon. Land Rover is expected to debut the Defender sometime in 2018 with production versions hitting dealerships worldwide in 2019.
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2017 East Coast Defender Project Viper
By today’s industry standards, the Land Rover Defender doesn’t qualify as an SUV. It has a look that remains culled from past generations and it lacks the kind of state-of-the-art tech features that dominate the SUV landscape. But the perceived shortcomings of the Defender are also considered strengths by those who swear by it. And in case there are still people who doubt the affection fans have for the Defender, look no further than Florida-based East Cost Defender’s special edition creation, Project Viper.
While it’s not technically based on the Defender, it’s easy to see where Project Viper’s inspiration lies. There are also hints of inspiration from the Mercedes-AMG G63 6x6, so that shouldn’t be ignored. But don’t mistake the Project Viper for a custom SUV based on either model, because it’s not. The SUV is completely built from the ground-up by the company’s new Ultimate Vehicle Concept (UVC) division, which specializes on limited edition builds to create SUVs that are, in the words of ECD co-owner Scott Wallace, “not limited by a specific Bill of Materials or budget.” That disclaimer is particularly important to anyone who wishes to buy any one of the 10 Project Viper SUVs that ECD plans to build. See, it’s not all about aesthetic inspiration or premium tech for the company. It’s also about providing the most well-suited SUV for customers who are willing to pay the premium price to own one.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Project Viper by East Coast Defender.
Will SVO finally expand its reach into serious off-roading?
Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations is rumored to be working on a hard-core off-road package for the new Discovery. Typically focused on high-end luxury models of Land Rover and Range Rover SUVs, along with high-performance models of Jaguar and Range Rovers, SVO might swing into the dirt. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this rumor, but Auto Express has a soft confirmation from SVO boss John Edwards.
Edwards had a conversation with Auto Express at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. Therein, Edwards revealed some telling hints, saying, “I can’t tell you what the SV version of the Discovery will be like but in my mind it will be in between Paris Dakar and Camel Trophy. Somewhere in there is a product waiting to get out.”
Of course, the Dakar and Camel Trophy are two famed off-road competitions, with the Dakar being a moderate to high-speed race, while the Camel Trophy was more low-speed exploration through inhospitable terrains. Perhaps the upcoming SVO Discovery will be capable of doing both. Don’t expect Land Rover to compromise on passenger comfort, either.
Rumors also suggest this special Land Rover will be called the Discovery SVX, hinting at his all-terrain abilities. No official word has been given, but we’d expect the SVX to come with high-profile meaty tires, underbody skid plates, rock sliders, exposed tow hooks, and perhaps a revised air suspension system allowing for more ground clearance. Off-road lights and a roof rack aren’t out of the question, either.
Expect the interior to feature all-weather floor mats, durable leather seats, and the latest in off-road techno-gadgets from Land Rover. Power could come from the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline engine or the torquey 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6. Regardless, the ZF eight-speed automatic and full-time 4WD system will be present.
No dates have been announced, but the Discovery SVX could debut as soon as late 2017 or early 2018. That follows Edwards’ comments to AE, saying “We plan to introduce a new halo product every year for the next three or four years,” with an apparent emphasis on an earlier date.
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Why Are Land Rover Defenders So Expensive? Doug DeMuro Explains: Video
Ah, the iconic Land Rover Defender – Britain’s answer to the Jeep Wrangler and most utilitarian of utilities from the now-posh automaker. Though Land Rover stopped making the Defender only this year, the SUV has always been hard to find in the U.S. That’s thanks to our lovely governmental regulations on things like safety and exhaust emissions. It was only four model years that the Defender was offered Stateside before the Defender was no longer sellable.
Limited production numbers aside, why have Defenders appreciated so much in value – the average selling price of which has crested $70,000?
Well the odd-car-loving internet sensation Doug DeMuro spends nearly six minutes explaining why the Defender is so expensive. It’s a fun watch with plenty of detailed video angles of parts and features you might not realize existed. Without spoiling anything, the video will certainly renew your understanding of how quirky the Defender really is.
Next-Gen Land Rover Defender Reported for 2019 Debut
It seems Jaguar Land Rover is already in the works preparing the next generation of Defender, the iconic British SUV that competed with the Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes G-Wagen. According to rumors, JLR is weighing both the design of the next Defender and its assembly location.
AutoCar is reporting the next Defender will spawn a “small family” of vehicles, according to a source within JLR. The rumors continue, saying the new Defender will undoubtedly ride on an existing JLR platform, likely the ladder frame under the Land Rover Discovery 4, or LR4 as its otherwise known. This will retain its hard-core off-road abilities furthered by four-wheel independent suspension, a traditional transfer case and longitudinally oriented drivetrain.
Powertrain choices are yet unknown, but most of the world will likely get a turbodiesel of some sort, whether it’s a new unit or one borrowed from the LR4. Land Rover will likely adopt an automatic transmission for the Defender, though it would be wise to offer an optional manual gearbox.
All of that depends on where Land Rover wants the new Defender to sit within its lineup. Should it be a rugged SUV with a reasonable asking price, or should it be a more trendy statement piece that offers more luxury? Those are the types of questions currently being reviewed by company executives. One thing is for sure: it won’t bare much resemblance to the questionable DC100 Concept from several years ago. That comes straight from Land Rover’s design director Gerry McGovern.
Regardless of what form it takes, the new Defender won’t be ready until at least 2019. Perhaps JLR will have a pre-production model ready for show by 2018 for at 2019 model year launch, or if delays continue, the Defender will wait to break cover till the decade’s end.
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Land Rover has just auctioned off the 2 millionth Defender at perhaps the highest cost ever given for the brand’s most iconic model. The auction brought in a staggering £400,000, or roughly $600,000 U.S. dollars. The winning bidder hails from Qatar and placed his bids though the phone.
This particular Defender might look familiar. We reported about Land Rover’s big hubbub about its construction back in the spring, having a star-studded cast of “assembly line workers,” including adventurer Bear Grylls, actress Virginia McKenna, and the sons of Land Rover’s founder, Stephen and Nick Wilks.
All the proceeds from the auction will be donated to Land Rover’s humanitarian and conservation partners, the international Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and to the Born Free Foundation. Both groups will use the funds for specific causes.
The IFRC will use the funds to help communities in Southeast Nepal improve preparedness for natural disasters. The Born Free Foundation will use its donation to help support the “Project Lion Rover” wildlife conservation initiative in Meru National Park, located in Kenya.
“We are extremely grateful to Land Rover for so generously donating half the proceeds of the sale of this one-off vehicle towards our work in Nepal,” says Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of The British Red Cross. “The Red Cross has used Defenders in humanitarian work and relief efforts in the U.K. and around the world since the early 1950s and has benefited from Land Rover’s support on many occasions through vehicle donations and loans.”
The Defender will continue to be in production through January of 2016, when Land Rover will officially dispatch historied model.
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If you just glance over Land Rover Defender history, you’ll see that the Defender hit the market in 1983 and stayed there, only taking on mild changes, until 2016. However, if you look a little deeper, you’ll realize that the Defender actually traces its roots back to 1948 when the first Series Land Rover made its debut at the Amsterdam Motor Show in April of that year. These defenders that were, oddly, quite similar to the model from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s (with a retro vibe to them, of course) but they were actually built by the Rover Company from 1948 to 1967 and then by British Leyland from 1968 to 1983.
1983 marked the end of the Series Land Rover and, from that point on, the vehicle would be known as the Defender and marketed under the Land Rover name. The Defender as we knew it in 1983 was produced until 2016 when, after a total of 67 years in continuous production, the Defender was discontinued. In the U.S. Market, however, you couldn’t buy a new defender after 1997 as it couldn’t keep up with safety regulations at the time. For 2020, Land Rover (or Jaguar Land Rover, rather) introduced an all-new Defender that isn’t quite as boxy as the model it replaced but holds true to the tradition of a true, go-anywhere SUV.
The 2020 Land Rover Defender starts at nearly $51,000 in base form and can cruise to north of $100,000 for higher trim level models with added accessories. At the time of launch, the new defender is offered in 90 and 110 form (in regard to its wheelbase) and with four different engines depending on the market. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder will deliver between 200 and 240 horsepower while a six-cylinder is offered with up to 400 horsepower thanks to a mild-hybrid system that provides a little extra power and better fuel economy. A plug-in hybrid and larger 130-wheelbase model is expected to hit the market at some point, but as of 2020, there’s no official word on either model.