If I claimed anything even remotely approaching journalistic integrity, I wouldn’t write anything about the new Defender until JLR gives us something even remotely newsworthy. Alas, I have deadlines, and you, dear readers, ravenously crave each microscopic tidbit of information on the Defender replacement, no matter how infinitesimally small, insignificant, or flat-out inaccurate it may be. You see what I did there? I just put it all on you. When you read this article, remember that I am providing this information to satisfy your obsession with new Defender. It has nothing to do at all with me, no sir, no ma’am. I wait patiently for the real news to come. Whenever that is.
In the meantime, JLR design boss and squished-roof devotee Jerry McGovern has apparently spoken with the UK’s “Automotive News,” and provided a few quotable morsels. For those coming in late to this story, In January of 2016, Jaguar Land Rover stopped building Defenders, the modern descendants of the original Series I, II, IIa, and III Land Rovers that defined the brand early on and cemented its place in automotive history. Prior to the end of production, there were numerous releases of information that purported to reveal the design approach of the new model. Since then new information from Land Rover has been extremely scarce, with any incremental progress on the redesign taking place behind a rather opaque veil of secrecy.
During a visit to Land Rover’s test facility at Gaydon last year, we are advised that there was quite a bit of disagreement in the company boardroom as to not only what the new Defender would look like but also what it would be built for. Would it be a capable recreational vehicle, appealing to the outdoor set, or would it be something more akin to its predecessor, geared toward purposeful utility both on and off the pavement?
The Automotive News article report that the new model will potentially emerge for sale in the 2019 model year. With typical public reveals starting to appear about a year before products hit the showrooms, it is possible we will start to see spy photos and the like sometime next year. Again, nothing new here, but it is anticipated that the vehicle will be available globally, including North America. It will be offered in a variety of body styles, just like all “proper” Land Rovers before it. Engine options are likely to include both petrol and diesel models, and the construction will incorporate an all aluminum unibody in similar fashion to the other vehicles currently offered. That means they may be manufactured outside the UK, in JLR’s Nitra, Slovakia, plant that will focus on building aluminum vehicles.
McGovern is quoted as saying that the new design will be instantly recognizable as Defender, but “without looking retro.”
Translation, they are going to squish the roof.
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