Land Rover has confirmed that the camouflaged mules running around England the past few months are, in fact, the new Defender, and this new Defender will be coming to America, the first Defender to be sold here since 1997.
The announcement was made on December 27th, "a holiday gift to our Defender fans in North America and a hint of what’s to come in the New Year.”
A fleet of camouflaged test vehicles will be taking on America in 2019, and the destinations are suggested by the passport stamps that make up the camo wrap. Stamps for Death Valley, Pismo Beach, the Rubicon Trail, the Rockies, and Moab all just say "2020" on them, but another one says "Arrived - United States of America - 1/2020," possibly suggesting a January 2020 on-sale date.
The press release came with some new high-resolution photos, which on zooming in make it almost certain that the new truck will have a hipped inset between the doors and windows, some kind of bumped hood to replicate the original shape of the Series and Defender trucks (shown by the huge empty spaces seen in the hood cladding from the rear, though considering how many components are in the new drivetrain that need to be accessed, I would assume it would be a single, stamped piece the width of the truck instead of fixed wings and an opening central portion), a shallow upright dashboard, some form of large, round headlights, enormous mirrors on slim arms, curved front window tops that look like an old Defender station wagon (visible in some shots from the interior), and an upright, wide side-hinged rear door with a tire on the back. Plenty of the final form of the truck is still wrapped and cladded up tight, though.
Going through the high-resolution photos in the Land Rover Media Center makes for a fun sport of trying to visually unwrap the truck. Though the truck may not go on sale for at least year, it should be safe to say that Land Rover will continue trickling out hints on its final form...one last round of the excruciating teasing Defender enthusiasts have suffered for many years!
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