The new Defender's interior may have been leaked on Twitter, and while it's a rough mockup, there's enough there to think that it's the real deal -- and a nostalgic tribute to 68 years of Land Rover dashboards.
The original post is long-gone -- Jaguar Land Rover's corporate public relations head pesonally replied to the tweet to say the legal team was on the way, since posting this almost certainly violated several clauses in some Non-Disclosure Agreement. But that response, combined with the design cues, makes it all the more likely it's something like the real thing. Of course, every motoring site has now reported on it, so the picture is not going away.
Since this is probably a mockup, the materials are not the quality that the final product would be -- if this is, in fact, the final product. But it gives a hint of what direction the interior of the Defender might be going, and perhaps an indication of the level of nostalgia that will influence the design of the truck as a whole.
The interior looks much more utilitarian than any of the other modern Land Rover models, even if it's not quite as utilitarian as the old Defender. The central screen, which will presumably be used for entertainment functions and cameras, is a de facto requirement if for no other reason than all vehicles in the United States now must have backup cameras. It also means that the entire computerized back end can cross over with the rest of the line. The Defender also seems to use the digital instrument cluster that is becoming the fleet standard, having trickled down from the full-size Range Rover over the past decade. This year's new Evoque switched from traditional gauges, leaving the Discovery Sport as the only outlier. It's due for a refresh very soon, and presumably, it will join the rest of the fleet with this new standard. In addition to being able to display lots of information for off-road functionality the Defender will use, this again cuts costs by giving the entire line a common tech infrastructure.
In the middle is a more traditional, Range Rover Sport-sourced automatic transmission shifter (there are no real expectations of a manual in the New Defender, and even fewer expectations that any manual model would come to North America), as opposed to the dial that Jaguar Land Rover has used in recent years. It's high on the dash, and it seems like it may be really easily at hand in an off-road situation that required frequently shifting switching with steering, especially with a Tiptronic-style manual shift mode. This panel, which juts out of the front of the dash, also has the controls for what looks like the climate control and stereo volume, and some buttons which are currently unmarked. The steering wheel also almost certainly has unmarked controls; the other models have capacitive touch controls on the spokes, and those seem likely here, too.
Of course, there are dual airbags in the front -- the primary death knell of the original North American Defender in 1997 -- and almost certainly many more throughout the vehicle, again for modern safety requirements -- so it's out with the old dash storage trays and in with airbag covers. However, even with that, the shape of the dash seems to pay tribute to the dash shape that remained relatively unchanged from 1948 to 2006 -- and it perhaps looks more traditional than the 2007-2016 "Puma" Defender did. The upper and lower dash are bridged by a flat section, containing the airbag and tech screens, with a simple, geometric bump out for the gauge cluster. Between that and its very shallow form, it's clearly designed to bring to mind a Series truck or early Defender. with their storage cubbies. We haven't seen enough of the exterior to know what nostalgic design cues lie beneath the piled-on cladding, but if this is the real interior, that's an encouraging sign.
Other than that...there's not that much here. And that's not a bad thing. The floor is even a dull plastic, and though that could be the cheap mockup materials replicating carpeting, there's also a slight hope that at least the bottom half could be hosed out after a muddy off-road run. All the controls seem to be high up, as well.
The only chintzy part is the "STOP" and "GO" printed on the pedals. Perhaps these are part of the mockup and don't make it to the final product. On an otherwise classy looking interior, they're a tiny bit juvenile.
There's no guarantee this is the real deal, but it's an original design that carries through clear nostalgic themes, and it'd be a lot of work to make this up -- though if it's a fake, kudos to whoever conceived it. Combined with the Land Rover PR department flipping out about it on Twitter, this may be the first concrete sign of what the New Defender actually looks like. It's not the original, sure, but it seems like it's as close as they could get while including all the required technology -- and not much more.
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