By on October 16, 2012

The Land Rover Defender commands fairly hefty prices on the used market, thanks to its brief tenure in our marketplace and its classic styling. But the revived Defender, set to debut in 2015, will not only come to America, but serve as the brand’s entry-level model.

Automotive News reports that

“The Defender would be priced below the Range Rover Evoque Pure, a new model for 2013 that is priced at $41,995, including shipping. It is one of several new products Land Rover and Jaguar, which are both owned by India’s Tata Motors, are developing as part of a global growth strategy.”

The next Defender is supposed to be previewed by the DC100 concept, which is supposed to echo the original vision of the Defender; a utilitarian, go-anywhere off-roader. It’s fair to say that today’s Land Rovers are a far cry from the brand’s original offerings, and it would be a refreshing change to get something in the spirit of the original. Especially after the (admittedly solid) Evoque, which is about as lifestyle as it gets.

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49 Comments on “Land Rover To Revive The Defender As Entry-Level Offering...”


  • avatar
    philadlj

    Sounds like they aim to build a more expensive Wrangler.

    • 0 avatar
      jco

      well, wouldn’t that be a good thing? i mean that’s kinda what the D90 was. with how many 4 door hardtop wranglers they’ve been selling, seems like the market for it is still alive. although.. PLEASE BE TO YOUR GODS, a diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      If it doesn’t have a diesel option it is useless and should die.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “If it doesn’t have a diesel option it is useless and should die.”

        Unless, of course, it is a small manual diesel wagon!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Kind of an offbeat question, but isn’t this what Marie is driving in Goa, India during the scene where she & Jason Bourne are trying to get away from Kirill, and Marie is shot and killed as she is driving across the bridge?

        I ask because when I saw the photo above it instantly jarred my memory, even though I never thought about what kind of vehicle that was in The Bourne Supremacy.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        @DeadWeight – That’s a Suzuki Samurai. Good, small lightweight 4WD for people on a budget.

        Completely different weight class. The Samurai is maybe half the weight of Defender 90.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        @Signal11:

        Thanks!

        I remember those now that you mention it, but it’s rare to see one of them on the roads.

        It really looks similar to the LR pictured above.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      I will be shocked if the new Defender has a separate frame, a longitudinally mounted engine or any solid axles. Base may be FWD.

      Think more expensive Patriot. The Evoque is a more expensive Compass, right?

      Land Rover is no longer situated to sell a commercial vehicle like the old Defender.

      It will have a diesel option, but that might not make it to the US.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Because who doesn’t want a crappy clone of an FJ Cruiser (not that the FJ Cruiser is anything impressive) for 10-20 grand more and legendary Indian/Brit build quality?

    If these trucks are anything resembling the real Defender 110s (with the diesel engines and the manual trasmissions), not the crappy 90s they overpriced and sold to morons in the twilight of the model’s life in the States I’d be surprised.

    • 0 avatar
      EquipmentJunkie

      Aren’t the 90s and 110s mechanically the same, just stretched?

      By the way, be careful what you say, most current 90 and 110 owners are packing heat.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Correct, 90 and 110 just indicate the wheelbase. Current Defenders are expensive and heavily optioned, the article indicates a reset to a more basic implementation, regardless of the wheelbase.

        But then I wouldn’t expect someone named “FJ60LandCruiser” to be entirely objective about Land Rovers. Especially since Toyota doesn’t have a serious off-road machine outside Latin America and Africa (where the FJ70 us still being built).

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        I don’t believe FJ60 was saying the 90s were a different vehicle, just that Defenders 90s that Land Rover sold in the 1990s back in the states were gasoline only and the vast majority were 4-speed automatics.

        He is wrong about “real” 110s, because if you don’t need the cargo or passenger capacity, 90s are a little more surefooted and more maneuverable. The 110s have a turning radius of a freight train.

        Personally, I prefer the LC 70 series, which are still being made, but not in Africa. Most of the world’s supply comes from the plant in Japan. At least as late as 2008, you could still arrange to have one of a couple different specs delivered by air direct from the factory.

        Never used the Venezuelan manufactured LC70s.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        I routinely get to drive an HZJ78 Land Cruiser and a D110 back to back, both new. The 110 in its current state would be difficult to live with on a daily basis. Interestingly, I believe the diesel motor to be a Ford unit. I would have no trouble living with the 70. I’d take a stripped diesel 80 over either one of them though.

        The concept shows some promise but The big wheels and flimsy looking bumpers are a non starter. If they go the rugged route of the original Defender I’d look for pricing to start North of the Wrangler Rubicons. If they make it more CUV then who cares. I’d like to see a more offroad oriented version of the concept and some mention of things like engines and axles.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      More cachet old bean, the horsey set goes gaw-gaw over all things British. They’ll be marketed that way. The Defender’s off-road capability will be used to drive over mowed fields at polo matches, steeplechases, and on the occasional dirt road that leads to the trout stream. Yes, there will be some insane person who will buy one of these and modify for rock-crawling serious off-road use. The rest will spend their lives in pampered suburban garages. BTW Land Rover 1948, FJ 1958; who cloned who?

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Gordon

        And of course the original Land-Rover was (literally) based on a Willys Jeep, which in turn was based on a Bantam which in turn was based on an Austin…..

    • 0 avatar
      FJ60LandCruiser

      American spec 90s had the dreadful V8 and 4 speed auto. They also cost a fortune and were an overpriced trust fund kid’s Wrangler… assuming you could get the electrics to play ball. No real 4×4 has been made for sale in America since the 90s, maybe the 80s. No real front live axle 4×4 remains, unless you want a Wrangler with a minivan interior and a Pentagram V6.

      110s for sale on Ebay are usually 80s era turds bought for nothing in England, shipped across the pond, and sold for 40 grand to morons who want to show off at the Cameltoe Trophy events Land Rover hosts for its customers who intentionally take their “trucks” off road. The few “real” Defenders sold in the states (in correct left hand drive format) are rare, their owners don’t want to part with them, and have spartan drivetrains and interiors no current Rover customer would ever accept–and therefore Land Rover would never sell them again in the States. A new spartan Defender for actual off road use is as much of a pipe dream as an affordable Porsche.

      As much as I’d love to spend a fortune on an 30 year old car that will break down the second I drive it home, I’ll pass on the 1980s eBay defenders.

      The current gen 90s, 110s, and rare oddball 130s along with Toyota’s LC76 are a dying breed of real 4x4s. You can’t buy them in the US, will NEVER be able to, and you will never be able to walk into an American dealer and request a 4×4 with a front live axle, 4×4, and a manual transmission. Oh, wait, you can. It’s called a Wrangler, but hurry up before FIAT turns it into a car-based grocery getter.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I am very interested in the news, but expect to be disappointed when I see what gets named a “Defender”.

    I await the 25-year old import exemption window as it begins to expose more turbo diesel D90 station wagon offerings. Sadly, the price still remains too high for the Chelsea tractors.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    If the new Defender was like the old one and priced under $40k fully loaded it could be competition for the Wrangler – otherwise forget about it. We dont want a $100k G Wagon wanna be.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    $42k is still a long way from ‘entry level’. They should make a $25k version with vinyl seats and rubber floor mats to compete with the Wrangler.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The article says “below Evoque Pure”, which is $42K. How much below remains to be seen. A $30K stripper version could be possible — and could be awesome.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      icemilkcoffee…

      “The Defender would be priced below the Range Rover Evoque Pure, a new model for 2013 that is priced at $41,995, including shipping.”

      Have no fears. This statement may actually (ambiguously) refer to the Evoque Pure, not the Defender.

      So, perhaps something in the range of $30K may be reasonable. If more, it may not sell well here against the base Wrangler or other small SUV-ish vehicles…

      But I do like the classic styling, as my boss had an old (1960′s) Land Rover that looked just like this (more or less) in the 1970′s. He was never late for work in upstate NY winters…darn!

      ———-

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Wow, how life has changed. I never expected to see the day where a 30K car would be considered entry level. I’m getting old.

  • avatar
    2012JKU

    Schmitt – $30k now would be about the same as a $10k car in 1980. Inflation has changed but $30k is definitely mainstream now for an average new vehicle price.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      $5K was entry level in 1980.

      Which should make people very happy that $15,000 now gets a car with power windows, power locks, power mirrors, good cloth (not vinyl), air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, traction control and six airbags. All missing on the 1980 entry level car. Not to mention a much better engine and transmission.

      But $10K in 1980 was not entry level.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Yes, but $30k is far more unaffordable now than $10k was in 1980. It represents a bigger slice of the median family income in the U.S.
      True the content is higher, but cars cost too much.

      I’m not looking forward to spending more than $30k on our next car, and I can afford it.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        Asking a median family to write a $30,000 check, sure. But that hasn’t the slightest to do with what cars cost or how people pay for them.

        In 1980 a car loan would cost you 15-17% APR. Today it’s around 4%.

        In 1980 that car would have a 1 year warranty, be expensively falling apart by 50K, and probably be junked before 100K. And if we are talking about a Landrover the latter two facts may well still apply. But any other modern car has two to three times the useful life.

        Other than feeding them, new cars are as affordable as they’ve ever been.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      The average price for a car in 1980 was around $5000-$6000.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The average price of a new car was $7,210.00 in 1980. In 1989, it was up to $15,400.

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        @CJinSD

        That would be about $19,000 and $26,800 today. Things aren’t so bad today. Sure, the average price is above $30,000, but I think that’s more a function of more and more buyers opting for fully-loaded, optioned up models rather than settling for the basic one. There are still any number of very good and well equipped cars in the $18,000-$25,000 range for the people that want them.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Isn’t the base model Smart car called Pure too? It’s one thing to have a dumb name on your car. It’s quite another to take your model designation cues from Smart.

  • avatar
    iainthornton

    The Defender has never really offered any luxurious spec. At the moment they’re not even offered with an automatic gearbox and the only engine is a 4-cylinder diesel. As far as I know airbags have never been available even as an option. This is one of the reasons for the replacement – the amount of design work alone to incorporate airbags made it logical to replace the whole vehicle.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    shutupandtakemymoney.jpg

    If it’s a diesel, definitely. It’ll still be a bit rich for my blood, but I’m sure picking up a used one after 5 years would be rather awesome.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    IMO, diesel or gas isnt the main issue so long as it has power and range.

    The draw of the Defender to Americans is the classic aesthetic. Getting in a Defender is supposed to upgrade your ride to a safari! There is another draw, and that’s infinite rebuild ability.

    Frankly, I would rather have a classic BoF Series whatever with replaceable panels than a modern, overpriced, disposable wrangler. If you charge more than 30k, it would be a poor deal next to a 50k rebuild.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Isn’t the modern Wrangler a BoF design with replaceable panels? Why is it ‘disposable’?

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Perhaps I am mistaken then. You can bolt the panels off and on? No cutting or welding?

      • 0 avatar
        ranwhenparked

        @Landcrusher

        Very few vehicles have the sort of construction you describe. The Defender does have some panels (wings) that are bolted on, but it’s mostly a holdover from the early days in the 1940s when the technology to weld aluminum wasn’t as developed, rather than a conscious decision to improve repairability. A number of the Defender’s sheet metal panels are tack welded or pop riveted these days, such as the rear quarters and the headlight panels, since that’s the way modern vehicles are made.

        The portions that are still bolted are part of what makes the Defender’s production as it exists now increasingly uneconomical as there are far too many hand operations in the assembly process that are difficult to automate. It’s one of the many anachronisms in the British auto industry that survived into the 21st century by accident, due to the perennially cash strapped nature of the business.

        As far as the Wrangler, I think you will note that the fenders, at least, are made of ABS plastic and are bolted on and readily changed. The rest of the body uses modern automated production techniques, just like the new Defender will.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Thanks for the info, ran. I have read about the bolt on panels and am fascinated. Rivets are okay I suppose, but if you plan to buy a vehicle for the bush, and pay high dollar, replaceable panels seem to be a great idea.

        As for the disposable part, much of modern vehicles are made cheaply in a bad way. Why not cheaply in a good way? Network nothing! A cheap improvement for an offload vehicle. If the stereo dies, buy a replacement that pops in. Costs pennies, sells for $20 and everyone is happy! Same for everything in the panel. Now, the parts are disposable rather than the car! More to build? So what.

        I am no expert, but there would seem to be a niche for these things exactly in this space.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    A Defender? Where are the sliding windows? Didn’t the originals have them instead of this iteration with roll-down glass?

  • avatar
    blowfish

    the new owner ain’t dumb, they’ll market the segment where there’s a void too.
    they probably can built them way cheaper in the motherland.
    I bet dsl will be an option too.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Keep the current design, but build it in India with cheap labor– THEN it would be a winner!

  • avatar
    mightytall

    I am horrified!

    I can’t believe they are really going to replace one of the most iconic true off road vehicles with some whitewashed pansywagon …
    The capabilities of the Defender are legendary and I would guess most people buy the vehicle exactly because of the classic simple rugged design.
    The Defender wants to be taken off the beaten path and into the wild … doesn’t care if you drive through some shrubbery and give it northwestern pinstripe job … it’s a workhorse not a ballerina.

    The vehicle they are currently showing as a replacement is none of that.
    I see pretty pink lace underwear sticking out at every nook and cranny on this thing … god beware on a rainy day you have to take this thing on a non paved parking lot … I can hear the shriek of horror when the 22 inch rubber meets the cold water of the first puddle…

    My prediction is that the car will sell … to well off – or wannabe well off – housewifes that’ll take it shopping.
    However the serious working crowd or the serious offroaders will have to go elsewhere.
    Perhaps to Mercedes G or the Jeep Wrangler … but the pansywagon DC100 will vanish off the list of true off road vehicles and follow the path of the CR-V and its many sisters.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      Most people buy the Defender for the image. Most fleet buyers who go with the Defender do so because of incentives.

      If you need a vehicle in this class, the LandCruiser 70 series, which is still being manufactured is in almost every way a better vehicle anyway. The only configuration/capability you can get in a Defender that you can’t in an LC70 is a long wheel base crew cab pickup.

      Besides, in practice, an LC70 is more field repairable than the Defender.

      I do prefer the look of the Defender, though. Especially since Toyota had to switch to the square front and headlights.

      • 0 avatar
        outback_ute

        They are now making a crew cab pickup, but I’m not too confident about the long-term prospects for the 70 series as it too is currently ‘only just’ meeting safety requirements and there is a move in the mining industry towards only purchasing 5-star rated vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        Interesting to know about the dual cab pickup 70. I’m taking a break from my field work and haven’t kept up.

        I do wonder how many sales of the 70 series go to the AU/mining industry. The big NGOs have standardized on the 70 series and the biggest ones operate worldwide fleets that consist of thousands of these things. All told over the past ten years, I have personally ridden in over 50 separate, individual 70 series Land Cruisers and that was just for MSF and ICRC. And that’s a conservative estimate.

        But yeah, nothing good lasts forever.


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