Land Rover Defender Lands in 2018, Borrows Discovery Platform

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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land rover defender lands in 2018 borrows discovery platform

The regulator-friendly replacement for the recently departed Land Rover Defender is on the way, and has already begun on-road testing, the automaker’s CEO confirms.

Speaking to Britain’s Autocar, Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth says the new Defender adopts the lightweight aluminum architecture of the fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery.

The platform and design upgrade is good news for those hoping to see the model return to North America.

Speth told Autocar that the new Defender looks “fantastic,” and will be “fairly different” than other models in the Land Rover stable when it appears in 2018.

The previous model, which traced its lineage back to the original Land Rover of 1948, was put out to pasture in January of this year. Passenger safety regulations pushed Defenders out the North American market in 1998, and European pedestrian safety regulations did the same for the overseas model. While owners loved the archaic, boxy body, which oozed utilitarian brawn, the march of time rendered it obsolete in the eyes of regulators.

Speth admits that the previous Defender is a hard act to follow, and that his company must get it right. And new Defender must have world-class off-roading capability and durability, he said. It also needs to look the part.

“There is no question of the new Defender just being an icon,” said Speth. “We are working on an authentic successor to the old Defender. The architecture will contain a lot of elements that are different (from other Land Rovers).”

A design concept, the DC100 (seen above), appeared in 2011 as a suggestion of what the new Defender could look like.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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11 of 26 comments
  • Oldowl Oldowl on Sep 30, 2016

    Currently in Tanzania safari vehicles are nearly all Toyota Land Cruisers with customized bodies. Land Rovers are considered too expensive to buy and prone to breakdowns.

  • Vulpine Vulpine on Oct 01, 2016

    Why does this thing look so much like the late, great, Toyota Land Cruiser?

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Oct 01, 2016

    As much as I liked 110 and 130s I do think this will sell initially sell in greater numbers. Over the longer term this spells the end of the Defender.

  • Zipper69 Zipper69 on Oct 03, 2016

    The two strikes; US Safety regs and Euro pedestrian safety which condemned the Defender must surely limit what it's replacement will look and perform like. The Land Cruiser has taken the Defenders lunch money and given it a wedgy on the way out. Quite what market segment LR will try and sell into is somewhat murky, if it's too soft, off-roaders will scorn it, it it's too complex it's ticket price will be undercut by Jeep.