By on December 18, 2018

Image: JLR

Hoping to generate some buzz ahead of its reveal, Land Rover released an incomplete, low-resolution side-on image of the upcoming, reborn Defender on Tuesday. The model, which disappeared from European dealers after its aging body was declared a danger to modern pedestrians, will return next year as a 2020 model. Apparently, it will hold on to its beloved boxy shape, as anything less would inspire French-style street protests on United Kingdom carriageways.

Also, unlike the last Defender, this one’s coming to America.

As reported by Automotive News last April, Jaguar Land Rover’s U.S. chief, Joe Eberhardt, uttered, “We’ve said it’s a global vehicle. The United States is on the globe,” in response to questions regarding the model’s U.S. availability. Given that this teaser comes by way of JLR’s American arm, suffice it to say you’ll see them here.

The automaker discontinued the long-running Defender in early 2016, the result of updated European pedestrian crash tests the model didn’t have a hope in hell of passing. Apparently, bricks don’t provide much buffering. Americans last saw new Defenders, offered in two wheelbases, in 1974.

Still, despite a slew of new product from the automaker, including the new Range Rover Velar, the Defender’s link to the first Land Rover model of 1948 ensured an outcry after its death. The company soon started work on a replacement. The new model, besides conforming to crash regulations, will also have to abide by strict emissions regulations. That makes weight a factor. It’s expected that the next-generation model — offered, as before, in two wheelbases — will shed pounds through extensive use of aluminum. JLR’s line of Ingenium engines is standing by to provide power, and designers have surely put some sandpaper to the model’s rough edges in pursuit of a better drag coefficient figure.

As the image provided shows, it seems we’ll learn more about this vehicle immediately after Christmas. December 27th is the date provided, meaning the tweed crowd can keep their holiday celebrations going a little longer.

[Image: Jaguar Land Rover]

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13 Comments on “2020 Land Rover Defender Leaked … by Land Rover...”

  • avatar

    Looks like a 2006 Jeep Compass, another minivan to replace the last off-road capable vehicle in their lineup, the final nail in the LR coffin.

    • 0 avatar

      How? From this image all I can really see is that it’s boxy and its probably going to have the best departure angles in its class. The Jeep Compass blended boxy and curvy and had rubbish departure angles! Not that you’d off-road in it.

      Frankly I don’t think any Land Rover has been as bad as the Jeep Compass and as much of a commercial failure.

      • 0 avatar

        Land Rover is basically the British Jeep, both were off-road pioneers before the SUV boom, both have military roots.

        The original Land Rover was basically some English gent who owned an old military Jeep and wanted the Rover car company to build a better off road vehicle.

        The market, and the money, is no longer really in the extreme off road business – this has been cornered by the likes of the Land Cruiser. The market is in ‘soft roaders’ so that is where Land Rover and Jeep are focusing.

      • 0 avatar

        LR already announced it will lose the off-road capability and move to a car platform, probably be shared with Jag.

        But the rear end shape looks like the outline of the old compass.

  • avatar

    No. Americans last saw new 88” Series IIIs – the leaf spring predecessor of the Defender – in MY1974 when British Leyland withdrew from the US market and last saw new Defender 90s in MY1997.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      A friend had the Defender ‘Jeep’, as he called it, back in the 1900s. It was just a bigger ‘real Jeep’ that leaked more, as I remember.

      • 0 avatar

        Is it me or is the Jeep a rather small off-road vehicle as most Americans would view it? The new Defender series will come in two wheel bases. The smallest will probably be a bit bigger than the Jeep and the largest a match for the Land Cruiser. They will also sell a pickup version.

        My gut feeling is that the new Defender will open the door to huge sales for Land Rover. I’m not sure even they realise just what a success it might be in the US.

        • 0 avatar

          It’s a nod to the original which was sold in 2 wheelbases, which on the final Defender ended up being 90in and 110in (‘station wagon’)

          The 90in model was available as a pickup, usually used in rural areas.

          The 110in model was usually a go-anywhere SUV if you needed to carry passengers – forest service, fire and rescue etc.

  • avatar

    I’m so glad to see the boxy SUV return, Yeah!

  • avatar

    Will it run for 50k miles without completely falling apart?

  • avatar

    “unlike the last Defender, this one’s coming to America.”

    “Americans last saw new Defenders, offered in two wheelbases, in 1974.”

    And as others point out, it was sold between 1993-1997 in the USA, when safety legislation forced it off.


  • avatar
    el scotto

    Th old Defender was a Brit Jeep with an aluminium body. Land cruisers replaced them in places were buying automatic weapons is easy and/or wild animals might eat you. Jeeps won the sales race in North America. In the Auld Country, Defenders were used as trucks (lorries). They are/were slightly more sophisticated than the tractor used by its farmer-owner. They were also only a wee bit faster than a tractor. Hopefully the New Defender will have a great deal less NVH and great deal more speed. Rich suburban women will want these. If all else fails, they can hire Clarkson as a spokesman.

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