Officially Official: Land Rover Defender Returning to North America
On Thursday, Jaguar Land Rover announced that an all-new Defender SUV will be sold in the United States and Canada come 2020.
“On behalf of Land Rover and our retailers, we are proud to announce the voices of American and Canadian customers have been heard: the all-new Defender will be for sale here starting in 2020,” said Kim McCullough, Vice President of Marketing at JLR North America. “This announcement is a holiday gift to our Defender fans in North America and a hint of what’s to come in the New Year.”
While giving individuals the opportunity to buy themselves an expensive item with their own money is a pretty shitty gift idea, it’s nice to learn the Defender’s twenty-year hiatus will soon come to an end.
Taken from us in 1997, Land Rover continued to market the Defender elsewhere until 2016. We knew it wouldn’t stay away forever. Thanks to Jaguar Land Rover’s American President and CEO, Joe Eberhardt, we also knew it was coming back to the United States. “We’ve said it’s a global vehicle. The United States is on the globe,” he said when probed on the model’s U.S. availability last April.
Presumably, that meant it would also go on sale in Canada. Again, it’s nice to have official confirmation from JLR.
Eberhardt’s comment was followed up by a “leaked” photograph on JRL’s social media accounts earlier this month depicting a camouflaged Defender being placed in a trailer. The image was accompanied by claims that more information would become available on December 27th.
The details aren’t quite as robust as we had hoped; still, the automaker parsed out a few morsels in an attempt to tide us over for the main course — which should happen sometime in 2019. While Land Rover promises advanced safety assist technologies and connectivity features for its infotainment system, this is supposed to be a rugged, off-road vehicle — the company knew it couldn’t prattle on about the fluffy tech and luxury inclusions.
Land Rover said it’s currently evaluating prototypes at altitudes of more than 13,000 feet above sea level and in temperatures between -40 degrees and 120 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure it’s still the highly capable SUV you remember. Testing is said to include giving the Defender savage beatings both on and off pavement.
It won’t be the utilitarian go-getter that left America in the 1990s but, based on the overall shape and ride height, it might be more serious than we initially presumed. It’ll still be an expensive luxury SUV, but it might be one of the precious few that can tackle a lot more than just trips to the fancier grocery store and dropping the kids off at private school.
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