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.
Jaguar Land Rover previously mentioned it was working on a two-door flagship sport utility vehicle for Range Rover — a model it promised would be the most expensive in the brand’s 70-year history. It certainly kept that promise. With a starting price of $295,000, the Range Rover SV Coupe fits the bill.
Ditching the “utility” portion of sport utility vehicle, the SV Coupe is all about style over substance. However, it is not the first two-door model offered by the company. Long after the Classic left the lineup, Range Rover built the Evoque Coupe until 2017. But that model was comparably pedestrian and didn’t come anywhere near the SV’s price tag. Nor did it boast the same level of hardware.
Range Rover has announced it will introduce a new flagship model called the SV Coupé. Now, before you allow your head to come apart like a meat-filled piñata at the thought of Range Rover building a car, recall that upscale automakers have all agreed that literally anything can be considered a coupe now. The new Range Rover should have about as much in common with traditional coupes as Chevrolet’s K5 Blazer.
Limited to no more than 999 examples, the model pays tribute to Land Rover’s original two-door Range Rover for the company’s 70th birthday. The automaker promises unparalleled refinement on the inside and and elegant styling outside. It’s a vehicle for those of discerning tastes and a flush bank account — definitely not for plebeian society.
I recall once having a discussion in TTAC’s Slack chatroom. The topic, one that doesn’t come up all that often these days, was styling excess. Way too much gingerbread, far too much latter-day Baroque flourishes, and too confusing a design can turn a high-priced vehicle into a dog’s breakfast.
In my opinion, that described the Infiniti QX80 to a “T.”
When Infiniti’s full-size, body-on-frame SUV launched in mid-2013, “understated,” “muted,” and “tasteful” were not words that jumped to the forefront of one’s mind. Thankfully, Infiniti has taken an eraser to the model’s most controversial elements for 2018, resulting in a vehicle that’s much more cohesive, yet similar in profile.
Nobody could have predicted the success Porsche was to enjoy after introducing a performance-oriented sport utility vehicle in 2002. When the German manufacturer introduced the Cayenne, everyone scoffed, claiming the very idea of a sporting high-end SUV was patently ridiculous.
It’s now 15 years later and every premium brand is trying to replicate Porsch’s success with its own ultra-lux SUV. Lamborghini is getting the Urus, Bentley has the Bentayga, and even Ferrari — a company that said a sport utility vehicle was out of the question — recently confirmed development plans on its own “FUV.”
But sometimes one just isn’t enough. Maserati already has the Levante but Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says it will need a second if it’s going to hit ambitious profitability targets announced this week.
The Macan may be Porsche’s best-selling vehicle, but it owes all of its success to the Cayenne. When the SUV began production in 2002, we all scoffed and claimed it would never work. But the vehicle’s success has had us feasting on crow for the last 15 years.
About to enter its third generation, the Cayenne doesn’t appear to have changed much at a glance. Appearances are often deceptive, however, and this would be a prime example of the phenomenon. For 2019, the SUV comes equipped with new engines, new brakes, a new transmission, and gobs of added tech.
Visually, Porsche says the “the new Cayenne retains a strong visual connection to its predecessors.” If that’s code for saying it looks nearly identical to the previous model and, by extension, all modern Porsches, then it wasn’t very difficult to decrypt. But the German automaker knows it has an incredibly well-established design language. It’s not about to shake things up for the sake of being different.
Depending where you live, it’s possible the shift away from luxury cars to luxury SUVs is dramatically more apparent than America’s nationwide figures suggest.
In 48 of 50 states, luxury utility vehicles outsell luxury cars. In seven states, premium brand utility vehicles form more than 65 percent of the premium market.
But according to Edmunds, the two states in which luxury cars still outperform luxury utility vehicles account for 31 percent of America’s luxury SUV market.
A week during which I recently spent driving an Audi Q3 clarified once and for all that, against everything pointing to the contrary, there’s not a bone of pro-Audi bias in my lanky frame.
My father didn’t claim that his handful of Audi 5000 Turbo Quattros — including a couple beige examples — and his red Audi Coupe were the absolute best driver’s cars, but he never wanted to drive what everybody else was driving. No BMWs, no Benzes, no Lincolns.
All five of us kids loved those Audis. One of my older brothers and I would pretend that the unbuckled middle seatbelt attachment was a microphone as we called the race home between Bobby Rahal in the Chevrolet Celebrity alongside, Emerson Fittipaldi in the Ford Taurus up ahead, and our dad in the Audi. And what a race it was. Mr. Cain didn’t take it slow until the four-cylinder Subaru bug bit 15 years later.
With all my childhood experience in five hard-driven Audis, you may forgive the natural eventuality, that in my career as a full-time auto writer, I wouldn’t be able to escape a pro-Audi bias. I’m only human, right?
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