By on May 25, 2021

2020 Land Rover Defender

Like many folks, I was excited to hear that Land Rover was resurrecting the Defender nameplate. I grew up admiring the boxy go-anywhere Defenders of days gone by, and I was hoping Jaguar Land Rover could recreate that magic.

Imagine my consternation when instead the brand came up with an SUV that seemed to be quite the departure from the old-school Defender. Still, after seeing it up close at auto shows, I became cautiously optimistic about this modern-day interpretation of the Defender. After driving it, I came away mostly impressed – but the usual British reliability issues complicated things.

(Read More…)

By on November 5, 2020

Land Rover Defender 90

The rumor mill is always, always churning. Some stuff turns out to be true, some not, but some reports catch my eye more than others.

Dropping eight cylinders of fury into the two-door version of the Land Rover Defender 90 is something that gets me to perk up. Even if it’s an unconfirmed rumor as of now.

(Read More…)

By on September 9, 2020

2021 Land Rover Defender X-Dynamic Euro model

Land Rover lit up my inbox this morning with more news about the reborn Defender. It seems there’s just always more to talk about with the new version of the iconic SUV.

The news for the 2021 model year is that there will be a three-door 90 model. Another piece of news is the X-Dynamic trim, which is meant to slot in between lower and upper trims. Jaguar Land Rover’s materials say the X-Dynamic is meant to have a “tough” exterior look and “unique” interior “fittings” but what does this corporate-speak really mean?

(Read More…)

By on June 12, 2020

2020 Land Rover Defender

This interview should’ve been posted months ago.

I sat with Jaguar Land Rover North America Product Planning Director Rob Filipovic at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show (remember those?) to talk about the reborn Defender.

Then, I screwed up. I didn’t write the piece right away due to other work and travel. Still, the first drive was scheduled for mid-April, and I thought maybe the interview would work well as a companion piece to our first drive of the Defender.

You know the rest.

(Read More…)

By on June 8, 2020

2020 Land Rover Defender

Months ago, I was supposed to board a plane to Old Blighty to drive the new Land Rover Defender.

Given the vehicle’s heritage and importance to the brand, I was excited to see if it was a worthy successor to the famous series of SUVs that came before. I was also excited to go to England for the first time. My Austin Powers impression would be so much cooler if performed in the Old Empire (narrator voice: It would not).

Before I could even finish the paperwork for an international excursion, my flight — and everyone else’s — was canceled. As you know, the pandemic killed off new-car launches for the foreseeable future, although JLR merely “postponed” this one.

(Read More…)

By on February 20, 2020

JLR/YouTube

Automakers go to great pains to show off their vehicles in the best possible light. Via the deft touch of their respective marketing teams, ordinary machines suddenly grow the ability to do the impossible: getting the hopelessly nerdy guy his dream girl, soothing inconsolable babies, and performing feats of strength that would leave even Frank aghast.

In official pictures and film, the worst fate to befall a vehicle is normally an artistic splattering of mud around the wheel wells. Perfection is always a car wash away.

Not so in the “ad” just released by Jaguar Land Rover, which piggybacks on the exploits of a filmmaking team and gives them all the marketing support they ask for in return. Despite JLR using a Bond movie to its benefit, it’s good to see a vehicle being put to its full potential in a commercial — and sustaining damage in the process. It harkens back to those old Volvo ads of yore, in which abuse factors heavily. (Read More…)

By on December 10, 2019

Maybe Land Rover isn’t so removed from its former parent, after all. Whereas Ford saw the resurrection of the Bronco nameplate as an opportunity to butch up an Escape, Land Rover apparently sees the return of the storied Defender as an excuse to push its lineup downmarket.

No, not with the Defender itself — the range-topping SUV will only go upward in price, Autocar reports, but the opportunity lies in sprinkling some of its design magic over a new entry-level model. (Read More…)

By on September 30, 2019

Jaguar Land Rover is reportedly working a system for the new Defender that would allow for low-speed maneuvers with all occupants outside the car. While it sounds like a good way to guarantee the safety of friends and family when traversing a cliff face that might be a bit too narrow, recent hiccups with Tesla’s new summoning tech has proven it’s best to exercise caution.

Fortunately, Land Rover says it wants to utilize the Defender’s 3-D Scout system to map the area surrounding the vehicle and allow drivers to control the Defender remotely from the outside in off-road environments (minimizing collision risks). This will likely require the addition of some level of vehicular autonomy, as JLR stipulates drivers will be controlling the model via the automaker’s wearable “Activity Key.” Present incarnations of the device are basically proximity sensors without the necessary controls to accomplish any meaningful level of remote control.  (Read More…)

By on September 10, 2019

Land Rover’s Defender has returned and, based on the marketing materials furnished by the manufacturer, you’d think every model came with Jesus riding shotgun. The 2020 Defender is all things to all people. Exciting, powerful, comfortable, rugged, efficient, and on the bleeding edge of automotive technology, the new model really gave Land Rover an opportunity to pat itself on the back when it debuted in Frankfurt on Tuesday.

However, we’re not wholly convinced the company deserves to be relentlessly mocked for its enthusiasm — at least not this early in the article. There has been a clear effort made to ensure the off-roader has the broadest appeal possible, which has kind of been the model’s trajectory for as far back as memory allows. Besides, we don’t know for certain that the Defender’s evolution into a Swiss Army Knife is even a problem until we’ve driven one. But there will be a few issues we’ll have to address on principle, especially its move to unibody construction.  (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2019

Image: JLR

With less than two weeks to go before its Frankfurt Motor Show debut, Land Rover has sent its upcoming Defender SUV on a road trip to the Rhineland. Kicking off the continental slog in a remote and cinematic valley near the China-Kazakhstan border, the Defender will presumably score some rough-and-tumble bragging rights — as well as all-important photo ops — on the way to its German unveiling on September 10th.

Too bad we’ve already seen it. (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

Instagram

Not since James Bond traded in his .32 Walther PPK for a PPK/S in .380 ACP has the long-running film franchise generated so much buzz. The set of the upcoming film No Time to Die was the site of an unexpected and long-awaited Land Rover reveal this week, with a shot leaking to social media of the next-generation Defender.

Spotted completely sans camo and appropriately splattered with mud, the Defender pic comes by way of Instagram user shedlocktwothousand. Jaguar Land Rover would surely have preferred to keep this thing under wraps — after a three-year hiatus, the new Defender is due for a public unveiling at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2019

A batch of new leaks on the Land Rover Defender have indicated that the model will come in a trio of body styles, one of which is supposed to seat eight, and offer quite a bit of variance between trims.

Defender “leaks” are nothing new; the manufacturer has been parsing out camouflaged body shots for months. While this marketing strategy left us feeling burnt out on Toyota’s Supra prior to its debut, JLR has exercised a bit more restraint, encouraging some enthusiast-based espionage — which is far more fun.  (Read More…)

By on December 27, 2018

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.  (Read More…)

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. (Read More…)

By on January 3, 2018

Image: 1994 Ford Bronco

For 2019, Ford will debut a new Ranger (1982-2011), followed the next year by a new Bronco (1966-1996). While there have been some camouflaged Rangers seen running around, Ford is not showing anybody what the new Bronco will look like.

Since they’re leaving it up to our imaginations, do you think they’re going to ace the new Bronco, or drop a big deuce?

(Read More…)

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