Jaguar Land Rover plans a rebirth of the Defender in 2019 however it may be built in Slovakia according to reports.
The Great British Land Rover Defender was discontinued in 2016 largely due to stringent EU regulations on vehicle emissions and crash safety requirements, the Land Rover Defender in it’s current form would not pass the EU regulations. Designed originally for farming and agricultural use, the Land Rover was built with simplicity in mind.
“In 1948, the vehicle was just driving over the farm field,” chief exec Ralf Speth said. “But this cannot be the case anymore. At the end of the day you cannot design a vehicle like the original one. We have to make sure we fulfill all the regulatory requirements.”
After almost 70 years in production the Land Rover can be found performing all sorts of tasks in all walks of life, its classless which is why the utility vehicle quickly became one of the most popular off-road vehicles in production, selling over 2 million since 1948, making it the world’s longest continuous production vehicle.
A new generation of the Defender is currently being tested in prototype form at various secret locations around the world. Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO confirmed that the company are testing Defender mules, which were very promising, the styling is almost complete and is said to look “fantastic”.
The new Defender will be based on the aluminium architecture of the Range Rover and Discovery, meaning it can share the all-aluminium body shop and final assembly procedures of these models, this means the end of the ladder chassis setup, instead the first completely new Defender since 1948 will feature two subframes mounted to a light, rigid unibody.
The Defender will no longer be a single vehicle aimed at a limited market, but instead will become a family of vehicles featuring five body styles:
X2 Door short-wheelbase hard top
X2 Door short wheelbase soft top
X4 Door long-wheelbase with a hard top
X2 Door short-wheelbase pickup
X4 Door long-wheelbase pickup
There should also be five engine choices from Jaguar Land Rover’s new Ingenium engine series: two 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinders (150 and 180 hp), two 2.0-liter gas four-cylinders (180 and 240 hp), and, at the top, a 300-hp, 3.0-liter V-6, which will replace the ancient V-8. All engines will be bolted to either a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic, and both transmissions can be coupled to an extra-cost, low-range transfer case and two differential locks.
The Defender will share the two wheelbases of the Range Rover — 2922mm and 3120mm in standard and long wheelbase models but with less body overhang, especially at the rear and its ground clearance and arrival, departure and break-over angles will give it greater off-road agility than any other Land Rover.
The overall length of the different models is likely to be around 200 to 300mm less than the Range Rover’s 4999mm and 5199mm lengths, which will make the Defenders smaller and more manoeuvrable than their siblings. There’s no word on a three-door model, but given the likely 4.7-4.8m length of even the shorter version, Land Rover may decide against it.
To keep production costs down it is likely the Defender will be built at Land Rover’s new Slovakian plant, announced at the end of last year, where manufacturing costs will be lower than in the UK. JLR has previously said production in the Slovakian facility, which will be able to make the firm’s aluminium models, will begin before the end of this year at an “initial capacity” of 150,000 vehicles a year.
It is predicted that a starting price of around £35,000 for the Defender should be expected, with most examples selling for £40,000-plus.