Land Rover has been teasing us for years with promises of an all-new replacement for its venerable Defender, which originally launched way back in 1948. In 2011 the company even showed us the DC100 concept (conceived as a precursor to a next-gen Defender), but a lukewarm response to the design study resulted in the project being shelved.
However, what you’re looking at here – under a few layers of camouflage – is the long-awaited Defender replacement (codenamed L663), and it will be unveiled this year before reaching global markets in 2020.
One might have thought the company would have adopted a retro-laced design for the newbie – given the original Defender’s cult following – but it appears the 2020 model has more in common visually with the latest Discovery and Range Rover. That said, it does appear to have the upright windscreen and side windows that’s always been a hallmark of the Defender.
Its maker claims the new Defender “is the most off-road capable Land Rover vehicle ever”, and the company has allegedly tested prototypes in all corners of the globe to ensure that this is the case. But purists may be alarmed to learn the trusty steel body-on-frame chassis has been ditched in favour of a toughened version of the D7u aluminium monocoque platform employed by the Discovery 5 and Range Rover.
What’s more, the new Defender line-up will feature not just petrol and diesel motors, but also 48-volt mild-hybrid (MHD), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and even pure-electric powertrains. The vehicle will also usher in a new-age cabin that banishes the olde-worlde ergonomics of the outgoing model, and it will feature the latest driver assistance and connectivity features.
“When it debuts in 2019, the new model will represent 70 years of innovation and improvement in just one model year; honouring the model’s history for rugged durability, while thoroughly remaining a Defender for the 21st century,” the company said in a release. “All will be revealed in 2019.”