The upcoming, reinvented Land Rover Defender is one of the most hotly-anticipated cars in years. As you’d expect of Land Rover, the flurry of pre-launch teasers is underway and the images and videos here are the best indication yet of what the all-new Defender will look like.
These aren’t just some pretty pictures, though. This prototype Defender has been put through its paces working with wildlife group Tusk Trust on the Borana Conservancy in Kenya.
Borana has a hugely diverse range of terrains, allowing the staff there to put the Defender through a stern, real-world test. Mountains were climbed, rivers forded, heavy trailers pulled and plains sped across. According to Land Rover, “valuable performance data” was logged.
Even with the camouflage, it’s pretty clear the new Defender draws heavily on Land Rover’s current design themes. But it looks more straight-edged than the various Discoveries and Range Rovers, with a snub nose, vertical rear and bluff sides. The bulging wheel arches stop it looking too slab-sided.
We can’t say for sure, but it looks like the Defender’s styling is as faithful to the original as modern regulations allow.
At this stage, we don’t know what the interior will look like, but it will likely be essentially a ruggedised version of the Discovery’s.
There will inevitably be a band of purists who won’t like the new Defender on principle. But here’s the thing – the original Defender, while massively capable and hugely charismatic, was deeply flawed as a car to live with every day.
Hopefully this reinterpretation of the Defender will maintain all that was good about the original, while fixing the many foibles that made it a challenging prospect for everyday life.
By Graham King