Skip to main content

Land Rover walks a fine line as it prepares a Defender for a new generation

2015 Land Rover Defender
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
In 2015, Land Rover ended the Defender’s outstanding 32-year production run. We’ve been Defender-less ever since, but the company is working on a brand-new model that’s scheduled to make its debut soon. New details shed insight into what we should — and, importantly, shouldn’t — expect from the truck.

Replacing the Defender is a Herculean task. That’s partly because it’s a model that has never been replaced before, and partly because it’s become a true icon in the automotive world. The new model needs to appeal to current owners, including some who have been driving a Defender since the Reagan administration, while luring in a new generation of buyers, including some who have never set foot inside the original car (pictured).

Related Videos

Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern is thus walking on a tightrope. He told industry trade journal Automotive News Europe that the next Defender won’t be a “facsimile” of the original model. In other words, the boxy styling that traces its roots back to the very first Land Rover model won’t return. Instead, the Defender will borrow styling cues from recent additions to the company’s portfolio, like the Velar which was introduced a couple of months ago and the fifth-generation Discovery.

When we drove the Defender, we noted the interior was about as high-tech as a 1990s VCR. Tech features will trickle down from other Land Rover SUVs to propel the venerable nameplate into the 21st century. Ultimately, it could even receive some of the trick semi-autonomous software the company is developing for off-road use. But fear not, the truck will be at least as rugged as its predecessor.

“You’ll be able to kick the hell out of them and they’ll get up for more,” McGovern said.

So, when will we see the next Defender? McGovern told Automotive News it’s “not far away,” which could mean anything. If you ask us, there’s a good chance we’ll get a few more morsels of information this fall at the Frankfurt Auto Show. And, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the metal next year in Geneva. The good news is that the Defender nameplate will finally return to the United States after a decades-long hiatus.

Stay tuned, we’ll update this page as soon as we hear more.

Editors' Recommendations

NASA reveals landing site for its water-hunting lunar rover
nasa viper rover contract astrobotic news release illustration 16x9 1

NASA has announced the precise landing location for its VIPER rover when it arrives on the surface of our moon in 2023 as part of the Artemis program.

Short for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, VIPER will set down close to the western edge of the Nobile Crater at the moon’s south pole, NASA announced on Monday, September 20.

Read more
Listen to the first-ever recording of a NASA rover driving on Mars
This image was taken during the first drive of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars on March 4, 2021. Perseverance landed on Feb. 18, 2021, and the team has been spending the weeks since landing checking out the rover to prepare for surface operations. This image was taken by the rover’s Navigation Cameras.

NASA has released the first-ever recording of a rover driving across the surface of Mars.

Perseverance, which arrived on the Martian surface in February 2021 on a two-year mission to search for signs of ancient life, can be heard making its way along the dusty, rock-strewn ground -- though the sound is unusual, to say the least.

Read more
NASA to release actual footage of Mars rover landing. Here’s how to watch
This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA's Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot.

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

NASA is about to release “first-of-its-kind footage” showing the Perseverance rover’s arrival on Mars last week.

Read more