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).

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.


Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Movies & TV

From premiere date to footage: Here's all we have on 'Game of Thrones' season 8

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Movies & TV

NBCUniversal will launch its own streaming service in 2020

NBCU is prepping a streaming service filled with its original content for a debut sometime next year, meaning that Michael, Dwight, and the rest of the Scranton crew might be moving to a new home.

Move mountains with the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty and its 1,000 pound-feet of torque

Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck boasts 1,000 pound-feet of torque -- outgunning rival trucks from Ford and Chevrolet. The new Ram goes on sale later this year.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.
Home Theater

Spotify adds simplified Car View mode for Android users

What was once just a test is now a reality: Spotify is rolling out a new, simplified in-car user interface for all Android users called Car View, which automatically engages when the app detects a car Bluetooth connection.

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.

Sibling rivalry: 2019 BMW Z4 takes on the 2020 Toyota Supra

BMW and Toyota forged an unlikely partnership when they set out to build a sports car platform together. Here, we examine the similarities and differences between the 2019 Z4 and the 2020 Supra.

Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.