2013 Defender to Be Unveiled Next Month

Will the new Defender be shown next month?

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

August 25, 2011

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year
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The iconic Land Rover Defender has been making some serious headlines recently, with AutoExpress asking whether Land Rover were to ditch the Defender line-up all together.

Now, Land Rover have now announced that next week, we will see the very first images of the Defender 2.0. Whether these will be teaser images for the big event next month, it's unclear, but AE are claiming that the vehicle is a complete 'futuristic-reinvention'  of the car, rather than adding some additional safety features to the current model. The show will be held from September 15 to September 25, so hopefully, we'll receive some detailed, clear shots of the car before then. As with the LRX concept (which, in effect, was the mother of the Evoque) it's expected to closely resemble (i.e. be quite close) to the finished, production design.

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So, it begs the question, what will the Defender look like? What kind of features will it have? Most likely, the new vehicle will have a lot more safety features. The current Defender hasn't even been NCAP tested. Currently, safety for vehicle occupants and pedestrians is very poor with a lack of airbags, no real side impact protection or crumple zones and poor rollover protection due to the aluminium body.

The rumours for the Land Rover cancellation came from the fact there are only 20,000 Defenders sold globally per annum. Land Rover are surely working on making the new model available in areas the current model are not, for example, the company's two largest markets (the USA and China).

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For those worried about whether the Defender will become a Discovery 4 with a different body, JLR Director Group Sales Operations, Phil Popham, has said it will remain a true off-roading vehicle.

According to Land Rover, it's no longer viable to produce the current platform any longer. Phil told the Sydney Morning Herald

"We will replace it, We have a plan to replace all of our cars and potentially introduce additional ones. [It's a] very, very aggressive product plan for the future."

The whole project is been overseen by Australian Murray Dietsch, Director of Land Rover programs and the chief of the Freelander, Disco, Range Rover Evoque and Sport projects. Apparently, Dietsch is determined to see past the Defender's low sales record and keep the icon alive. The project has been in the works for 'quite a while' and Land Rover are obviously taking it very seriously. Dietsch said of the project:

We're working on it and we're making sure that whatever we produce in the future is not going to dilute what Defender really stands for. So it needs to be authentic. If someone's going to get in the car they're going to want to get in the car and so stuff with it and say ‘I don't want it to break, I want it to go places that other things won't take me to.

The Defender hasn't been in the US since the end of 1997

The intentions of Land Rover are apparently to make it more mainstream, but still continue those unique off-roading abilities. Whether this means it's to get an actual interior, or perhaps a motorway loving engine it's unclear. Land Rover are quite clear it doesn't need to be any better off-road, but in some respects better on-road. According to Phil Popham, it needs to be "More car-like in terms of its features".

According to some sources, the design is likely to very closely resemble the original shape and has the Land Rover designers highly excited. Reportedly, the team are relishing working on such an iconic vehicle and are more inspired by it than the Evoque.

Pricing wise it's likely the Defender will maintain it's premium price, as Land Rover seem unable to compete on price with the more mainstream 4x4s. Rest assured that new Defender will remain very close to it's heritage, keeping it's mechano like construction, but been given a whole new lease of life with passenger comforts and safety taken into mind. We're awaiting next week with much anticipation.

AutoExpress seem to know more than everyone else, as they've suggested the potential power plants and features of project Icon.

The model would feature an enhanced Terrain Response System. This advanced traction control set-up – which adjusts the engine, suspension and gearbox settings to suit different surfaces – would give the car unrivalled off-road ability.

Under the bonnet will be a range of new four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, developed in-house at Land Rover. The firm also has big plans to update the Defender’s interior, introducing the latest satellite navigation and communication systems.

Source: AutoExpress

Let us know what you think of the news above. What features do you expect to see? And What features would make the new Defender your ideal Land Rover?

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3 Comments

  1. Pete C says:

    I hope you will be able to specify a base model still with just radio/cd, a heater (maybe one that works though), and no terrain response etc to go wrong while out in the woods, and leave the fancy electric gizmos to higher spec ones. Then it would be able to suit everyone.

    • Ben Gribbin Ben Gribbin says:

      That’s a great idea, a base model, perhaps a model with gizmos added (and the same but XS) and then, dare we say it, a more road biased option for city dwellers and road towing. This would help boost sales somewhat, and make the Defender more profitable. Do you think the Defender 2 should be hand-built still?

  2. Pete C says:

    Yes, like the QT Wildcat for instance, they offer 3 main spec levels for street use, weekend competitions and full on a Dakar spec. So the Defender could be offered as base model for utility and farm use etc (full on no nonsense off roader), middle type spec for all round towing, off road and family use like the county and then road biased one with all the extra luxuries that would otherwise get ruined by heavy handed farmers and the like. As for hand built, I think it should be kept as it is, because I feel the vehicle has a soul, which I do not find when I am driving my dads Discovery 4.

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