And no, it won’t be reborn as a crossover.
The Paris Auto Show was a big deal for Land Rover because it revealed the all-new Discovery, and we already know the next big debut for the iconic off-roading brand. Autocar has learned from Jaguar Land Rover chief Dr. Ralf Speth that the all-new Defender is set to arrive in 2018. What’s more, Speth confirmed that it’ll be based on the same aluminum architecture as the new Discovery, Range Rover, and Range Rover Sport, and that it won’t be related to the Evoque or the Discovery Sport. Translation: it’s going to be a true off-roader, as it should be.
The design has already been finalized and now engineering and prototype mule testing is about to get underway. Speth stated that “There is no question of the new Defender just being an icon. We are working on the aesthetic successor to the old Defender. The architecture will contain a lot of elements that are different (from other aluminum cars).” A few years ago Land Rover revealed a pair of Defender concepts that garnered something of a love or hate reaction among brand enthusiasts. No word yet whether or not the 2018 Defender will bear a resemblance to those concepts, but our gut feeling is that it won’t.
Chances are Land Rover has opted for an exterior design that’s more true to the original, instead of the rounded and Evoqoue-like concepts. Expect the new Defender to have that tall, upright appearance of the original, only with modern styling cues. It probably won’t have an entirely retro look but it needs to stand apart from the rest of the lineup. More clues to come when the first spy shots arrive.