The next-generation Land Rover Defender is due by 2019, according to English magazine Autocar. With the recent assembly of the final current-generation Defender at the company’s Solihull facility, there’s a distinct hole in the Land Rover lineup that company officials aren’t comfortable with, according to sources familiar with the issue.
The outgoing Defender was ultimately axed because the aging architecture wasn’t able to keep pace with global emissions and safety regulations. The next version of Land Rover’s Wrangler rival will likely spawn a variety of vehicles, similar to the Range Rover family and LR’s forthcoming Discovery line. Versions of the short-wheelbase Defender 90 and extended Defender 110 are a given, as are pickup, convertible, and station wagon variants. A sportier, on-road Defender SVR is a possibility, as is a three-row family sport-ute.
The next Defender will almost certainly be based on an existing Land Rover vehicle’s platform, likely a ladder frame/unibody hybrid structure like the current LR4’s. This move is to cut costs, as a next-generation Defender would likely be a lower-profit niche vehicle, rather than an expensive, hotselling luxury crossover.
Land Rover has confirmed the next-generation Defender will be immediately recognizable, and the SUV likely won’t share much in the way of styling with the DC100 concepts from a few years ago. Those vehicles wore polarizing styling that divided critics.