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Land Rover Defender Prototype Spotted, and It's Coming to the US

2011 Defender Concept 100
iKnowAuto Staff
The Land Rover Defender is the ultimate four wheeler, with a design that harps back 3 decades and an incredibly simple body on frame construction that shares parts with the original 1948 Land Rovers. The Land Rover Defender was last sold in the US in 1997, after which safety regulations prohibited its sale in North America. 
DEC 12, 2017

These vehicles are incredibly popular, with 25-year-old import trucks selling for more than the original retail price. The Land Rover Defender was produced in the UK until 2016 when European emission regulations finally killed it off. Over the years, the core of the vehicle changed very little, with only 2 notable styling changes, a hump added to the hood and the firewall ventilation flaps were removed.

Land Rover Defender Plans

Land Rover announced that they planned to redesign the Land Rover Defender, creating a rugged utility vehicle that would be brought back to the American market. The company’s chief designer has spoken a lot about the new model and how it would be a radical departure from the original vehicle. Jaguar Land Rover is looking to sell up to 80,000 models per year. The previous model was almost completely hand assembled and sales figures barely ever passed 20,000 units annually.

Land Rover Defender with heavy bodywork patterning

When carmakers want to test new powertrains on roads, they disguise the vehicle with decoy styling and heavy bodywork patterning. This keeps the final vehicle design under wraps until they are ready to launch and allow the company to make changes without anyone knowing.

A longer wheel base model on test

Land Rover Defender Spotted

Last week, one eagled eye car photographer spotted an unusual looking vehicle on the roads around the Land Rover factory. He managed to snap a number of shots, showing the heavily camouflaged test mules in 2 different wheelbase lengths.

Short wheel based model on test, with unusual bump in rough line showing the joint

In 2011, JLR unveiled the DC100, or Defender Concept, 100” wheelbase, to mixed reception. Some liked the squat and modernistic design, while others compared it to the Skoda Yeti or felt it was ill-prepared to tackle the demands placed on it by traditional Defenders drivers. Since then, the company has only spoken about the Defender replacement program in answer to various media outlet interviews. Until now.

The body is a heavily cut and welded Discovery D5, and Land Rover has been spotted running a near 90-inch wheelbase like the original short-wheelbase models and a longer wheelbase of unknown dimensions. It is thought that these prototypes are actually hybrids, running on part gas, part electric drivetrains. The SUV still has remarkable ground clearance and aggressive approach and departure angles. Release The new Defender is expected to be released in 2019 and is estimated to go on for sale for over $40,000.

Release

The new Land Rover Defender is expected to be released in 2019 and is estimated to go on for sale for over $40,000.