Since the Land Rover Defender was ripped from American showrooms in 1997, it has grown significantly in popularity. The last of the North American spec units now regularly change hands for $80,000—more than double the original window sticker MSRP.
Land Rover has been promising a new Defender for sometime. After a failed—and widely hated—concept from 2011, dubbed the DC100, Land Rover designers literally went back to the drawing board. The results, you can see here … well, sorta.
While Land Rover might have posted these, the first real images of the forthcoming Defender, to its media site, they’re not a full reveal. After all, the thing is still wearing camouflage. The full reveal is promised in 2019.
Regardless of its camo, we can still see some promising features. First of all, it’s far boxier than a lot of the current Land Rovers, which is good—and in keeping with the Defender’s design heritage.
It also appears—even with its road tires—to be a pretty good off-roader, at least from these pictures. Then again, it better. After all, Land Rover is nothing if not an off-road 4×4 brand. And the Defender is its most iconic model. So if it doesn’t demolish the competition off-road, it’ll have missed the mark completely.
Now, in terms of what will propel it off-road, we have some pretty good guesses. Likely, it’ll be powered by Land Rover’s four-cylinder engine. And if it’s anything like the Evoque that was just revealed, it could be powered by a 48-volt 296-hp mild-hybrid (MHEV) powertrain.
As for the drivetrain, while the first Defender had solid front and rear axles and rode on a body-on-frame architecture, there’s little chance the 2020 Defender will, too. Land Rover has been investing heavily in both unibody construction and electronic off-road wizardry rather than heavy, brutish driveline bits.
But we’ll have to wait and see. Land Rover could surprise us. I mean, it’s not likely, but it still could. So stay tuned for more official info on the Defender in 2019.