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Is This Our First Look At The New Hybrid Land Rover Defender?

Spy Shots

After a long hiatus, the Land Rover Defender is finally coming to America.

An all-new Land Rover Defender is coming to replace its iconic predecessor, and while Land Rover has already released some teaser photos of a camouflaged prototype, our spies have spotted a new prototype version of the rugged SUV undergoing winter testing in snowy conditions. This prototype is sporting a new set of alloy wheels with some sensors attached to the brake disc, which suggests Land Rover could be testing a regenerative braking system.

If so, this could be an early look at a new hybrid prototype of Land Rover’s new rugged off-roader, but it’s too early to tell at this stage. Jaguar Land Rover has already confirmed every model in its line-up will be electrified from 2020, so a hybrid Defender will be part of that plan.

The prototype clearly isn’t the long-rumored pure electric version, however, since you can clearly see the SUV’s massive exhaust at the back. While the exterior is covered in camouflage, we could be looking at the SUV’s production headlights and taillights. Expect the production model to ditch the old model’s utilitarian design in favor of a more modern look that Land Rover’s design boss admits will be "polarizing.”

It will also be far more advanced with the latest driver-assistance and safety technologies and a fully independent suspension setup. Power is expected to come from a 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder, with a hybrid variant expected to join the line-up at a later date.

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We’re expecting the covers to come off the new Land Rover Defender early this year before the rugged off-roader goes on sale in 2020 - and this time it will be available in America. The fully electric Defender isn’t expected to arrive until 2024, while a new Defender Sport won’t launch until 2026 at the earliest.

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