Land Rover's upcoming off-roader goes through its final tests before its big debut.
You know what today is, car fans? Yes, it's almost the end of the month, and near the start of summer. But for off-roading enthusiasts, it's World Land Rover Day, marking 71 years since the original was unveiled in Amsterdam. And to celebrate, the British sport-ute manufacturer has provided our best look yet at its most hardcore off-roader to come.
Confirmed to debut "later this year,” the forthcoming next-generation Land Rover Defender has been undergoing rigorous testing around the world – from the Nürburgring and the Arctic Circle to the dunes of Moab and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
"In addition to the extensive simulation and rig testing, we’ve driven new Defender 1.2 million kilometers across all terrains and in extreme climates to ensure that it is the toughest and most capable Land Rover vehicle ever made,” noted engineering chief Nick Rogers. "The incredible opportunity to put it to the test in the field, supporting operations at the Borana Conservancy in Kenya, with Tusk, will allow our engineers to verify that we are meeting this target as we enter the final phase of our development program.”
The final stage in development will put a specially camouflaged prototype through a series of "real-world trials” in Africa.
It'll be tasked with towing heavy loads, wading through rivers, and carrying supplies through the 35,000-acre nature preserve. Once it's ready, it'll enter production at Jaguar Land Rover's new plant in Slovakia, just an hour west from the Bratislava plant where the Volkswagen Group builds its own sport-utes like the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, and Audi Q7 and Q8.
As you can see from these manufacturer-released "spy shots,” the new Defender will stay true to the model's rugged, boxy design (albeit very different from the DC100 concepts it showed eight years ago), and will be offered in both three- and five-door body-styles on different wheelbases.