Just a shade under a decade from now. Why the wait?
The all-new reborn Land Rover Defender is set to debut sometime in 2020, but according to a new report from Car Magazine UK, the automaker plans on taking its time launching variants and different body styles. Like really take its time. A battery electric Defender isn’t due to arrive until 2024 and a new Defender Sport won’t be seen prior to 2026. Given the fact that the original Defender had a decades-long lifespan, the up to eight-year wait doesn’t sound so bad. Then again, in today’s insanely competitive SUV market, it is surprising that Land Rover doesn't plan on launching these Defender variants sooner.
We first learned about Land Rover’s intention to launch a completely all-new Defender back in 2011 with the not so well received DC100 concepts (pictured here). Although designers attempted to keep the concepts’ lines simple, it was deemed too retro-ish for some, so Land Rover went back to the drawing board. The 2020 Defender will ride on a monocoque structure instead of a body-on-frame, which isn’t particularly surprising.
In general, the 2020 Defender will be a far easier SUV to live with on a day-to-day basis. It will have an independent rear suspension for better on-road manners. However, Land Rover will offer buyers several model derivatives with a choice of axles, tires, transmissions, and even suspension calibrations. Something for everyone. And yes, the new Defender will be sold in the US.
Okay, but again, why is Land Rover delaying the Defender Sport’s launch until 2026? Because it will be a pure EV. That means electrification is coming but not immediately; the technology needs to improve first, as does EV infrastructure in general. Unless an all-electric Jeep Wrangler arrives first, Land Rover will have this new SUV segment all to itself. As for the Defender that’ll debut in 2020, it’ll be offered with a variety of trims and a choice of internal combustion engines, including JLR’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Expect new inline six-cylinders as well.
Judging by the long delivery date for the new Defender Sport, it’s evident Land Rover plans for this all-new generation Defender to be on the market for many years to come. Developing its platform from the get-go for future electrification adaptations is proof.