Original Land Rover Defender and DC100 conceptEnlarge Photo
When we saw 2011’s DC100 concept, a first-look at an eventual Defender replacement, 2015 was the year being cited for the inevitable replacement and end of the Defender as we know it today. While 2015 will still be the year the current Defender bows out of the market (the decision is due to emissions regs), its replacement won’t quite be ready.
One of the reasons for the delay is thought to be Land Rover’s decision to adopt its PLA aluminum platform found in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Using the platform, which will also underpin an LR4-replacing Discovery SUV, means Land Rover can build the new Defender on the same line as its other PLA-based models. The downside is that the vehicle won’t be as affordable as previously thought.
The good news is that the delay isn’t likely to be very long, as Autocar is reporting that a final design for the new Defender has been signed off and its reveal likely to take place in mid-2016. The British rag also reports that Land Rover bosses are considering revealing a new Defender concept next year. Apparently the final design is considerably different to that of the DC100 concept, which proved somewhat unpopular with fans.
And being based on the PLA platform shouldn’t hamper the new Defender’s off-road prowess. Engineers are likely to beef up the structure to make it as stiff and rugged as possible.
Powertrains are likely to include Land Rover’s Ingenium four-cylinder engines as well as its V-6 units, and the transmissions will likely be eight- and nine-speed automatics. It’s not clear if a conventional manual will be offered, but skipping it would go against the vehicle’s rugged, go-anywhere image.
Interestingly, we’ve also heard that a pickup version may also be launched.