The iconic and aspirational shape of the Land Rover Defender has in its essence been in design since 1948. And while it must be noted that Defender dynamics and ergonomics basically stayed in the 40s, saying the Defender has a cult-status would be the understatement of the year… Or should that be half century?

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This is all about to change, with the introduction of the new Land Rover Defender, due for release in 2018. You see, the old traditional shape is being put out to pasture due to safety regulations and strict upcoming emissions laws. Basically, it is time for Jaguar Land Rover to reinvent the grandfather axe.

 

Initial reports indicate the new Defender will be based on a unibody construction, rather than the tried-and-true ladder frame. There are quite a few rumours floating around regarding the new powerplants offered, however we understand the new Defender will be powered by existing small capacity turbo-diesel engines from the Jaguar range. Although we would love to see one of Jaguars fire-breathing V8s as an option. Several model variants should also be available, including SWB, LWB, soft top and utility.

 

So, while we welcome the new technology, which will no doubt be encased in this rather exciting development, how will the rivet counters out there deal with such change? Initial reactions to the rather animated Defender Concept 100 which was showcased in 2011 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, were akin to an angry mob with pitchforks chanting “It’s not broke… don’t fix it”. Luckily, Jaguar Land Rover understand the enormity of redeveloping such an icon, and aim to build a vehicle soft enough for new perspective owners yet rugged enough for the English Army to purchase. Hats off to Jaguar Land Rover if they pull it off.

 

Words by Isaac Bober