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New Land Rover Defender: Three bodies, four variants





More information continues to leak out about the all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender ahead of its global debut in September and its Australian release early next year.

This time the news comes from Automotive News Europe, a source of which claims the redesigned large SUV will be available in three body styles and four model grades.

The latter will include Urban, Country, Adventure and Explorer variants — aimed at city-dwellers, weekend trippers, grand tourers and off-roaders respectively.

Also aiming to broaden the appeal of the born-again British nameplate, which will be sold in China and the US for the first time, will be three body configurations with familiar names – but no pick-up version this time round.

Opening the 2020 Land Rover Defender line-up will be the three-door Defender 90 in five-seat and six-seat configurations (indicating the possibility of a three-seat front bench) measuring 4323mm (170 inches) in length – up from less than four metres for the dearly departed Defender 90.

According to ANE, the five-door Defender 110 will offer the choice of five, six or seven seats across three rows and measure 4758mm (187 inches) long.

Finally, reviving a Defender nameplate previously seen only on the dual-cab ute version will be the five-door Defender 130, offering up to eight seats and measuring a lengthy 5100mm (201 inches).

ANE says the Defender 90 and 110 variants will be available next year, followed by the 130 about 12 months later. It’s unclear whether the model designations continue to refer to wheelbase lengths in inches.

The new Defender will be launched with conventional and 48-volt mild-hybrid versions of Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium range of 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines, followed by plug-in hybrid and, potentially, all-electric powertrains.

In the future, more powerful SVR, go-anywhere SVX and luxurious SVAutobiography variants could join the range.

As we know from a series of leaks, spy shots and official announcements — including images of pre-production vehicles — the new Defender will look more like the latest Discovery than the model it belatedly replaces and will wear a tailgate-mounted spare wheel and clamshell bonnet.

It was designed, developed and engineered in the UK but will be produced in JLR’s new plant in Nitra, Slovakia alongside the Discovery, with which it will share its D7u platform.

That means that unlike the original 1948 Land Rover, whose aluminium body was bolted to a steel ladder frame, the new Defender be an all-aluminum monocoque design.

Land Rover built more than two million examples of the outgoing Defender before production of the off-road icon ended after 67 years in 2016, but hopes to radically ramp up sales of the new model to a wider global audience.

Despite its unibody construction and mass-market appeal, JLR says the 2020 Defender will be the “most capable off-road Land Rover vehicle ever”.

It claims that, by the time it reaches production, prototypes will have completed more than 45,000 tests and millions of kilometres of testing from Death Valley to Dubai and the Nurburgring, including altitudes of more than 4000 metres and temperatures as low as -40 degrees and as high as +48 degrees.