Since 1948, the Land Rover Defender has been a common sight on farms, country estates and game reserves around the world and the UK-based manufacturer is lining up its replacement, which includes a pickup variant, for 2019. In this article, we give you all the known information on the upcoming Land Rover Defender 2019.
The Defender can trace its history all the way back to 1948, when the Rover Company launched a Jeep-inspired off-road vehicle – named the ‘Land Rover’ – aimed at the agricultural sector. A second generation, the Series II, replaced the original in 1958 and the Series III in 1971. From 1978, Land Rover became a company within its own right.
Three wheelbases were offered from 1983 and new names were adopted to reflect this; the Land Rover 90, Land Rover 110 and Land Rover 127. The addition of the Discovery to the Land Rover fold in 1989 forced another, and this time final, name change to the Defender.
Because the Defender was largely hand-built, it was incredibly expensive and inefficient to produce. Production volumes were small in comparison to other models (around 20,000 a year), so Land Rover used the Euro-6 emission standard as a ‘get out clause’ and ceased production in 2016.
Since the incident with Jiangling Motors, in which the Chinese company copied the design of the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover has been very secretive about previewing future vehicles and the Defender is no exception.
No official images have been shared, although small details have been leaked. We know, for example, that the Defender will be available in two wheelbases (90-inch and 110-inch, like the predecessor), based on a toughened version of the Range Rover’s D7U platform and there will be a variety of body styles including hard and soft top, a 4×4 commercial, a pickup and possibly a chassis cab for conversions (cherry pickers, tippers, dropsides, etc.).
While the sleek design of the new model may cast some doubts in the minds of more ‘utilitarian’ customers, Land Rover states that it will be a ‘highly capable’ off-roader with a high ground clearance and approach and departure angles, and a tough chassis.
Engine and driveline
Land Rover has also stated that the new Ingenium engines will power the Defender. Currently, there is only a 2.0-litre Ingenium engine (1,999cc, 4-cylinder) available, producing up to 237hp/500Nm, although a 3.0-litre straight-six will also be available by 2020. Transmissions have yet to be announced, although its likely that there will be a choice between a 6-speed manual and the 9-speed ZF automatic.
Land Rover Defender 2019 availability
The Defender will go into production in 2019, but it’s still unclear at this stage where. Since the Castle Bromwich and Solihull plants are close the capacity, it’s likely that the Defender will not be built in the UK – with the most obvious candidates being the company’s new factory in Slovakia and the Magna factory in Austria.