The 2020 Land Rover Defender has had its launch date confirmed, while also being spied during public road testing, with the brand proudly displaying a “Best 4×4 by far” message across its sides and rear.
Given the tagline, you’d have to say that Land Rover is very confident that the new Defender will live up to its reputation as a no-nonsense bush basher, but with more technology available than ever before, there will also be utilization of computing power to get the job done.
The images, captured by Autocar, show a very different overall shape to the Defender DC100 concept which was unveiled several years ago.
Despite the profile you see here, it’s worth remembering that there’s a lot of cladding going on, and the final design will be a bit different. But what we can tell is that the short wheelbase and high ground clearance is definitely present.
Jaguar Land Rover’s marketing chief, Felix Bräutigam, told the British publication that this particular vehicle was one of the first prototypes to head outside of Gaydon (the home of JLR), with more vehicles to be seen out on the roads.
“These are what we call Pilot build cars and testing will increase on public roads from now,” Bräutigam told Autocar. “The first four cars are ready, and now the line is running you can expect the number of test cars to grow exponentially.
The company confirmed this week that the date of the new Defender to go on sale will be in 2020, which should help those looking forward to a heavy-duty off-roader to start planning.
The public has been waiting a long time for the new off-road machine, with the last Defender rolling off the production line in 2016. After that was a re-engineered version, the Defender Works V8.
But the length of time taken in between has enabled Land Rover to refine its powertrains to the point where an electrified version will be an option once the Defender goes on sale. Yes, the purists will cry foul, but Land Rover needs to have an option to turn to if it decides that diesel engines will be killed off like so many other brands.
The timing for the new Defender to be testing on public roads is interesting given the brand has just celebrated its 70th anniversary with the introduction of the first Land Rover in 1948.
Watch the celebration and some interesting tidbits of history in the video below.