By Steve & Tamami Laser
When Land Rover last sold the Defender in America, Bill Clinton was in the White House, and the top song for 1997 was “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” by Elton John.* Twenty-one years later, the Defender continues to have a cult-like following, and so does one of our favorite singers.
Land Rover announced today that it will be bringing the Defender back to the U.S. and Canada in calendar year 2020. Of course, it won’t look like the 1990s North American Series Defender 90 (above), or the final Defenders that the automaker stopped building at its plant in Solihull, UK, in 2016.
An all-new, thoroughly modern Defender (prototype shown above) will take the place of its predecessor that had an amazing 33-year run. The iconic Series Land Rover traces its roots back more than 70 years ago. Series 1 through 3 and the Defender were built in an array of bodystyles and modified for use by police, military, farmers, and of course, celebrities.
“On behalf of Land Rover and our retailers, we are proud to announce the voices of American and Canadian customers has been heard,” said Kim McCullough, vice president of marketing for Jaguar Land Rover North America. “The all-new Defender will be for sale here staring in 2020. This announcement today is a holiday gift to our Defender fans in North America and a hint of what’s to come in the New Year.”
The 2020 Land Rover Defender is coming to America and this video offers a sneak preview of prototype vehicles. (video: Land Rover)
While the photos and video show a four-door Defender prototype, the 2020 model is likely to also be built in two-door hardtop and soft-top versions for the UK and other markets. We don’t know whether the latter two will join the former in the U.S. or Canada.
Land Rover brought Defender prototypes (wrapped with camouflage) to the U.S. this month to begin testing in extreme conditions by engineers. As the story goes, to ensure that the new model is the “most capable Land Rover vehicle ever,” it will be subjected to harsh conditions on and off-road, in freezing and scorching climates, and altitudes from sea level to 13,000 feet.
While the new Defender appears to carry some signature design cues from its predecessors, the exterior and interior are all new. Specifics are expected to be announced when the vehicle is officially revealed sometime next year. Land Rover says the new Defender will also offer a “suite of the latest driver assistance and connectivity features.”
Some other iconic off-roaders have managed to embrace future technologies with their spirit intact (the Jeep Wrangler comes to mind). Will Defender fans flock to the new model if it strays too far from the look of the original? Perhaps Land Rover is preparing to blaze a new trail with the 2020 Defender.
For more information visit Land Rover USA
Or visit Land Rover In Your Market
News source, photos and video courtesy Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC, and Jaguar Land Rover Limited
Story © 2018 CarNichiWa.com
*According to 1997 Year-End USA Charts (Singles) in Billboard magazine