The new Defender in its natural terrain – off road
Land Rover is taking a big gamble in resurrecting the Defender, but it looks like it’s been given the right tools for the job
Is Land Rover really reluctant to show a concept car because it fears it’ll be plagiarised by a bloke in a pub who decided to create his own car company? I do hope not. Pity, if so. Where’s the confidence?
But I’m glad to know that it’s coming, and coming soon, and I think the platform is probably the right one. Recently, Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said that “a Phantom is a Phantom is a Phantom”. Land Rover is custodian of a similar product, and a Defender (is a Defender is a Defender) ought to be more capable off road than any other production car in the world, and I think only the full-fat Land Rover platform can provide that. Especially given, presumably, it’ll need to be rated to tow 3.5 tonnes.
That car, though, is by its very nature expensive, which alters what the Defender will be compared with the last one. There might well be a pick-up but a monocoque is inherently less versatile, when it comes to offering different bodystyles, than a vehicle with a separate chassis from which a number of bodies can be hung.
But what else can Land Rover do? Create a bespoke platform, with separate ladder frame, to which two dozen bodystyles can fit? Not a chance. So yet another car hung from the versatile, but already pretty busy, and undeniably heavy, big Land Rover platform. Other than premium, then, and great off road, I’m still not sure what the next Defender will be. Still, I suppose Land Rover does. And its rivals don’t.