Myth Busting The New Land Rover Defender
It's quite hard, sometimes, both writing about cars and being involved with the manufacturers who create them. It can be a bit of a minefield of information, being able to navigate leaks, reveals and what can and can't be said in public.
One of those cars I've had to be extra, extra careful about is the new Land Rover Defender. A car which at one stage no-one thought was actually going to happen. But a car I've had a wealth of information on that I've had to keep fairly close to my chest. With that in mind though, and whilst there's a lot of things we can't talk about in regards to the new Defender. I thought I would at the very least hop on and tell you what the new Defender is not.
Myth Number 1 - Are we ever actually going to be able to buy this car?
The first thing I wanted to talk about is the release schedule. Something which has been hotly debated for a couple of years. Most people believed that JLR would actually announce and release the car last year, something that most on the inside of the business knew wasn't going to happen. Jaguar Land Rover are fairly good at staggering release schedules, unalike to its German competitors who have the tendency to release everything at once and go quiet for years. With that in mind though, in the past two years Land Rover first gave us the Velar, then the RR Sport and RR Vogue update and finally the new Evoque. These three cars were in massive need, volume wise, of updates (with the Velar excluded for obvious reasons).
Because of this the Defender was always going to be the last in line for an all-new vehicle. What I can tell you about the launch schedule is that it isn't years away anymore. In fact it's actually only months away. My colleague, Tim Krieger at JLR's Australian head office, revealed to CarAdvice late last month that the launch for the vehicle would take place in September somewhere in Europe. That should give some of the more hardcore fans a bit of a sigh of relief.
Myth Number 2 - It looks like sh*t
I thought it also worth briefly chatting about the design of the new Land Rover Defender as well. Land Rover have released a bunch of spy shots of the car in action over the past couple of months, and it's led to some slightly ugly commentary about how the car is going to look. The commentary though is also somewhat unfair. I think we're all used to the fact that Land Rover does not build ugly cars as a rule, it just doesn't happen.
As such, I can tell you that camouflage is there for a reason. It's there to hide proprietary design. That means that the true design of the car has not, and will not be released until its launch. It's hard to take my word for it, but the car is a good looking car. Land Rover have put a whole lot of thought into how the car was and is inspired by the original Defender and they've modernised that design.
Myth Number 3 - It'll be great for the school run. But what about off-road?
I can't believe I actually have to address this myth. But people are spreading around the rumour that this car is going to be no good off-road. Here's the thing, without saying anything at all. All Land Rover vehicles are brilliant off-road. They are troopers and at stock are some of the best off-road vehicles on the market.
With that in mind, would you not think that the one car Land Rover built its off-roading reputation on is going to stay true to that original spirit? Why change a formula that isn't broken? But more to the point, why throw out a bunch of technology which Land Rover has developed so that its other vehicles on range can be fantastic off-road vehicles?
Myth Number 4 - The interior is going to be as basic as possible
No-one has actually seen the interior yet, myself included. It does make me think though, does someone know something that I don't?
Telling the truth, I doubt it. The previous Defender at entry level wasn't really all that basic compared to lower end competitors. So you can imagine this new Defender, which will sit at a slightly higher price point than what the previous one exited at, is probably going to be at the very least better specified than that. I would be expecting the standard Land Rover infotainment system we've come to love in the Discovery Sport, which includes satellite navigation, Bluetooth and all of the other creature comforts most luxury cars enjoy nowadays. But I would also be expecting leather seats and the ability to fully option the car from top to bottom with anything you would expect to get from a Range Rover Velar or a Land Rover Discovery.
As mentioned above the new Land Rover Defender is slated for a launch this September. Estimates have stock being delivered in showrooms by January next year, which to be honest will probably get pushed back slightly. With that said though? The car is well and truly on its way, with production being started as soon as the car launches. So get your cheque books out and call the finance manager. There's a New Land Rover Defender coming, and it's coming soon.