British firm started development work on its new flagship off-roader a fortnight ago
5 March 2010

Land Rover has started work on its replacement to the iconic 62-year-old Defender.

The British firm has formally been working on the Defender replacement, known internally as Project Icon, for two weeks after parent company Tata Motors signed off funds for a full engineering and design programme for the car.

Project Icon has therefore been granted a place in Land Rover’s product cycle and is due to be launched in 2014.

See pics of 62 years of the Land Rover Defender

At this stage, Land Rover is working out the positioning of the car and how it will be marketed. After successfully reinventing the Range Rover brand with new Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover LRX models, Land Rover is turning its attentions to sorting out the positioning and model line-up of its core off-roader range.

Land Rover insiders have admitted the brand needs a greater clarity and some customers find its current model line-up confusing. The Land Rover marque will be reinvented with Project Icon, a car that may not last 60-years, but will be the company’s flagship for at least the next 20.

Project Icon is unlikely to take the Defender name for production, although many of that car’s looks and values could be carried over to the new model. The car had previously been tipped be underpinned by the firm’s T5 steel platform chassis. Although capable, Land Rover feels it will be too heavy going forward in the future.

Land Rover’s Electric Rear Axle Drive (ERAD) technology, which it displayed in a Freelander in 2008, could make production in Project Icon to help improve economy and reduce emissions.

Twitter - follow autocar.co.ukSee all the latest Land Rover Defender reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender is an institution and unbeatable off road, if crude on it

Join the debate

Comments
25

1 March 2010

I Guess its about time...........

Its a testiment to the company that they have managed to keep the car going for so long without any real complete overhaul.

1 March 2010

A point of pedantry. The Defender has been built using the Defender name since 1990 and itself was a rebadged version of the 90 and 110 cars that came out in 1983 which were the coil sprung cars that are largely unchanged since then. The cars before that were very different and so you really can't trace the Defender heritage back beyond '83. Still 27 years aint bad!

1 March 2010

the defender is one of my favorite cars. I can't wait to see the new one, i just hope that is going to be at least as good an off-roader as the current car.

1 March 2010

Taken wayyyyyy too long! By the time it actually emerges, other companies would have long since stolen most of its market. LR management should be ashamed. And I say this all as a great fan of the Defender - which has got too long in the tooth now.

1 March 2010

[quote Autocar]Land Rover has started work on its replacement to the iconic 62-year-old Defender At this stage, Land Rover is working out the positioning of the car and how it will be marketed. .
[/quote] It's a Defender. Simple, rugged, ladder chassis (hopefully rust-proof). Torquey diesel engine for towing and cross country work. Bouncy, unrefined vehicle for farmers and industry. No lifestyle accessories, electronic whatsits, monocoque constructions or curvy styling. Variety of wheelbases and body shapes required. Don't let the marketing bods, nor a single focus group anywhere near this project.

1 March 2010

[quote greekpetrolhead]the defender is one of my favorite cars. I can't wait to see the new one, i just hope that is going to be at least as good an off-roader as the current car.[/quote]

It will be better. I hear they are working on such things as cab-operated tyre deflation / inflation. Defender is a bit antiquated off road compared to the remainder of the LR range. It just has better tyres and angles to cope.

1 March 2010

[quote John McToon]A point of pedantry. The Defender has been built using the Defender name since 1990 and itself was a rebadged version of the 90 and 110 cars that came out in 1983 which were the coil sprung cars that are largely unchanged since then. The cars before that were very different and so you really can't trace the Defender heritage back beyond '83. Still 27 years aint bad![/quote]

While that is perfectly true, the coil sprung chassis is basically a minor evolution of the first gen Range Rover chassis, which debuted in 1970, and I think the body on the 90 and 110's was largely carried over from the series 3 88 and 109" models that they replaced?

So the truth is probably somewhere between 27 and 60 years! :)

1 March 2010

[quote March1]While that is perfectly true, the coil sprung chassis is basically a minor evolution of the first gen Range Rover chassis, which debuted in 1970, and I think the body on the 90 and 110's was largely carried over from the series 3 88 and 109" models that they replaced?
So the truth is probably somewhere between 27 and 60 years! :)[/quote]

Nah, totally different bodywork, especially the 90 which never had the two pane windscreen. Have a look at Autocar's pictures. No one can show a picture of a Series III and say that it is a Defender. This is bad journalism. Defender started in 1990 really - 20 years is correct, 27 if you're generous, but certainly not 63!

R32

1 March 2010

I'm going to go against the grain here and say that I will really miss the current Defender once it goes out of production. I can see me buying one of the last ones built just for the sake of having it. It's just such a classic.

1 March 2010

My first toy car that I remember was a Britain's Land Rover 90 with a cnavas back (which my brother broke the same day) and a horse box. This must have been around 1990-91. Ever since then I have loved the Land Rover . I am not passionate about it in the way I am old Fords, but I really think the 90/110/Series x/Defender models are a perfect blend of form and function. A well kept one still looks great now, and they've never lost their core appeal of being bloody uncomfortable but bloody amazing off road. This is the car I will drive when the Four Horsemen come and everyone else is wiped out :-) I sincerely hope they don't lose sight of the purpose of these cars.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK