Currently reading: New Land Rover Defender already testing on roads ahead of 2018 launch
Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth confirms a Defender mule is in development, and says it looks fantastic

The new Land Rover Defender is already undergoing testing, according to Jaguar Land Rover chief Dr Ralf Speth, who told Autocar he has driven prototypes of the model.

He said the appearance of the car, seen above in an Autocar image, has been decided and looks “fantastic”.

With design and engineering now at the stage of development testing on road, the new Defender is expected to arrive in 2018.

The new Land Rover Defender is set to be the most high tech car the firm has ever made - read about it here:

It will be based on the aluminium architecture of the new Discovery, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport and could be made in the same plant, in Solihull, although Land Rover now has aluminium plants in several places.

Speth confirmed it won’t be related to the Discovery Sport or Evoque models.

He added that it will be “fairly different” from other models in actual body componentry, because a vehicle of this capability has to be very tough indeed.

"There is no question of the new Defender just being an icon. We are working on an authentic successor to the old Defender. The architecture will contain a lot of elements that are different [from other aluminium cars]," said Speth.

He also admitted that "all our vehicles have to make money". Land Rover has previously been reluctant to confirm its next Defender project, with the firm understood to be struggling to justify the cost of a model which is relatively low-volume, yet which needs to offer world-class off-roading abilities and general reliability, something its predecessor is famed for.

Read more about the new Discovery


Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Wcobb 23 November 2016


This Defender looks terrible. Porsche, Corvette, Rolls, Jeep, and other look the same throughout the years. This looks like an inflated Toyota. Where does the winch fit, off-road lights, etc?

Pick one, new defender, discovery, evoque, Range Rover? All the same fronts so they appeal to all walllets. Jeep is going to eat their lunch. You can't even buy a Rubicon.

Retain the original body, put in a v8, winch, and roll through Africa.

eseaton 1 October 2016

OK. What long term successful

OK. What long term successful manufacturer doesn't make at least one product true to its origins? Porsche is surely the best example of profit products supporting core products to the greater good.

There are plenty out there that have chased where they thought the money was, only to quickly fade.

Scoobman 1 October 2016


Steve Cropley has confused reliability with durability. Yes, the old Defender has immense durability, but not reliability.
Fingers crossed for the new Defender.
289 1 October 2016

@ scoobman

Spot on Scoobman.
And anything with an aluminium skin can be durable if you are replacing rusty chassis, gearboxes, axles etc. underneath.
Few old Land Rovers still have these in an original state.