Currently reading: Project Icon - the new Defender
Land Rover to build new Defender on Discovery platform
Autocar
News
2 mins read
24 September 2009

Project Icon, the long-awaited replacement for the 61-year-old traditional Land Rover, is under secret development inside JLR’s Gaydon design centre and earmarked for a 2012 launch.

The new Land Rover is a relatively simple, steel-suspended workhorse intended also to attract lower-end Discovery buyers. It should hit the market soon after Land Rover’s existing iconic model, the Defender, reaches the end of the road, killed by legislation, and will reach most of the current Defender's 160-odd export markets.

The new Project Icon workhorse is based on the tough, capable but relatively heavy T5 steel platform chassis used for the existing Discovery and Range Rover Sport models, both of which are due to be replaced beyond 2012 by aluminium-based models which are between 400kg and 500kg lighter.

See pics of the Land Rover Defender being tested off-road

Land Rover wants to retain a simple, twin-rail T5 chassis because allows them to continue offering the variety of body styles — hard and soft tops, truck and crew-cab versions – from which Defender buyers can now choose.

The T5 chassis supports a modern all-independent suspension available both with steel and air springs. It is well-known for its sturdiness, but will need its own weight-reduction campaign.

The model will be made in the UK at first, but JLR bosses believe it could soon be made from KD (Knocked Down) kits in big markets like China, Russia and India.

There are no details yet of Project Icon’s engines, but a big four-cylinder turbodiesel like the Freelander’s Ford-PSA 2.2-litre four, or the base Discovery’s 2.7 litre V6 turbodiesel make likely candidates.

Steve Cropley

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Citytiger 26 September 2009

Re: Project Icon - the new Defender

zthomasz wrote:

Citytiger wrote:
When I see the first one roll off the production line, you might get an apology, but dont hold your breath.

But that wasn't the point that I made. I merely pointed out that a replacement defender was being planned.

I didn't even say that land rover would survive, let alone that it would make production.

That isn't the argument, they have probably been planning a new Defender since the late 80's early 90's when they changed the name from 110/90 to Defender, the fact is they still haven't produced a genuine plan, just a few ideas.

Rover planned to replace the 200, 400 series cars, they just never got round to it, and went out of business.

Jaguar have been planning a replacement for the E-Type for 30 years, they have produced prototypes but they just haven't got round to, now a few weeks ago they say they have plans for a new E-Type (again).

zthomasz 25 September 2009

Re: Project Icon - the new Defender

Citytiger wrote:
When I see the first one roll off the production line, you might get an apology, but dont hold your breath.

But that wasn't the point that I made. I merely pointed out that a replacement defender was being planned.

I didn't even say that land rover would survive, let alone that it would make production.

noluddite 25 September 2009

Re: Project Icon - the new Defender

I thought Land Rover were trying to reduce the number of platforms they use!
Here's yet another, albeit a carryover. Whilst I appreciate that Aluminium is a more expensive material than steel, it would have been good to see an all-aluminium Defender, sharing its chassis with the new Discovery. The reduction in weight would mean that the engines could be smaller and simpler, and the cross-country ability better. In addition, a bond/riveted, modular chassis would make a good basis for a number of variants, and cure that age-old land rover problem - chassis rot. (yes, I know Al corrodes, but not as much as steel under similar conditions)

As a Defender fan, I also sincerely hope that LR manage to retain some of the simplicity and charm of the existing car, and refrain from adding the cheap, tasteless, gaudy bling tacked onto their other products. This needs to be a vehicle for crossing a desert, fording streams, relentlessly chugging across open land. Not for leaning against outside a Cheshire wine bar, or for dropping off Oscar and Tasmin at school.
So come on LR. You now have the challenge that many of us would relish: To replace a true Icon. Don't FIU!