While Land Rover makes hay from Range Rovers, it is the Defender that gives all Land Rovers the authenticity and credibility of the true 4x4 go-anywhere image the company has built itself on.

While the Defender, fully unveiled earlier this week at the Frankfurt motor show, answers questions about the direction of Land Rover’s brand and model range – chiefly that it can still do something other than Range Rovers – it throws up some new ones, most notably around the Land Rover Discovery.

Intriguingly, in its styling the reborn Defender feels as much a successor to the acclaimed Discovery 4 as it does the iconic original 4x4. The Discovery, meanwhile, has always felt too close to a Range Rover to have a character of its own in its fifth generation, and it has not had the commercial success of the Range Rovers to back-up its significant shift in direction. 

By giving it such a distinct character and not subjecting the Defender to the same ‘Range Roverisation’ as the Discovery shows just how alive and well creativity remains at Land Rover.

Tantalisingly, it also now leaves a gaping hole between the Range Rover at one end of its range and the Defender at the other in which the Discovery - and other future models - can really innovate as all the great Land Rovers have done. 

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