Two and a half years have now ticked by since the final Defender rolled off the production line and we’re still waiting for Land Rover to show off its successor without camouflage.

We know it’s coming — JLR has said as much and disguised mules have been spotted winter testing. But I’m beginning to wonder if the company is leaving it just a little late.

Land Rover’s 70th-anniversary celebrations came and went without an official unveiling. And, now, when it comes to retro-inspired, all-terrain options, the Defender is no longer alone.

Jeep 03

Jeep is readying a significantly overhauled Wrangler for Europe later this year, while the fourth-generation Suzuki Jimny continues to turn heads with its rugged-on-a-small-scale styling. Even some hard-to-impress staffers in the Autocar office say they’re fans.

Both cars were designed with a nod to their heritage and — on paper, at least — appear to be confident off-roaders, with ladder-frame chassis, low-range gearboxes and rigid axle suspensions.

So, basically, the two most important things for a new Defender to get right.

Land Rover might argue that its cars have the best off-road ability of any 4x4, but Jaguar Land Rover’s new MLA platform — which the Defender looks set to be one of the first in line to use — is currently unproven.

The Wrangler and Jimny should appeal to anyone on a modest budget, too. Land Rover insists that everything it makes qualifies for ‘premium’ status, so you have to imagine the new Defender will carry a price to match, even if the mainstream model will be intended as a workhorse vehicle.