Jaguar Land Rover goes on the attack with new Defender
2019 is shaping up to be a momentous summer for Jaguar Land Rover.
Riding on the crest of a wave caused by its announcement that its owners would invest hundreds of millions of pounds in its West Midlands factory to develop a new range of electric vehicles, the latest version of its famous Defender 4x4 also broke cover, doing a lap of the track at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
For now, at least, the company is being cagey about its official release plans. But the shots and information seen so far suggest that the revamp of JLR’s new big off-roader is extensive – and it’s gone down well with the motoring journalists who have been privy to the early leaks.
Among the details we do know about the new Defender – which takes over the mantle of the original which remained in production for 67 years - is that it will eventually come in three sizes.
The smallest – although it won’t be ‘small’ by conventional family car terms – will be a five- to six-seater.
The mid-range model will be 10 per cent longer, potentially giving enough room for up to seven occupants.
These two will carry the Defender flag for a couple of years, before being finally joined in 2022 by an eight-seater version, the Defender 130.
All Defenders will have a standard automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive, and the model will be available with a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines.
JLR claims its new Defender is currently undergoing “the most demanding test regime of any pre-production Land Rover to date”. That included a public outing at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
While much of the focus around developments at Jaguar will be on its Midlands factory in Castle Bromwich, which will develop and build the new string of electric engines, the arrival of the new Defender also represents good news for the workers at Halewood on Merseyside, where the current model is built.
[IMAGE, COURTESY OF NEWSPRESS]