Although the production of the iconic Land Rover Defender ended almost 3 years ago, Land Rover’s Classic division offered a 70th anniversary edition last year, limited to 150 units.
If you couldn’t get one of those, don’t worry. Testing of the next-generation Defender is already underway around the world with the first development mules and prototypes reaching North American shores earlier this month. Since the continent offers a wide variety of terrain and surfaces, engineers will be able to gather valuable data.
The mules will be subjected to extreme testing under the temperatures ranging from -40°F to +120°F, while also driving them on- and off-road at altitudes of more than 13,000 feet above sea level.
“There are a handful of automobiles that are beloved around the world and stand for a brand, a country and a distinct way of life. The Land Rover Defender is such a singular vehicle. On behalf of everyone at Land Rover and our proud retailers, the voices of American and Canadian customers have been heard: The all-new Defender will be for sale here starting in 2020,” said Kim McCullough, Vice President of Marketing for Jaguar Land Rover North America. “This announcement is a holiday gift to our Defender fans in North America and a hint of what’s to come in the New Year.”
The Defender has garnered a cult-like following for both its iconic design and reputation for rugged go-anywhere capability. Apparently, the NAS (North American Specification) Defenders have appreciated in value as they’re highly sought after by collectors and off-road enthusiasts.
As we can see in the pictures, the new model retains the boxy silhouette. In fact, the design of the Defender remained largely unchanged for the 33 years it was produced. The off-roader is instantly recognizable by its squared-off exterior, round headlights and signature rear-mounted spare wheel.
The 2020 Land Rover Defender will debut in 2019 with new interiors, a suite of latest driver assistance and connectivity features. It is expected to be electrified as well. Goes on sale in U.S. and Canada in 2020.