All We Want for Christmas Is a Land Rover Defender—a New One

The return of the iconic 4x4 can’t come soon enough.

As winter approaches, many Land Rover Defenders tuck away into a nice four-month slumber, not to emerge until another season of topless fun is upon the land. Some, meanwhile, are getting fitted with knobby tires to battle whatever cold-weather high jinks mother nature has in store. In either scenario, however, these beloved offroaders are aging. The last time the U.S. saw a new one on its soil was 1997. As these British tanks grow older, the question of a replacement looms. Granted, 2018 is not around the corner, but any return is better than none at all.

Land Rover plans to bring a modernized version of the Defender in for the 2019 model year. But again, more questions.

Will the Defender be some mass-market eco-something? Land Rover has been fairly mum, having only committed to keeping the old Defender’s genes intact. Realistically, that means more luxuries than the bare-bones Defenders of old wore, but all the off-road capability the faithful have come to expect.

What we do know is this: Whether you’re blasting dunes on Nantucket or gliding over the cobblestones of the Meatpacking District in Manhattan, everyone turns to watch a Land Rover Defender rumble by. The iconic offroader is loved by all. With standard-setting terrain capability and chiseled, square-jawed looks, it’s a machine to fantasize about—which is all Americans have been able to do for nearly 20 years, when Land Rover stopped sales of the model here.

The brand has committed to releasing five models: two two-door models, a longer wheelbase four-door model, a two-door pickup and a four-door pickup (the latter two, lamentably, are not earmarked for the U.S.), with eyes on selling 100,000 units a year.

They’re not under our tree just yet, but soon, guys. Soon.