New Land Rover Defender ‘Not Far Away,’ Design Boss Says

And don’t worry—it may be new, but it should still be able to take a beating.

byWill Sabel Courtney|
Land Rover News photo

You have to be careful when you redesign an icon. Just ask the designers at Porsche, who've been forced to walk a fine design line between modernization and maintenance with the 911 for more than five decades. Or, you could try asking Land Rover design chief Gerry McGovern, who's been forced to struggle with redefining the iconic Land Rover Defender for a new generation—without losing the spirit and capabilities that made the rig so notable in the first place.

While at the Automotive News Europe Congress event in Barcelona, Spain this week, McGovern said the next-generation Defender would stay true to its roots, but would also be more than a carbon copy of the old version. In order to build the brand, Automotive News reports, McGovern said Land Rover needs to "create desirable and relevant vehicles to appeal to a wider group of customers."

But don't think that means the new Landie will be some sort of wimpy soft-roader aimed at yuppie millennials. "You'll be able [to] kick the hell out of them and they'll get up for more," McGovern reportedly said of the next-gen Defenders.

While his new interpretation of the Defender legend currently sits tightly under wraps, we apparently shouldn't have to wait too much longer to see it, McGovern described the new Land Rover as "not far away," according to Automotive News. Considering the demand for the old versions—with everyone from car thieves to billionaires clamoring to lay their hands on them—we'd say it can't arrive soon enough.