• 2020 Land Rover Defender

2020 Land Rover Defender Coming to Canada

Camouflaged prototypes are now showing up on North American shores.

Matthew Guy By: Matthew Guy December 27, 2018
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Fans of the storied British marque have received an extra holiday gift this year. The company’s North American arm announced today the next-generation Defender will be revealed in 2019 and appear in Canadian showrooms in 2020.

Testing of the new box is already underway, with camouflaged prototypes showing up on North American shores earlier this month. Testing on this side of the pond provides valuable data to engineers since terrain and road surfaces here vary wildly from those in Europe.

“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,” said Kim McCullough, Vice President of Marketing for Jaguar Land Rover North America. “On behalf of Land Rover and our retailers, we are proud to announce the voices of American and Canadian customers has been heard. The all new Defender will be for sale here starting in 2020.”

Rolling out a version of any well-loved model is fraught with risk but none more so than with the vehicles at Land Rover. Purists frothed at the mouth when the Range Rover dared to alter its rear hatch system, while fans of the Discovery tut-tutted into their tea when that model showed up with an offset rear plate as a simple styling flourish. If Land Rover strays too far from the original Defender mold, expect internet forums frequented by the JLR faithful to light up like a Christmas tree.

For their part, the company promises an all-new exterior and interior design, as well as a suite of the latest driver assistance and connectivity features, promising a rig with “broader public appeal” when it debuts in 2019. Land Rover is careful to point out it will unmistakably be a “Defender for the 21st century.”

Appealing to the Defender faithful is definitely important but what is even more important is the appeal of this machine to a buying public thirsty for SUVs and crossovers. Land Rover’s cupboard is full of the things, ranging from the diminutive Defender Sport through to the stylish Velar topped by the big-daddy Range Rover and its cousin, the Range Rover Sport.

Adding the Defender to this lineup gives the company yet another arrow in its increasingly profitable quiver. Sales of the off-road brand have been climbing steadily in Canada for the last ten years, rising from just over two thousand units in 2008 to nearly ten thousand units last year. Fun fact: historically, its best month for sales – by a long shot – is March.

While these camo’d photos don’t give away too much in the way of detail, it’s clear the new Defender will still be styled with a t-square. Your author heartily approves. Expect the company to show a production version sometime in the first half of 2019.

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