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Car and Driver: 2018 Land Rover Defender May Not Resemble Recent Defender Concept Cars

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2018 Land Rover Defender concept

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While the world waits for Land Rover’s follow-up to its ancient but infinitely useful (and cool) Defender off-roader, due in two years, the company’s men have let slip an interesting tidbit. Speaking to Automotive News, Land Rover designer Gerry McGovern indicated that the 2018 Defender SUV probably won’t look like the Defender concepts that debuted a few years ago. Interesting.

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Those 2011-era Defender-previewing concepts—one of which is shown above—depict a sort of bubbly yet sharply modern upright SUV. The old Defender’s two-headlight, single-grille face is there, as are tough-looking plastic body addenda and an externally mounted spare tire. Only that’s not what we’re going to get. McGovern is quoted by Automotive News as stating, “When this vehicle comes out, people will know it’s a Defender, it’s a modern Defender,” adding “but it will bear no resemblance to those Defender concepts.”

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Sure, there are more than two ways to skin a cat, but we’re struggling to imagine what other avenues exist for redesigning a boxy, utilitarian rig first introduced in the 1940s for the 21st century besides sprinkling some LED lights and plastic over it. As is expected, Land Rover wants to significantly juice Defender sales with the new model—tenfold, according to McGovern, to roughly 100,000 units annually—which requires a design that trades heavily on the original while offering modern-day livability for the latte set.

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