New spy shots of a SWB (short wheel base) Defender test mule have prompted me to write down some of my thoughts on what the "new" Defender will and won't be.
First off, It is pretty clear that we should be expecting an independent suspension in any & all new products from Land Rover.
While I personally lament the loss of solid axles under the new Defender, I understand the move by Land Rover doing so as it will allow enhanced drivability in all but the most extreme terrain. Yet, when matched with the amazing traction control system developed by Land Rover it will still surpass solid axles even in extreme terrain. The drawbacks are more related to the Series & Defender purists and those looking for major lift and build modifications to the vehicle, but we can rest assured that there will be individuals, shops, and manufacturers that will come to our aid in turning the new Defender into an off road beast. Be it in the form of modified long travel suspension arms/systems, solid axle conversions, or in some new style of modification we haven’t seen in the mass market yet.
Here's a link to the full article that triggered this post.
2020 Land Rover Defender Short Wheelbase Spy Photos
The new Defender should not be a reiteration of the old, but a complete re-imagining of what the Defender can and should be. It must be this way for the parent company, the mass market, and to adhere to all the regulations around new vehicle designs.
I expect the interior will be a continuation of form following function, with proper seating position and posture for good long term seat time, and great visibility for tight trails (and City streets). For the US market I expect we will see primarily high end leather and trim, but hope minimal carpet and foam padding will be used in the off chance of water ingress from deep stream crossings or windows left open in fowl weather. Speaking of deep water crossings, expect great sealing of the doors will eliminate or limit any water ingress, as well as a great factory fording depth likely well beyond what any sane person would expect to traverse. Misc storage boxes and tie downs will likely be tucked away in spots for some trail and adventure equipment too.
The new Defender will remind us style wise of the original, while driving better, being safer, and with better mileage and emissions than any prior generation.
Oh, and my last forecast/belief – it will launch at nearly the same time as the new Ford Bronco, and be a very similar vehicle.
JC’s British & 4x4