Back to top

5 Features carried over from the old Land Rover Defender to the new





18 November 2019


Much has been written about the all-new Defender and Land Rover’s decision to adapt it to the modern world.

ALSO READ: An icon reborn: The all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender

To some the romance has been lost, while others think it’s about time this iconic vehicle join the modern world.

That doesn’t mean the design of the original had to be dropped completely. While it’s silhouette is undeniable Defender-like, the rest of the car is thoroughly modern.

ALSO READ: Will the Land Rover Defender go head-to-head with G63 AMG?

There are, however, a number of design characteristics Land Rover reimagines for the 21st century. Here’s a list of five features which contributed to the Defender’s iconic status, and all of them can be found on the latest iteration:

Alpine windows

A defining feature of all Defenders, Alpine windows in the upper-rear roof area are specially designed to let light into the cabin. The Alpine name also alludes to their original purpose – offering scenic views when touring mountain ranges.

Side–hinged tailgate

A tailgate that swings open like a conventional door has been a trademark of all Defenders, right through to today. The design helps give the New Defender its unique rear profile, while also allowing a mounting place for the spare wheel. Featuring a strong four-layer design, the Defender tailgate’s hinge and strike plate have been subjected to 30,000 test slam cycles in temperatures from -30 to +80 degrees Celsius.

Externally mounted spare

Whether fixed to the bonnet in the early days or on the tailgate later on, the iconic Land Rover’s spare wheel has always been handily mounted externally. Apart from being a visual Defender trademark, this mounting position helps achieve a short rear overhang, and therefore steep departure angle. The Defender’s spare is secured with heavy duty locking wheel nuts.

Rugged steel wheels

Though alloy wheels are far more commonplace today, rugged steel rims are a requisite option on all Defenders. The New Defender comes with optional 18-inch pressed steel wheels in Gloss White and off-road tyres with an outside rolling diameter of 815mm – the largest across the entire Land Rover family.

Pale green hue

Right from the very first Series 1 Rovers, when colour choice was dictated by surplus aircraft paint, the iconic 4×4 has come with pale green body panels. More recently the Heritage Edition Defender was finished in a throwback Grasmere green. The New Defender is available with the latest iteration of the historic colour – Pangea Green.

“The New Defender is respectful of its past but is not harnessed by it. This is a new Defender for a New Age. Its unique personality is accentuated by its distinctive silhouette and optimum proportions, which make it both highly desirable and seriously capable – a visually compelling 4×4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment,” said Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover.

The New Defender 110 is scheduled for South African launch in the first half of 2020 with a short wheelbase 90 derivative set to follow later in 2020.