Land Rover Defender might come to America in 2019

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Details are starting to come out about the Land Rover Defender's successor. According to Automotive News, it should be previewed by a concept next year, followed by a production model in 2019. In addition, the site reports that the SUV will be offered "in all global markets" suggesting it will be offered in the United States. This would support what Jaguar Land Rover's North American CEO said way back in 2012. At the time, he said the Defender would be developed for global release, and special attention would be paid to ensure it passed U.S. safety and emissions regulations. So if all goes as planned, American Defender fans will be able to get their hands on a new one possibly as soon as 2019.

But before you get too excited, we should address some of the details and predictions about the new vehicle. While it sounds like it will be offered in many different configurations such as the classic two- and four-door models, Automotive News also predicts that it could be a unibody vehicle to save weight and cost, specifically on the Range Rover platform. As capable as the Range Rover is off-road, this would seem like an odd direction to take for the Defender since much of the appeal is its traditional construction and off-road ability. And it's not impossible for a company to build and sell a reasonably affordable, safe body-on-frame SUV. Just look at the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner. The other advantage to the body-on-frame design would be the ability to offer multiple body styles, as Automotive News predicts the Defender will have, since they could all be attached to the same or similar frame. We could see the Defender going either direction, so purists, don't worry too much — but still be ready for a possible unibody vehicle, and try to remember that the XJ Cherokee was unibody and capable, too.

The other detail Automotive News provides about the Defender is that it will probably use engines from the Ingenium line of powertrains used by Jaguar Land Rover. This means it will probably make use of the same turbocharged 2.0-liter gas and diesel four-cylinders already available in Jaguars and Land Rovers in the U.S. The diesel engine makes 180 horsepower and 318 pound-feet of torque in the Jaguar XE, and the gas engine makes 247 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, also in the XE. In the F-Type, the same engine makes 296 horsepower, but we wouldn't expect that version to appear in a Defender. A future six-cylinder based on the Ingenium engines could show up, though.

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