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Welcome return for the Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender
Land Rover Defender

After years of concepts, rumours, teaser images and countless leaks, Land Rover has at last revealed the new Defender at the current Frankfurt Motor Show.

The original Defender went out of production in 2016, leaving a dedicated-off-roader-sized gap in the British firm’s line-up.

This new version tackles that and is instantly recognisable as a Defender, thanks to its boxy silhouette. Its design takes on a modern look though, with enclosed LED headlights, softer details and a distinctive rear light design.

It looks set to be just as capable as its iconic forefather – if not more so, thanks to some clever new tech. Underpinning the off-roader is a new “D7x” platform, based on an aluminium monocoque, which Land Rover says is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame chassis set-ups.

Debuting on the new Defender is “Configurable Terrain Response”, which allows vehicle settings to be fine-tuned to cope with any particular surface – though pre-set options are there for beginners to off-roading too. The firm’s “ClearSight” technology features as well, which utilises a camera set-up to display the ground underneath the bonnet on the central screen.

Land Rover Defender

A spartan approach is taken inside the car. Structural elements are exposed – both to save weight by doing away with materials that would normally cover these, as well as to showcase its rugged roots – while rubberised flooring shows the function-over-form approach.

It’s not entirely a blast from the past, though. A touchscreen infotainment system utilises over-the-air software updates to remain futureproof.

Available in short-wheelbase 90 or long-wheelbase 110 guises, the British off-roader is capable of seating seven in its largest form (six in the 90). Folding the rear-most row results in 1,075 litres of boot space — rising to 2,380 with the middle row flattened. Those looking for an open-air experience can opt for a fabric roof, too.

Powertrain choices at launch consist of two petrol options (a six and a four-cylinder) along with two four-cylinder diesels. Petrol offerings also utilise mild-hybrid technology, with a plug-in hybrid unit set to join the range next year.

Pricing starts at £45,240, while order books are set to open imminently.

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