Dear Land Rover: Don't Mess with the Defender (too much)

Land Rover is treading on thin ice in the coming months as they look to replace the iconic Defender. The British SUV-maker was extremely successful in bringing a new, 21st century model to their line-up in the Range Rover Evoque. So the spotlight is on LR to basically not screw the pootch with the Defender’s replacement. Between marketing and PR, looks and capabilities Land Rover hit the nail on the head with the Evoque. For a luxury SUV, it ticks all the boxes. Having driven the Evoque, it’s hard to fault it in any way. But that’s the Evoque– we’re talking about the Defender here. Born from the loins of the WWII hero, the Defender has gone on to etch its name on the list of cars that don’t take any shit. Inside, it’s military grade; everything you need and nothing you don’t. There’s no fancy liners, the gear stick and transmission seem like they were taken from a tractor and you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s what TRUE off-roaders are supposed to be like. Very little to clean and even less stuff to break. Replacing the Defender is equivalent to Chrysler replacing the Jeep… it takes balls. Land Rover knows that it needs to strike a balance when developing a new Defender– a balance that straddles both modern luxury needs and traditional SUV capabilities. “Form versus function,” and such. For the Defender, function has always come out on top, but for this old warhorse to continue service, it needs a major redesign just to meet today’s safety standards. Here is the gamble; Land Rover NEEDS a capable off-roader, but they also need a modern, good-looking one as well. It's a crucial balance, and for the sake of the iconic brand's image identity, we hope they play it juuuust right!