A Land Rover engineer has promised the upcoming new Defender will be “tough and capable enough to be worthy of the name”.
Speaking to Autocar during a ride in a development model, Andy Deeks, product engineering team leader for durability and reliability at Land Rover, said the Defender would be able to “take whatever punishment” was thrown at it.
“It’s not a car of the same simplicity as the original, granted. It has its own character. But it’s easily tough and capable enough to be worthy of the name: more than, in both cases.
“The old Defender was a car that was durable because it simply wasn’t comfortable enough to drive it quickly off-road. This new one absolutely is – and trust me, it can take whatever punishment you’re prepared to ask of it,” Deeks told the British publication.
He went on to confirm details of the new Defender’s platform, including the fact it won’t feature rigid axles.
“We elected to use the same aluminium model platform as the other bigger Land Rover models use. It’s called ‘D7U’. The platform has been through a programme of wide-ranging design and engineering overhaul – but it’s a monocoque. It’s relatively light and very stiff, and those are attributes we need. But there’s no ladder frame here, and we don’t have rigid axles,” he revealed.
Deeks added the new model had been engineered to be more durable than any Land Rover product before it.
“Compared with the hardware you’ll find on a Range Rover or Range Rover Sport, there are reinforced suspension subframes, as well as new stronger suspension arms, ball joints and bushes. We’ve got bigger wheel arches, more suspension travel, more wheel articulation and more ground clearance than on any other Land Rover.
“This car was designed to exceed the usual Land Rover capability targets that our other models are engineered up to. And it has been engineered for better durability and reliability than any car that Land Rover has ever made,” he said.
He furthermore confirmed steel coils would be standard, while air suspension would be offered as an option.
“But we’ve got special controls monitoring the adaptive dampers, for example, to ensure they don’t overheat when working really hard. If you have the air suspension, we reckon the car is better able to keep its wheels on the ground and its body clear of obstacles than it would on rigid axles anyway.”
The new Defender is set to be fully revealed later in 2019, before production starts at a recently opened manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia.