New Land Rover Defender: 5 features that define an icon
South Africa, 18 November 2019

Land Rover has defined all-terrain capability and toughness from the conception of its very first 4x4. The Defender and Series models before it, have gone above and beyond for decades, securing iconic status for their ability to help people make more of their world.

Though its distinctive overall silhouette makes the New Defender as instantly recognisable as the original, there are a number of iconic features which have been passed on through generations of Series Land Rovers and Defenders since the original appeared at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948.

The New Defender takes these much loved characteristics and reimagines them 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 offroad 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 4x4 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.


Massimo Frascella, Creative Director, Land Rover Design, said: “For us designers, nothing comes close to redesigning the last automotive icon. The design of the New Defender is a manifestation of our modernist design philosophy, elemental yet incredibly sophisticated.”


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.

“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 4x4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment.”

Gerry McGovern

Chief Design Officer, Land Rover

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