Land Rover will ditch body-on-frame for a unibody construction.

Production of the iconic Land Rover Defender came to a close in 2016 after an unprecedented 67-year run. Enthusiasts duly weeped. But as they say, pain is only temporary. Reports confirm that a new Defender will be on the market in just a few years... but it just won't be the same old-school off-roader we’ve come to know and love.

According to Automotive News, the Land Rover Defender revival will be based on the same D7U unibody construction that underpins the latest Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The aluminium-intensive platform will, however, be lighter, and should be cheaper to produce. Even though it’s ditching the body-on-frame setup synonymous with the most extreme off-road vehicles (and, indeed, the old Defender), the company promises that the new Defender will still be the most capable vehicle in its class.

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The first concept could show up as early as next year, prior to its scheduled 2019 debut. Apart from a unibody construction, the new Land Rover will come in several different body styles, said design chief Gerry McGovern in an interview, and that it will remain instantly recognisable as a Defender without resorting to too many retro cues.

Both a soft-top and four-door options will be offered, and power will come courtesy of JLR’s four-cylinder Ingenium petrol and diesel engines. The company kicked off production of its new Ingenium engines and Transcend transmissions last September as part of its ongoing huge investment into new technology.

The most promising news of all is that the new Defender will be "sold in all global markets," says Automotive News, including North America. Only a handful of Defenders were imported into the massive U.S. market between 1993 and 1997, making them hard to come by: the new model will change that.

The new Defender won't be built in Britain, though, as all JLR facilities are currently running at capacity. Instead, it is likely to be built at JLR’s new Nitra, Slovakia manufacturing plant.

Source: Automotive News

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