We finally have evidence that Land Rover is hard at work on the next generation of Defender – the accompanying batch of spy photos show a prototype of the new vehicle testing in snowy conditions. This strange-looking Range Rover Sport is actually a test bed for the three-door Defender.

These shots don’t reveal much, but at least we can see the multi-link rear suspension layout and the wide trailing arms of the front axle. Interestingly, the mule has half of its rear doors, but it’s very unlikely that we'll see them in the final production vehicle.

What we know about the new Defender so far is that it will become the third pillar of the brand’s range and will be based on a modified version of the aluminium-intensive platform of the Range Rover and Discovery. The British manufacturer plans to release two wheelbase lengths, with two and four doors respectively, and a choice of hard or soft tops to satisfy every taste. 

Also check out:

2019 Land Rover Defender spy photo
2019 Land Rover Defender spy photo

According to preliminary details, the vehicle won’t have the classic off-road charisma of its predecessor, as the retro design will be replaced by a much more modern look. Land Rover wants the model to appeal to a more general audience and to achieve that it will install some of its latest all-terrain technology, but wants to make the SUV soft enough to be a good daily driver.

At this point, we don’t know much about the new Defender’s engine lineup, but we expect to see an array of petrol and diesel engines from Jaguar Land Rover's Ingenium family of motors. Rumours indicate the model will also receive a purely electric version with at least one electric motor and a high-capacity battery.

The revived off-roader is expected to make its debut during Land Rover’s 70th anniversary celebrations during the second half of 2018. Sales will start in 2019 and the new Defender will be offered on sale across the world.

Gallery: 2019 Land Rover Defender spy photos