2020 Defender Spy Shots....

Silmarillion

Observer
It's a dying art that people don't understand because they've never done it...like driving a stick shift! I miss it so much. I think it creates a similar connection with the vehicle that you are describing when offloading in an old mechanical vehicle. I've taken my LR3 off road a few times, got it stuck and had to dig it out a week later once! The experiences were thrilling, even with the "point and shoot" experience of the LR3.
 
I've been waiting a long time (like many) to see the new Defender. Just seems so low to the ground in these spy shots....and we know there isn't much that can be done to boost that suspension. I think the new LR5 looks really slick and hear it is great on some trails, but the tinkerer in me sees a vehicle that can't be played with. Bummer....fingers crossed we are pleasantly surprised! 😁
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
Scratch off the word "Defender" and replace with "LR5" and this thing starts making a bit more sense. Seems like every 10 years, Jaguar and Land Rover (and even before they were JLR) tried to self destruct. I hope they can pull off another upswing...again.
 

J!m

Active member
@jeepcolorado sounds like you won’t be happy with it. Levers replaced by buttons... but those buttons actuate mechanical stuff, IF you are deemed worthy to do so by big brother. And it doesn’t fail.

I’m not even a huge fan of the “sideways slide” diff lock on my Defender. I liked the assortment of brightly colored knobs adorning my floorboards in my Series.

I get it- time marches on. Another thread notes an all electric that goes 400 miles before needing a charge! Great! Not too many nuclear reactors out in the woods! (Other than the Alien ones of course, but they run higher voltage than us)

So, it might be the beginning of the end of Land-Rover. And I think the current upper management treat their tenure as “a job” rather than “caretaker” of a legendary brand. They’ll just find “another job” when they shutter the place and not think twice about it; whereas the second or third generation laborers out on the floor will certainly be affected to a much greater and deeper extent.

They need to get it together there.

I hope I’m wrong and be at the head of the line for the new Defender. But to quote my hero Han Solo: “I have a bad feeling about this.”
 

Thorsten

New member
I'm using the WK2 as much as I can considering it has no lift and basically all-terrain tires on 20" wheels. I've actually been very impressed- it's rear locker- Quadra-Drive 2 transfer case and front traction control have not done bad at all in the Colorado back-country. Normally I'd dismiss all the electronic stuff, but the WK2 really has made me take a second look at these systems.
Put some KO2s on that thing and you will see what it can really do (y) 275/55/20 (32") is the max that will fit stock. I have one with with the Quadra Lift & Quadra-Drive 2 systems, the thing has been a tank and in ~65K miles all I have had to replace have been HID bulbs and some exhaust manifold bolts (5.7L Hemi). I also understand & share your feelings on driver engagement - I have a manual 6spd Gen1 Tacoma TRD Off-Road (factory rear locker) with 33s and the TRD Supercharger, which I will keep forever because it has never let me down and I appreciate the utilitarian joy of driving it on trails. Truthfully though, they are both fun to drive. The WK2 being unibody presents its own challenges on trails, being a bit more tippy and having less articulation -- but its traction system is amazing and it makes a great expedition rig. Of course I'd love if LR had taken a page from Jeep's book with the new Wrangler JL, but if the new Defender ends up being a more utilitarian and purist LR4 successor I'll still consider it for the future.
 

DieselRanger

Active member
There have been a few very vocal voices on here advocating for all the benefits of all the traction control tech and how time marches on etc... So I ask you- what do you think about this? Do you feel you are being further removed from the decision making, solving the puzzle of man and his/her machine overcoming the great challenge? Where would you draw the line? What if one day the Land Rover Defender is something you get to and punch in a GPS coordinate to the top of a mountain trail and it just takes you up there without you ever touching any controls- would you enjoy that? Is that even "off-roading"?
As one of the vocal people on one side of the issue, here's my take.

Much like older "analog" sports cars where the connection to the road is more visceral, more tactile, there is pleasure in being able to master the machine in the absence of any kind of aid - traction control, launch control, active suspension, anti-lock brakes...and with a manual transmission. To me this is epitomized by vehicles like the old air-cooled Porsche 911 (through the 1998 911 S) - it was rear-engined, rear-drive, fully manual, and if you didn't respect it then it was unforgiving. But master it, and there's scarcely a more rewarding vehicle to drive fast. Depending on how old one was you also had to understand how to choke it given your elevation, operating temp, etc. to keep as many of those horses running as possible - often by just listening to the engine and adjusting the choke between the seats. All of your senses were engaged. And fast was a relative term - a Civic Type R would blow the doors off a 1998 911 S on a mountain road, but that 1998 911 S feels fast as flaming hellballs when you drive it well. The pinnacle of modern sports cars are represented by vehicles such as McLarens, Ferraris, and yes, still Porsches - with extremely sophisticated computerized systems and aids that maximize the vehicle's capability while pushing the limits of what an "average" driver can do farther. And let's face it - it's *way* fun to drive really fast on the road, just like it's fun to conquer a 25-degree slope full of rock steps, mud, and loose babyheads. Even blunt instruments like the Dodge Demon are mind-bogglingly complex technical juggernauts compared to a 1960's equivalent.

The same applies to off-roading. In "analog" vehicles, *you* are the traction control, the transmission, the diff locker, etc. - and that's great. You have to know your vehicle and the terrain, and it takes different skills to solve off-roading problems in those vehicles. Nothing wrong with that. It's enjoyable, it's stimulating, mentally and physically. And if all you want to do is solve off-roading problems in the most analog manner possible, then more power to you - then old CJ's and Series I's with gobs of aftermarket mods are the tools to have - the more rare and beautiful the better. What technology does here is the same as for modern sports cars - it pushes the envelope of what a driver can do, without expensive and time-consuming modifications. I don't boulder my D5 because that would be absurd - I have no desire to add 40" of articulation on my D5 (if that was possible) because that's not why I offroad. I offroad to go and see places and to do other things, and so I want a vehicle that does the hardest things I will encounter in those endeavors with ease. I enjoy driving, but driving is not always the destination for me. To me, overlanding is equivalent to a "Grand Touring" vehicle - like an Aston Martin or a modern 911 Carrera 4S - something that is enjoyable and comfortable to drive far, in which and after which you will see beautiful things and have fun doing it; and while there are vehicles better suited to more specific purposes, there are few that are as well-suited to such a wide range of conditions. My D5 does that, and while you could modify an old 911 or even a modern Civic Type R to be as quick or well-handling as a 2019 911 Carrera 4S, the Carrera is just better at what it does off the lot. Same as my D5 - it's more capable, more comfortable, more efficient, and safer than anything that's come from Land Rover before it.

I also argue that the advances in technology on the design side, as well as investments in testing from Tata that are now bearing fruit, mean that newer Land Rovers will be (and have been shown to be) more reliable with higher initial quality than any generation before them, starting in about 2014 - the 2014 RRS (same platform and drivetrain as the D5) was rated more dependable after 3 years by JD Power than the Audi Q7 and the Acura MDX. So maybe they won't need to have engine swaps to eliminate cylinder liner failures or encounter other "named" problems such as "The Three Amigos" and so on. We can argue all day long about how well the electronic systems will hold up over time on a D5, but nothing will resolve that argument except time. And no Land Rover of any past generation of those being argued as better by others has ever had good reliability. Nor have they generally been used for their original purpose off the lot - according to TFL Truck, on average, the first time a Discovery of any of the first four generations has been off-road is on the third owner, after which time the vast majority of depreciation was absorbed.

As for autonomous driving - I don't like it, but I can see the application. What if you were able to get into your Land Rover Discovery 9 and punch in a GPS coordinate and it just drives you to the top of the mountain? Well...if I'm 85 years old, or maybe if I'm someone who has lost the use of my arms and legs, this may enrich my life in ways past generations of off-road machines can't. Or what if I'm injured in the backcountry, and I can't drive, and I need to get out? Maybe I can enable those features, and the vehicle will take me back to civilization. In fact, Land Rover, as the sponsor for the Invictus Games, has been prototyping mobility assistance for off-road driving for all of these purposes - there's a video but they've restricted access to it. The key for me is having an option to drive myself - just as in modern performance vehicles where you can disable traction control, launch control, etc, I should be able to disable autonomous driving features if so equipped.
 
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mpinco

Expedition Leader
The challenge for Land Rover and their product line is the commodification of the 4WD/AWD SUV with good enough off road performance. You have all seen the KIA's and Hyundai's forging water and climbing hills. Technology has normalized the capabilities to the masses, at least as far as they are concerned. Land Rover's McGovern 'design language' is different sizes of the same SUV with no entry point for the younger generation to 'build', thus no passion. Technology IS commodification.
 

DieselRanger

Active member
The challenge for Land Rover and their product line is the commodification of the 4WD/AWD SUV with good enough off road performance. You have all seen the KIA's and Hyundai's forging water and climbing hills. Technology has normalized the capabilities to the masses, at least as far as they are concerned. Land Rover's McGovern 'design language' is different sizes of the same SUV with no entry point for the younger generation to 'build', thus no passion. Technology IS commodification.
The Kia had to be modded (thanks to Jeep for exposing that minor little detail), and the Hyundai got stuck in the sand at a press event. But, I will agree that soft-roaders like Subarus are all 90%+ of "outdoorsy" people need to get to the trailhead or glamping spot. I took my old manual AWD turbo 4-banger Outback places it really had no business going, and it actually did fine.

And despite 200K+ sales in the US alone, the vast majority of Wranglers never see a dirt road, never mind the Rubicon Trail. If Land Rover has to sell 200,000 units a year in the US to people such as those who frequent these forums to stay solvent, then sorry, they are going to go out of business, because there aren't that many people this interested in driving off-pavement, no matter what their Facebook says. It's never been a big market segment. Then add on top meeting regulatory requirements for pedestrian impacts, collision safety, fuel economy, and emissions in the US, EU, and China, and it's even harder to fill that shrinking niche with a world-car platform, which is the only economical way to mass produce vehicles. No, just like every other "true off-road" SUV sold, the vast majority will never see dirt - until they've changed hands once or twice.

The 1997 Defender 90 Hardtop, the last one offered in the US, cost $30,000 new in an average configuration. In 2019 dollars, that's about $47,000, and that was almost double the cost of an equivalent Jeep Wrangler Sahara of its day and almost double the average new car price. Fewer than 500 Defenders were sold in its last year in the US. A new Disco II in 1999 averaged close to $40,000 new after tax and title - that's equivalent to about $60,000 today. The last time a Land Rover was an entry level vehicle was probably the 1970s.

But if "commoditization" of off-road capability by technology insertion means I can buy a vehicle that's light-years more capable than 99% of the other buyers will ever need, and more capable than probably 99.9% of all other SUVs on the road, I'm OK with that, because I'll use it as it was intended. The Wrangler drives like sh*t on the road anyway.
 

DiscoDavis

Explorer
The 1997 Defender 90 Hardtop, the last one offered in the US, cost $30,000 new in an average configuration. In 2019 dollars, that's about $47,000, and that was almost double the cost of an equivalent Jeep Wrangler Sahara of its day and almost double the average new car price. Fewer than 500 Defenders were sold in its last year in the US. A new Disco II in 1999 averaged close to $40,000 new after tax and title - that's equivalent to about $60,000 today. The last time a Land Rover was an entry level vehicle was probably the 1970s.

But if "commoditization" of off-road capability by technology insertion means I can buy a vehicle that's light-years more capable than 99% of the other buyers will ever need, and more capable than probably 99.9% of all other SUVs on the road, I'm OK with that, because I'll use it as it was intended. The Wrangler drives like sh*t on the road anyway.
They presented themselves that way to the market. Nobody stuck a gun to LR's head and forced them to sell upmarket variants with leather interiors, air suspension models, automatics only for the most part, and thirsty V8's. They made a conscious choice to attack that segment and were both successful and unsuccessful. Their higher pricing models only got worse.

Even to Discovery 4 and Discovery 5, ZA market for example can have cloth seats, no sunroof, coil suspension, and stripped interior.

And LR will complain about sales in America because they are exclusively focused on the higher end of the market.
 

mpinco

Expedition Leader
.........A new Disco II in 1999 averaged close to $40,000 new after tax and title - that's equivalent to about $60,000 today. The last time a Land Rover was an entry level vehicle was probably the 1970s.

But if "commoditization" of off-road capability by technology insertion means I can buy a vehicle that's light-years more capable than 99% of the other buyers will ever need, and more capable than probably 99.9% of all other SUVs on the road, I'm OK with that, because I'll use it as it was intended. ...........
98 Discovery listed at $35K and the dealer negotiated from there.

Commoditization means all manufacturers have virtually the same technology or access to it such that you can no longer charge a higher price for the commodity. See recent Apple financial performance, phone prices and volumes for a good example of the effects of commoditization. The incremental improvements in the 'new' technology are of limited value to the consumer. Do you really need more pixels for your camera or more clarity on your screeen or another 'off-road' mode where you already have 5?

Overall automotive market is in decline for many reasons. High prices are one factor. In addition I also think the convergence of every manufacturer on CUV/SUV's is reaching a limit as they all virtually look the same (that includes Land Rover) and there are few degrees of difference. Everyone adds more technology that the buyers find of limited value. Commoditization! Walk into any cell phone store and you will see dozens of different 'models' but really there are only 2 different phones for sale - Apple and Android, with just different skins and apps. The CUV/SUV market is reaching that point.

Back to the top. The KIA changed tires and added a skidplate? O.....K, who doesn't change out factory tires? Hyundai stuck in sand? I recall the intro of the LR3 in Australia was stuck in mud and was criticized for being too heavy for the obstacle encountered.
 
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JackW

Explorer
My Land Rover 109" diesel station wagon cost $4595 new in 1966 (I have the original window sticker). It cost more than a 1966 Corvette and not much less than a Porsche 911. So Land Rovers have always been a more expensive vehicle and that is part of the mystique. When I first fell in love with them back in the early 1960's they were an exotic relic from far off places that were definitely something that was aspirational. Just like Porsches you had to really want one to get behind the wheel of one. I've owned nineteen Land Rovers over the last 47 years, looking forward to number 20.
 

mpinco

Expedition Leader
Follow up ......... I'm not anti-technology per-se

The use of information technology is now required and the latest rage in the automotive industry. What many in the automotive field may not realize is that technology commoditizes the product as they all converge on virtually the same offerings and capabilities. Differentiation is minimized, that is unless you overtly differentiate yourself. You would be surprised at how many consumers see AWD and 4WD as equal capabilities because a layer of software and fancy apps are layered on top of each. Sure the consumer is ignorant but until they encounter an obstacle that educates them their perceptions will not change.
 

DieselRanger

Active member
98 Discovery listed at $35K and the dealer negotiated from there.
OK, so you could negotiate down to ~$30,000 maybe at the end of the year depending on what incentives were on offer at the time. Then you add tax and title back on and you're back to $35,000+ depending on where you live. A Wrangler could be had for $17K and the bulletproof Cherokee XJ with the 4.0L inline 6 was around $20K MSRP...negotiated from there.

Entry level off-road vehicles have always been and will always be pre-owned Wranglers, Tacos, and 4Runners of pretty much any generation. Sadly the XJ's are endangered species.

Back to the top. The KIA changed tires and added a skidplate? O.....K, who doesn't change out factory tires? Hyundai stuck in sand? I recall the intro of the LR3 in Australia was stuck in mud and was criticized for being too heavy for the obstacle encountered.
They also disconnected the anti-roll bar on the Kia. Tires, sure. I replaced mine on my Disco after a couple months. But who makes a skid plate for a Kia? And who's going to add a skid plate to a Kia besides the Kia marketing department? What Kia buyer even knows what an anti-roll bar is, much less has the skill or tools to disconnect it? The D5 does all of Hell's Revenge on the factory 20" Goodyear street tires with its factory aluminum skid plate and no disconnected anything. Frankly if you wanted to you can drive slickrock on drag radials at drag pressures and you'd probably have better traction than AT's or MT's, so the fact that Kia mentioned in a tiny disclaimer that they put on AT's is kind of a head scratcher. I remember the LR3 PR failure, and I remember that criticism vividly. Hyundai and Kia could perhaps be expected to fail - who thinks of Hyundai as a company that makes rugged off-road vehicles? - but for LR to fail like that was embarassing.

Even to Discovery 4 and Discovery 5, ZA market for example can have cloth seats, no sunroof, coil suspension, and stripped interior. ... And LR will complain about sales in America because they are exclusively focused on the higher end of the market.
Yes, and they offer a commercial version in the UK with a flat load floor behind the front seats, and they offer a 2.0L turbodiesel four cylinder option, which is hilarious to most American drivers. There's no market for that or the stripper model you reference here in the US - not without cannibalizing sales of other models they do offer like the Disco Sport or creating a driving experience for the American consumer that is unpleasant. Since their sales are so low in many non-US/EU/China markets, a sale is a sale and they'll take what they can get, so they offer everything there for order. Audi, Volvo, and even Ford offer all kinds of configurations and options in other markets that we don't get here in the States. And then there are differences in how dealers operate - US auto dealers are basically a legal cartel.

Nevertheless, Land Rover has just posted a 15% increase in sales in North America - based in part on RRS and Discovery sales. Range Rover sales are up 100% over last year. Jaguar sedan sales are still cratering. The news about poor JLR sales causing layoffs isn't because they aren't building vehicles people want, it's because they went all in on China, and China is being hammered in the trade war with the US. European demand for diesels is down, and JLR went all in on diesels in Europe thinking they were going to fill a gap left open by VW, MB, and BMW losses from Dieselgate.

Commoditization means all manufacturers have virtually the same technology or access to it such that you can no longer charge a higher price for the commodity.
I would argue that commoditization only occurs in technologies that are not discriminators to begin with. For buyers of Subarus and Volvos and Kias and Hyundais, they wouldn't know what to do with multiple off-road modes that change throttle mapping, traction control thresholds, ABS function, and differential locking behavior because they'll only ever drive them on the hundred yards of graded gravel from the road to the trailhead and maybe splash through a mud puddle or two on the way. Land Rover's off-road technology is not commoditized in the least - it's still a discriminator for them, as it is for Jeep.
 
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mpinco

Expedition Leader
As part of being the owner of JLR, Ford integrated LR's traction control to their Ford Explorers. Multi-level AWD/4WD is being commoditized. Am I saying Fords is as capable as LR's? No but is it good enough? Probably. Kia and Hyundia will follow with their own.

In Colorado there are many DI/DII's that have been modified or even run stock off road. Yes, many more Jeeps. My point is what model LR could a younger generation afford? A $75K D5? Really? What LR price point / product introduces the younger generation to LR's? The Evoque? LOL.

LR's December 2018 sales did increase based on heavy marketing and discounting. Someone here noted the significant increase in adverts. From JLR's investor relations press release - "Land Rover retailed 35,995 vehicles in December, down 11.4% year-on-year as strong sales of the refreshed Range Rover and Range Rover Sport were more than offset by lower sales of more established models, primarily in China. " As someone noted the D5 sales are weak and declined. All auto sales are in decline. It has become a war of technology for CUV/SUV's. Good luck winning that war as technology is commoditized and really the buyer sees little difference in product. Apple CarPlay vs Android Auto? Ah, different skins and apps! Or not.

I see a entry level opportunity for a vehicle without technology. A product with a fully enabled after market that the buyer can use to mod/customize their vehicle.
 
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