New Land Rover Defender: the design

Production Cars 8 Oct 2019
New Land Rover Defender: the design

Presented at the last Frankfurt Motor Show, the new Defender reinterprets the iconic model with a modern design while maintaining the all-terrain capability and the tough, practical character.

While adopting an al-new, modern design language, the new Defender maintains the distinctive silhouette and proportions of the iconic original model, with minimal front and rear overhangs for optimum off-road capabilities, as well as the strong emphasis on horizontal lines.

New Land Rover Defender

Other trademark elements are the high sills and the externally mounted rear wheel.

Defender’s characterful front is defined as “tough but approachable”, and is characterized by the geometric forms of its technical headlamps which feature the latest adaptive technology, and by the sculptured fenders combined with squared wheel arches and strong shoulders which contribute to the vehicle’s sense of solidity and robustness.

New Land Rover Defender

New Land Rover Defender Headlight design detail

At the rear, the front end design is echoed by the geometric forms of the high-tech lamps.

New Land Rover Defender at the 2019 Frankfurt Show

The verticality of the rear surfaces maintains the short overhang for increased departure angle while maximizing interior space and accentuating the vehicle’s strong shoulder section.

New Land Rover Defender

New Land Rover Defender Tail Light design detail

The New Defender is available in 90 and 110 body designs, which share the same short overhangs, with six models available; Defender, S, SE, HSE, Defender X and First Edition, with practical commercial models set to join the line-up next year.

New Land Rover Defender

Customer will be also able to choose from a wide range of accessories, including four Accessory Packs; Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban.

New Land Rover Defender at the 2019 Frankfurt Show

The New Defender features a unique color palettes which are modular between interior and exterior given the body work exposed in the cabin.

The New Defender is also available with a factory-fitted Satin Protective Film which delivers enhanced design and durability.

New Land Rover Defender

On the X derivative, the gloss black inset contrast hood is standard along with Gloss Black claddings. To give further differentiation between the X and the Core vehicles, the front and rear skid pans and other detailed exterior parts are coated in a Starlight Satin finish.

The PU-based wrap is applied to external bodywork and gives the standard metallic paint a satin finish, showing the surfacing of the exterior design in the best possible light.

New Land Rover Defender

The film can be removed at any time, making it significantly quicker to repair than standard paint finishes. It is available with Indus Silver, Gondwana Stone and Pangea Green paint options, is solvent free and contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

New Land Rover Defender

A choice of 12 wheel designs is available, ranging from 18-inch white-painted pressed steel rims to 22-inch Luna alloys.

Interior Design

The Defender’s interior has a “constructivist modular  architecture”, which is designed to communicate its highly functional nature.

New Land Rover Defender Interior Design

This approach is most evident by the exposed, powder-coated magnesium cross car beam which is integral to the overall strength of the body architecture.


New Land Rover Defender Interior Design Dashboard detail

This structural die-cast magnesium alloy beam which is available in a range of finishes, features integrated grab handles to aid entry but also for a secure grip when the vehicle is performing serious off-road driving.

New Land Rover Defender Interior Design

The main controls, including the central touchscreen, are ergonomically clustered within the magnesium frame to enable the installation of an innovative optional front row center seat while also allowing for movement across the front of the cabin.

New Land Rover Defender Interior Design

The durable constructivist theme is consistent throughout the interior with visible fixings that retain the structural door casings while partially exposing the painted doors.


This pared-back design philosophy extends to the durable rubberised flooring which combines with flush door sills to provide genuine mop or brush clean functionality. Other details include; cast magnesium features, padded waist rails, grab handles and arm rests.

New Land Rover Defender Interior Design

The innovative Front Row Centre Seat (otherwise known as jump seat) allows three people to travel in the front row.

Conceived and designed as an occasional seat, the practical addition means the Defender 110 can be specified with five, six or 5+2 seating while the short-wheelbase Defender 90 can accommodate six occupants in a compact family hatchback length body.

When not in use, the seatback folds down to provide a front armrest and oddment stowage, including a pair of additional cupholders.

New Land Rover Defender Interior Design

Customers can choose from three interior colour schemes with scope for personalisation, available by mixing these with different interior finish options.

With a higher tensile tear strength than conventional materials as well as high breathability, wool naturally regulates the climate keeping you warm in the cold and cool in the heat. These fit-for-purpose materials promise to take off-road thrills and on-road spills in their stride.

Customers can also choose from a curated range of veneers and finishes, which include a rugged rough-cut Walnut or Natural Smoked Dark Oak Veneer, both of which are open pore to give a more natural haptic.

Powder coating colours available include Dark Grey for the ‘X’ derivative and Light Grey as standard on mainline Defender models, with the option of the product-inspired white for all the exposed metal parts.

The 90 commercial will be priced from £35,000 (plus VAT), the 90 will have an indicative price of £40,000 and the 110 will start at £45,240 in the UK.

Designers’ statements

New Land Rover Defender

Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover, said: “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 4×4 that wears its design and engineering integrity with uncompromised commitment.”

“This is our vision of a modern Defender. The clean body side contrasts dramatically against the sheer verticality of its front and particularly its rear to create a reassuringly purposeful stance. The overall impression is of an elemental design, yet this clean reductive approach is underpinned by sophisticated surfacing of the highest quality.”

“The New Defender family of vehicles with multiple characters, including commercial derivatives, are all emotionally engaging with modern, relevant design at their core.”

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.”

Alan Sheppard, Director, Interior Design, Land Rover, said: “Within, we strived to harness Defender’s profound spirit of boundless adventure. A comfortable interior which is at once impeccably handsome for the discerning, shrewd in functionality and prudently qualified in anticipation of any adversity.”

Amy Frascella, Director, Colour and Materials, Land Rover, said: “Essentially a tool – obtaining this balance of tactility, softness and durability was key to create a modern premium aesthetic for both the interior and exterior materials. We have enabled innovation of materials by creating new approaches to development, challenging conventions of traditional methods of make and modifying existing technologies.”

(Source: Land Rover)

Image Gallery

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