Land Rover has released new images of its upcoming Defender model in action in Kenya.
The lightly camouflaged prototype was given to Land Rover’s partner the Tusk Trust as part of the all-new model’s testing and the new images show it being put to use across the trust’s 14,000-hectare reserve.
Callbacks to classic design
In the images, the new Defender’s shape can be clearly seen, deliberately mimicking the lines of the iconic original.
The simple squared off bodywork with flared wheel arches clearly follows the original’s instantly recognisable lines, as does the presence of an integrated snorkel, although the lightly disguised front end carries echoes of the recent Discovery.
At the rear, tiny LED taillights also call back to the miniscule units on the old Defender, as does the spare wheel mounted on the rear door.
The prototype Defender was given to the Tusk Trust to use at its Borana Conservancy as part of its lion conservation programme.
At the hands of its staff it covered an average of 100km a day across the varied terrain of the Kenyan reserve, tracking radio collared lions and transporting supplies.
Nick Collins, engineering vehicle line director for Jaguar Land Rover, said: “‘We are now in the advanced stages of the new Defender’s testing and development phase. Working with our partners at Tusk in Kenya enabled us to gather valuable performance data. The Borana reserve features a wide range of challenging environments, making it a perfect place to test to the extreme the all-terrain attributes of the new Defender.”
Charles Mayhew MBE, chief executive of the Tusk Trust said: “This year marks Tusk’s Year of the Lion. Our aim is to raise awareness of the alarming decline in lion populations across Africa. Fortunately, within the Borana Conservancy, there are a number of prides of lion and tracking and monitoring their movements across this vast and tough environment is vital in order to protect them and reduce any conflict with neighbouring communities.The new Defender took everything in its stride, from deep river wading to climbing rocky trails.”
On sale date
The new Land Rover Defender is due to be fully unveiled later this year before customer deliveries begin in early 2020.
Technical details ares still thin on the ground but Land Rover insist it will be the “toughest and most capable Land Rover ever made.
It is expected to copy its predecessor with short and long-wheelbase models that will also act as the basis for a variety of more specialised vehicles.
It will fit between the Discovery Sport and Discovery models in the Land Rover line-up, with prices rumoured to start at around £45,000.