Ready for the Comeback of the Land Rover Defender?

Land Rover's trio of Defender limited editions

We were just showering the Jeep Wrangler with some love and touting its prowess for being one of the best go-anywhere vehicles money can buy.

Well, reasonable money, anyway.

Yesterday came news that another legendary rig would invade the shores of the United States and give the Wrangler some serious opposition. Could this new challenger make the aging Jeep look like a Tonka toy lost in a sand dune?

The Wrangler should sleep with one headlight on, because the all-new Land Rover Defender could swoop in and destroy it.

Here’s what Automobile Magazine said:

Land Rover is ending production of its covetable, eminently capable, rugged-but-beautiful Defender next summer now that EU authorities have black-flagged the legendary SUV for failing to meet pending emissions, crash, and pedestrian-safety standards. A replacement Defender, code-named L663, will come in 2018, just in time for the SUV’s 70th anniversary. And even better, it’s coming back to the U.S.

The original Defender has remained mostly unchanged since, get this, 1948. It’s a tank of a car, almost literally, because it’s built on a ladder frame from tank-grade iron. As you can imagine, it isn’t exactly friendly for fuel economy. The new Defender will be just as off-road capable, at least in theory, but hold up to modern fuel-efficiency and emissions standards.

If you’re desperate to get your hands on an older Defender, search the used listings and pony up, because they tend to sell for upward of $35,000.

We won’t see the new rig until 2018, but it should be worth the wait. Trim levels should include a 2-door short-wheelbase with a metal top, a 2-door short-wheelbase with a soft top, a 4-door long-wheelbase with a metal top, a 2-door short-wheelbase pickup, and a 4-door long-wheelbase pickup. Engine choices could include a couple of diesel options, a couple of gas 4-cylinders, and a more powerful V6 option.

As far as off-roaders go, it’ll be hard to beat the new Defender. The Wrangler currently boasts the best off-road credentials on the market, but we can be pretty sure it’ll have some serious competition in the coming years.

What’s your favorite off-roading vehicle?

-tgriffith

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Used Jeep Wrangler
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