All New Land Rover Defender 2020—Is the best yet to come?

Will Land Rover Defender 2020 be a better or bitter reveal? Find out why Paul Shkut, Defender parts and accessories innovator, is optimistic about the return of the Defender.

When Land Rover officially announced in December 2018 that the brand-new Defender would make its début appearance this year, thousands of hard-core Defender fans like me were thrilled!

After all, it has been nearly 23 years since the last Defender was up for sale (in the US) and we are immensely curious and excited to find out what the revolutionary new generation Land Rover Defender will be like. Will it live up to our expectations or will the long wait have been in vain?

Prototypes of the machine have already been spotted on public roads, but these heavily camouflaged vehicles reveal very little about the actual design. At this stage, we can only speculate about how it will turn out to be.

But you know what—I have this gut feeling that the Land Rover Defender 2020 will be a fantastic vehicle and that they will get the exterior design just “right.” Let me tell you why. 

Remember the DC100 concept vehicle that was showcased at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor show? 

As a Defender faithful and more importantly, someone who has been dealing with Land Rover Defender parts and accessories for years, my expectations of this vehicle were huge. However, I was terribly disappointed when I saw it. 

Although compact and modern, it lacked the characteristic personality of the imposing Defender. So, when I attended the Land Rover press event on the beach in Santa Monica, CA, I took the opportunity to express my opinions about this vehicle to a marketing representative.

Imagine my relief when he assured me that the New Land Rover Defender would look nothing like it.

Brushing my concerns aside, he said it was just the company’s idea to make us think the DC100 held strong clues and trigger excitement and intrigue about the return of the iconic Defender.

Well, the strategy certainly worked, as disappointed Defender fans flooded the Internet with negative feedback and reviews.

After that first instance, my belief was further reinforced by none other than the very man in charge of returning the Defender to the marketplace, Land Rover Design Director—Garry Mc Govern himself.

It was in 2012, during the press launch of the all-new 2013 Range Rover at the LA Auto show that I met him. Soon after his presentation, I walked up to him and casually asked, “No DC-100 at the show this year?” 

He politely replied, “No, not this year.” 

On hearing this, I casually (and with the least bit of sincerity) commented, “Well, it looks fantastic!” 

He said “Thanks!”

As I slowly walked away, I caught a clear glimpse of Mr. McGovern looking at his colleague with disbelief and rolling his eyes, as if to say, “What an idiot!” 

That expression sealed the deal for me; I am confident all will be well.

Of course, the New Land Rover Defender will be a modern, more refined and technically sound version of the original machine. But having seen the incredible innovations and capabilities of their flagship Range Rover, I am pretty sure that the Defender will also be quite impressive. 

But how will it compare with the classic Defender? 

The classic Defender, with its loud, noisy, drafty, uncomfortable and rugged finish had unbeatable charm….and we loved them for it. It made us believe that our Defenders have a soul! 

So, will the Land Rover Defender 2020 have a soul? 

Most likely not! 

Like Joe Walsh of the Eagles once said of modern pop music, “There’s no mojo!” The new Defender may lack that mojo, but I think that the new benefits will compensate for it. 

For starters, we can expect superior technology, comfort, fuel economy and excellent safety features. Land Rover has even promised that this relevant and compelling vehicle will have a suite of the latest driver assistance and connectivity features. It may not be military ready, but it will still be tough-as-nails with surprising innovations. 

To be honest, I would like it to be more comfortable, especially on longer journeys. Although I will always enjoy the straightforwardness and rugged utility of the classic Defender that is the very essence of its identity, I am equally eager to accept new and improved changes. 

Yes, I really think I am ready for the new Defender.

It is not that I do not respect the sentiments of those who don’t want things to change. But if the change is for better, doesn’t it make sense to accept it? 

This in fact, reminds me of the time when people in Canada went berserk when the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team decided to leave the legendary Maple Leaf Gardens Arena for a new, modern venue. 

At the time, I too had many fond memories of Rush concerts and classic games held at the old place. But, if you think objectively, the existing venue was just a drafty old barn with incredibly uncomfortable seating. So, it just made sense to keep those memories, but move on.

Similarly, we now have the classic Defender—a car with spunk and appeal that “everybody loves” but hardly anybody buys. 

Did you know that Land Rover sold just 25,000 units a year in its waning years when compared to Jeep Wrangler that was selling 150,000 units a year in the US alone? 

So, I am just stating the obvious; it is time to move on.

Which brings us to the test mule that is surprisingly gathering negative reviews.  I don’t understand how anyone could possibly judge what the body underneath would look, from these images. It has clearly been covered with faux panels and a faux hood before being wrapped in black and white camo-wrap. 

I, for one, believe that this intriguing test vehicle that keeps us guessing, is yet another clever advertisement strategy by Land Rover to attract attention to the upcoming launch. 

And guess what - we are all talking about and discussing this “double-camouflaged” vehicle; and once again Land Rover seems to have succeeded at building anticipation and suspense for the final, dramatic reveal. 

So, there it is. The old Defender that stayed true to its original design for over 33 years will always be prized and recognized as a legendary icon. But, what we are about to witness is a milestone; 70 years of innovation and improvement in a revolutionary new Land Rover Defender. 

The classic Defender will always be as good as gold and it is not going anywhere.

So let us be a part of this moment and prepare ourselves with enthusiasm, by opening our minds to the 2020 New Defender this year.  

Land Rover Parts and Accessories
Land Rover DC100 Concept got the Defender die-hards talking; Just like Land Rover wanted

Long live the Defender. 


First Impressions of the Land Rover® Defender—A Trip Down Memory Lane

1994 Land Rover® Defender 90 NAS in Portofino Red
1994 Land Rover® Defender 90 NAS in Portofino Red

I recently came across this quote by actress Alexandra Paul— “The cars we drive say a lot about us.

As the proud owner of a Land Rover®Defender, I cannot but think how accurately it applies to this incredible vehicle!

The Defender, with its rugged boxy finish and tough build, is not for the faint-hearted. Instead, this powerful machine with its no-nonsense straightforwardness has what it takes to unleash the desire for adventure in the mind of an unsuspecting onlooker.

Its distinctive styling, admirable strength and amazing hardiness puts you into a class of your own; one that commands attention and inspires respect. 

Of the countless times I’ve ventured into less travelled paths in search for adventure, the legendary Defender has never disappointed. It is a vehicle that never ceases to amaze me with its phenomenal off-road capabilities to navigate the toughest terrains. This sturdy, trustworthy aide has obstinately overcome big and small hurdles, ensuring thrilling experiences on every ride.  

My fascination for Land Rover Defenders began long before I became the owner of one. This may of course, have to do with my inherent passion for adventure and new experiences, born from my childhood experiences. 

When I look back to the past, I remember how we had to move every few years to keep up with my father’s management career in the Canadian steel industry. By the time I was seven years old, we had already lived in Calgary AB, Vancouver BC, Edmonton AB, Winnipeg MB and Toronto ON. 

Most people may find this idea of relocating and starting over from scratch rather tiresome. However, I prefer to look at the bright side as these experiences equipped me with the skills to effortlessly adjust to change. As a result, I have always felt at home “anywhere and nowhere” at the same time. 

As I learned to embrace the challenges that accompanied every move, I also started to look forward to the new experiences it brought forth. This is perhaps why I am constantly drawn to new places in search of fresh adventures. 

Even as a young boy, I always had an affinity for the outdoors and spent most of my time camping, hiking and mountain biking in Southern Ontario in Canada. My fondness for outdoor activities grew with me and it wasn’t long before I discovered the thrill of off-road adventures in my 1988 Jeep Cherokee XJ. Although rather unreliable, the tough, sturdy Jeep served me well on my many escapades and I became an expert at handling it. 

Being an ardent vehicle-lover, I was also curious about ways to improve the appearance and performance of adventure vehicles. So, I would often tinker with vehicle parts and indulge in various DIY activities to customize my Jeep Cherokee. 

Little did I know that years later, this very passion would inspire me to start Garrison Outfitters—where I would successfully enhance the experiences of other passionate adventure-vehicle owners, by introducing them to top-class, reliable and functional Land Rover® Defender parts and accessories. 

In the summer of ’94, it was one such customization project that led me to the biggest and best discovery of my life—the legendary Land Rover®Defender! 

I clearly remember my first encounter with this fantastic machine. For some reason, I was under the impression that my ’88 Jeep Cherokee was lacking clean headlights. So, I decided to install headlamp washers from a Series I Discovery and visited a Land Rover®dealership to find the parts I needed. 

It didn’t take me too long to complete the task. I quickly rigged up separate pumps, hoses and check-valves for each light. After completing my purchase, I had time to spare and thought it would be a good idea to browse the dealership.

I was wandering aimlessly, but just as I turned the corner something caught my eye. 

I was awestruck by the vision in front of me—a majestic 1994 Portofino Red Defender 90 in all its glory!

I held my breath as I took in the magnificence of this awe-inspiring vehicle. The attraction was instant, almost magnetic! I simply couldn’t take my eyes off it.

It seemed to beckon me invitingly and I didn’t think twice about what I was about to do. Before I knew it, I had hauled myself into the vehicle. 

Excitement flooded my mind and body as I slowly settled into the driver’s seat and tightly gripped the steering wheel. Infected with the sense of adventure and heedless of the consequences of my action, I simply lost myself in the thrill of the moment. 

And I just sat there, blissfully unaware of all that went on around me; my thoughts racing through images of long, exhilarating rides with this iconic beast through perilous, undiscovered territory. 

At that moment, I knew that my life would never be the same. I was hooked on the Defender!

It was a milestone event that changed my life completely. 

From that day forth, all that I could think of was owning this fantastic vehicle. It was more than just a dream and I focused all my efforts on making it happen. I kept returning to the dealership at every possible opportunity, to visit the Defender that would someday become a member of my family. 

As my interest in the Defender grew, I started collecting all the catalogs I could get my hands on and treasured them like collectors’ items. I remember spending hours poring over them and learning the intricate details of this vehicle. Never had I come across a vehicle with such character. I was hopelessly obsessed with its unparalleled and timeless appeal. 

It took me many years to finally own a Defender. Nonetheless, I instinctively knew on the very first day I saw this vehicle, that I had finally discovered a trustworthy, infallible companion that would fuel my sense of adventure and serve me well in all my quests. And I was right. Today, I will confidently say that buying a Defender was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I have ever made!

<Happy Rovering!>
Paul Shkut - Garrison Outfitters

Land Rover Defender NAS Catalogs from '94 and '95
Land Rover Defender NAS Catalogs from '94 and '95