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Farewell Freelander, Defender?

2014-03-13 08:13

BABY DISCO SPOTTED: Spy photographers captured images of a “Baby Discovery”, set to replace the Freelander, undergoing testing. Image: Automedia

Land Rover is in the midst of a major brand shake-up. Some will love it - off-roading diehards will probably hate it.

Land Rover’s global brand director John Edwards said the automaker’s future range would be based on “three iconic brands - Range Rover, Discovery and Defender”.

Each of those models could be a sub-brand in its own right as demonstrated by Range Rover.

IMAGE GALLEY: 2014 Land Rover 'Baby Discovery RS'

The all-new replacement for the Land Rover Freelander will become a member of an extended Discovery family, according to the automaker. The new model, based on the Evoque, is expected to be launched in 2015.

The Freelander badge will be dropped as it becomes an extension of the Discovery.

The decision to create a family of Disco models is largely based on clearing up some brand confusion as Range Rover is a well established brand. Currently the automaker sells three families of vehicles (Freelander, Discovery, Defender).


The Range Rover family (Range Rover and Range Rover Sport) has expanded with the highly successful Evoque. According to Autocar, a new addition to the Range Rover line-up, the ‘Evoque XL’,  is intended to fill the gap between the Evoque and the Range Rover Sport.

The Discovery replacement will be used as a flagship to create a new family of 4x4 vehicles. Our spy photographers captured images of a “baby Discovery” undergoing testing.

The new Discovery range will be topped by two flagship models based on the Range Rover’s all-aluminium architecture.

The new Discos will be powered by the automaker’s new AJ-200 range of four-cylinder engines, including a supercharged petrol.


Due to government and safety regulations, the venerable Defender line will be chopped. Land Rover announced it will cease production of its iconic 4x4 in 2015.

Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern said: "Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide."

According to the automaker: "Defender production in its current format will stop at the end of 2015. A replacement will join the Land Rover model range but we have  announced neither the name nor details of the new product.

"The Defender in its current format is coming to an end and we are looking at options."

A "family" of Defenders is being prepared reportedly set to include a sporty beach-buggy.


“Why throw all that intellectual property away…” Wheels24 reader Rod Bowes suggest that Land Rover continues to build its Defender, though on a limited scale.


“As a Defender-lover, I accept that it’s inevitable that production of the current design has to end,” writes reader DANIE GOUWS, about Land Rover’s iconic 4x4.

Do you think there are some things that just shouldn't be touched, anchors in motoring history, such as Defender. Let's have your views by email or in the Readers' Comments section below.
Read more on:    land rover  |  range rover  |  evoque  |  discovery  |  new models  |  4x4  |  off-road

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