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As the New Defender 90 reaches Australian shores, it’s the iconic design that demands our attention and ensures it stands out from the crowd. The task of reimagining a classic model for the 21st century was in the hands of Professor Gerry McGovern OBE and his team. Gear Patrol website talked to McGovern to learn about his vision for the New Defender and how his team were able to conceptualise a luxury vehicle like no other.

 

A number of concept vehicles were created over the years to generate interest and start a conversation as to what a new Defender could be, and McGovern found them useful in demonstrating what they shouldn’t be doing when updating a legendary vehicle. Going through these exercises enabled the team to find a balance of modernity while acknowledging the Defender’s unique heritage.

A DESIGN-FIRST APPROACH

McGovern was aware there was a great deal of anticipation around the New Defender, but he notes that at Land Rover they have developed a culture that puts design at the centre of the business. “The brand did have a very strong engineering background. And one of the things I was very focused on was, how can we put design at the core of this brand that would enable it to flourish as a consequence?...And I think once there was that recognition - that design and engineering could coexist and create a balance that enabled you to create products that are truly compelling, and have that emotional connection with the consumer - you’ll be far more successful.”

When asked if there was pressure on him to make the vehicle more retrospective, McGovern said nobody put him under pressure, noting, “And that’s a great thing... if you want design to succeed, then let it, and not try to compromise it. And I think that’s been quite pivotal.” In fact, he thinks looking back too much is the kiss of death, showing you haven’t got any new ideas for the future. Recognising your roots and authenticity is important, and a car that was created 60 or 70 years ago was right for its time, but things have moved on. Advances in manufacturing techniques, technology and safety should all be embraced.

Ultimately, McGovern says, it’s about designing a product that is thoroughly modern, contemporary and relevant. It needs to stand up in its own right and be equally desirable to traditionalists and people who don’t even know what Defender is. Looking at the New Defender, it’s safe to say McGovern and his team have achieved their aims and exceeded expectations.

© JAGUAR LAND ROVER LIMITED 2021

Jaguar Land Rover Limited: Registered office: Abbey Road, Whitley, Coventry CV3 4LF. Registered in England No: 1672070

Smart settings available from mid-2021.

Important note on imagery & specification. We are living through exceptional times. Due to the Covid pandemic we have been prevented or delayed in the creation of new images of current model years. Now the global impact of micro-chip shortages is further affecting build specifications, options and launch timings. Until this unique event settles, please note that many images cannot be updated to 22 model year specifications. Features, options, trim and colour schemes will differ from many images. Customers are urged to consult your local Retailer for detailed 22 model year specifications and do not base an order on marketing imagery and specification alone.

Jaguar Land Rover Limited is constantly seeking ways to improve the specification, design and production of its vehicles, parts and accessories and alterations take place continually, and we reserve the right to change without notice. Some features may vary between optional and standard for different model years. The information, specification, engines and colours on this website are based on European specification and may vary from market to market and are subject to change without notice. Some vehicles are shown with optional equipment and retailer-fit accessories that may not be available in all markets. Please contact your local retailer for local availability and prices.

‡‡Price shown is the manufacturers recommended drive-away prices (MRDP) which applies to the vehicle model and optional features selected in the vehicle configurator and as described in the configuration summary. The MRDP is an estimated price which includes the manufacturer's recommended list price, any associated registration fees, applicable taxes (including GST), levies and CTP insurances at the time of publishing in accordance with the applicable state / territory legislation where the Retailer is located for a 12 month period. The MRDP may vary as a result of differences in price components such as location, stamp duty or registration fees. CTP rate is based on a private owner aged 40 with 0 demerit points, no accidents or driving convictions and the vehicle being garaged in the postcode entered. Some information presented or used in the MRDP calculation is sourced from third parties. Jaguar Land Rover Australia has made every effort to ensure accuracy, however please contact your preferred Jaguar Land Rover Retailer to confirm your actual drive-away price which may vary according to your individual circumstances, including any trade-in value agreed between you and the Retailer. Excludes fleet, government, rental buyers, hire car and chauffeur companies.