The latest iteration of the Land Rover Defender is a very radical overhaul from what we have seen in past iterations. Once known for being a rugged billy goat of an SUV that was designed to cross scorching hot deserts and ford even the wildest of rivers, the new one has taken a much more serious focus on being more livable for consumers. This includes sacrificing some of its rugged attributes and being a softer offering to help it appeal to a wider range of customers. But don’t expect this same transformation to occur with the Jeep Wrangler according to remarks stated by Jeep Global Design boss Mark Allen during a recent interview with the Australian publication Cars Guide.
During the interview, Allen was asked about the chances of a softer more toned down Wrangler happening in the future, and he summed it up in a brief statement revealing “It could…but we’re probably not going to.” Allen elaborated on this further explaining that “The Wrangler is really protected inside the brand. We made the car more efficient and also held on to what we love about it. We can almost get whatever we want [in regards to the design].”We get Allen’s sentiment here, with the two models sharing relatively similar missions in life and a rivalry overseas that is legendary. However, the ability to remove the roof and doors from the Wrangler (something that the upcoming Defender sacrificed) has indeed allowed it to be much closer to that original Defender model.
But Allen also understands that consumer desires can rapidly change with time, with Allen citing the addition of a four door Wrangler model as an example of this in action (it originally started life as a two door only offering.) Allen also revealed in the interview that he does not see the core purpose of the Wrangler changing either revealing “Maybe Wrangler stays and something else comes in. I don’t know, we do alot of war games” he revealed to Cars Guide.
As for what is next for the Wrangler, a recent flurry of rumors suggest that it could follow the lead of the Gladiator, and gain a desert rated Mojave trim to allow it to appeal to desert minded clientele. For those that need a brief recap, the Mojave would bring a number of off-road upgrades to the Wrangler to improve its ability to navigate sandy terrain, with stronger axles, a reworked frame, and other components all lending a hand in this effort. Jeep has not formally confirmed whether this plan is indeed happening, but considering that Jeep executives in the past revealed their commitment to expanding the desert rated model family, we would not be shocked if it eventually appears.
As for Land Rover, the British company is not resting on its laurels either, and is already hard at work developing Defender variants. One of these appears to be a V8 powered version that could be a performance tuned flagship. This model has been spotted in development by spy photographers, and would mark a very radical shift for the Defender, which has never been known for offering a true street focused performance offering during its iconic history. Expect production of this particular variant (whenever it arrives) to be very limited to match its currently unknown levels of performance.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.