(MAHWAH, N.J.) – April 20, 2021 – The Land Rover Defender has been named 2021 World Car Design of the Year at the annual World Car Awards. It’s the third time Land Rover has claimed the coveted prize following previous wins for the Range Rover Velar (2018) and the Range Rover Evoque (2012) and is the latest in a number of global awards for the rugged 4x4.
The new Defender remains true to the pioneering spirit that has been a Land Rover hallmark for more than 70 years and redefines adventure for the 21st century. Iconic in name, shape and capability, it is available in a choice of body designs and can be personalized with a choice of four Accessory Packs to help owners make more of their world.
The World Car Design of the Year prize recognizes the most outstanding new car of the last 12 months and rewards vehicles demonstrating the highest standards of technical innovation and design and that push established boundaries.
Prof. Gerry McGovern OBE, Chief Creative Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, said, “New Defender is influenced by its past but is not constrained by it and we are delighted it has been honored with this award. Our vision was to create a 21st century Defender by pushing the boundaries of engineering, technology and design while retaining its renowned DNA and off-road capability. The result is a compelling 4x4 that resonates with customers on an emotional level.”
This year, all the contenders competing in the other four award categories were eligible for the World Car Design of the Year prize. A panel of seven automotive design experts reviewed the contenders to establish a shortlist of recommendations for the jurors’ final vote, made by the 93 international journalists that comprise the jury panel.
The design experts included Gernot Bracht (Germany – Pforzheim Design School), Ian Callum (United Kingdom – Director of Design, CALLUM), Gert Hildebrand (Germany – Owner Hildebrand-Design), Patrick le Quément (France – Designer and President of the Strategy Committee – The Sustainable Design School), Tom Matano (USA – Academy of Art University, Former Head of Design – Mazda), Victor Nacif (USA – Chief Creative Officer, Brojure.com and Design instructor, New School of Architecture and Design) and Shiro Nakamura (Japan – CEO, Shiro Nakamura Design Associates Inc.).
A distinctive silhouette makes the new Defender instantly recognizable, with minimal front and rear overhangs providing excellent approach and departure angles. The designers at Land Rover reenvisioned familiar Defender trademarks, giving the 4x4 a purposeful upright stance and Alpine light windows in the roof, while retaining the side-hinged rear tailgate and externally-mounted spare wheel that make the original so identifiable.
The stripped-back personality of the original Defender has been embraced inside, where structural elements and fixings usually hidden from view have been exposed, with the emphasis on simplicity and practicality. The Defender 110 offers 5, 6 or 5+2 seating configurations, while the 90 is capable of accommodating six occupants in a vehicle the length of a compact family hatchback.
The breadth of capability seen from the Defender raises the threshold for off-road ruggedness and on-road comfort. Underpinned by the Land Rover brand’s strong D7x aluminum platform—the brand’s most rigid ever body structure—advanced all-terrain technologies and state-of-the-art powertrains deliver incredible capability. Its carefully honed handling delivers a rewarding drive and first-class comfort across many terrains.
The Defender family now encompasses the Defender 90 and the Defender 110. Since its launch, the Defender has won more than 50 global accolades, including Top Gear’s 2020 Car of the Year, MotorTrend’s 2021 SUV of the Year and Autocar’s Best SUV 2020.