The new Jeep Wrangler is the talk of the town these days after launching its latest generation at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and it’s a very good example of how you can take a traditional design and make it work in this modern technological world we’re in.

Jeep focused on the visual elements that give the Wrangler SUV its special identity, the things that matter the most to its customers, and kept them, occasionally giving them a more modern twist. But the overall package, even when looked at from a distance, is immediately recognizable.

Land Rover has (well, had) a similar model in its range in the Defender. It was a rugged, no-nonsense off-roader that sacrificed comfort for rugged terrain abilities. Its boxy design was just as iconic as the Wrangler’s rounded headlights and trapezoidal hood, but the British manufacturer decided to put an end to its production a while ago.

Talks of a revival had started the moment the production end was announced, but up to this point, the company has made very few official statements about Defender’s successor. Well, even though it’s not much, we now have something more from the Land Rover creative director, Gerry McGovern, speaking to Australian press at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The sad truth is that as loved as it was by its owners, the Defender was not a sales success. The company delivered just over two millions of them over 69 years, with the Range Rover Evoque managing a third of that in a tenth of the time. From a financial point of view, the new Defender would have to be more like the Evoque and less like its predecessor.

“In order to justify its investment, it’s going to have to be a global vehicle,McGovern said, quoted by motorin

g.com.au. “Future customers will not have any preconceived ideas about it and in order to get people to come to the brand customers will have to buy a Defender on its merit.”

Speaking of the model’s fanbase, McGovern said: “I love the fact all these people are enthusiastic about it. I appreciate they’re the ones driving the euphoria but if they’re expecting to see a facsimile of the old one with all the latest tech, then I don’t think they’ll be satisfied,” he warned. “That said, I do think it needs to acknowledge the great heritage of Defender in terms of its capability, in terms of its robustness, its durability – but not necessarily its visual quality.”

Well, we think this is where McGovern is wrong. We think the new Defender should start off with the visual identity of the old one in mind. There were lots of people who loved the Defender but didn’t buy one because it was hard to live with. If they made it more forgiving this time but kept the essence of its looks, we think they’d be on to a winner.

Given all this, it was probably a good idea of Land Rover to give us this considerable hiatus from the latest model. Following the Defender with a completely new model that keeps its name but looks vastly different probably would have been too great a shock. Well, whatever happens, it wouldn’t be the first legend to be killed off by its company, and it won’t be the last either

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    The new Jeep Wrangler is the talk of the town these days after launching its latest generation at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and it's a very good example of how you can take a traditional design and make it work in this modern technological world we're in. Jeep focused on the visual...