Reimagined Defender wins Land Rover its third World Car Design of the Year award

The ground-up redeveloped Land Rover Defender has been crowned 2021 World Car Design of the Year at this year’s World Car of the Year Awards ceremony.

Land Rover is a multiple World Car of the Year award winner, having taken home the overall design award for both the Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque in the past.

Recognising the worldwide impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the auto industry, the World Car of the Year awards were held remotely this year. Categories are voted on each year by a panel of over 90 automotive journalists from 28 different countries.

No stranger to accolades since its arrival at the end of 2019, the new Land Rover Defender has been awarded with the 2021 World Car Design of the Year prize at the annual World Car of the Year awards. This is the third time Land Rover has claimed the coveted prize following previous wins for both the Range Rover Velar and Evoque in past years.

This year, contenders competing in all awards 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.

With a design that was blueprinted to push boundaries while still evoking the heritage of Land Rover’s iconic Defender, the new vehicle was praised for its distinctive silhouette which makes it instantly recognisable. Land Rover’s designers re-envisioned 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. 

“We are delighted it has been honoured with this award,” commented Chief Creative Officer, Jaguar Land Rover, Prof. Gerry McGovern OBE. “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 the World Car of the Year design experts included talented judges from the likes of the Pforzheim Design School, France’s Sustainable Design School, the New School of Architecture, and Shiro Nakamura Design Associates.

Vehicles eligible for the World Car of the Year award must be produced in volumes of at least 10,000 units per year, must be priced below the luxury-car level in their primary markets, and must be “on-sale” in at least two major markets on at least two separate continents between May 1, 2020 and May 1, 2021.

Watch the 2021 World Car of the Year award winners announcement at

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