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Jaguar confirms its new J-Pace SUV will be Defender-based

Jaguar has confirmed it’s developing a new SUV, the J-Pace, which’ll share a platform with the next-generation Land Rover Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

The new platform is called MLA, and will debut underpinning the highly anticipated redesigned Land Rover Defender before making its way into most of Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) models.

Since the new Defender is expected sometime around 2021, we should see prototypes for the J-Pace soon.

A timeline hasn’t been shared, but judges involved in the World Car of the Year Awards program were given an early look at the truck. They were also given an update on the next-generation F-Type, as well as a look at the new electric XJ and an XE replacement.

The mid-sized SUV will compete with the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, and will feature third-row seats. The biggest benefit of the MLA platform is the ability to support hybrid and fuel-cell powertrains, which should future-proof the car.

An all-electric variant is also likely to debut, to fall in line with JLR’s prediction that 20 per cent of car sales will be electric by 2025.

Since the J-Pace will be built on a Range Rover platform, we can expect it will perform pretty well off-road, although we don’t expect owners to actually leave the pavement. No matter, however; being a Jag, it is likely to be more suited for the beaten path rather than off it.

More SUVs will likely be coming from Jaguar, too, thanks to the success of the Ian Callum-designed F-Pace, including two that could be named the A-Pace and B-Pace.