Baby Land Rover Defender due in 2022
Jaguar Land Rover has secretly greenlit plans to develop an all-new baby Land Rover Defender that will rival the Suzuki Jimny and be on sale as soon as 2022.
According to What Car magazine, initially, the pint-sized off-roader will be launched as a strictly front-drive off-roader powered by a small 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol.
That suggests the small off-roader will be more of a small SUV than hardcore 4×4, but the Brit mag says that four-wheel drive versions are also in the pipeline and will come later after the baby Defender’s launch.
The front-drive versions will allow Land Rover to target, not those after a rugged small 4×4, but buyers seeking a more stylish alternative to the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Volvo XC40.
That makes sense because, beneath the shrunken Defender, the smallest Land Rover is based on a shortened version of the same D7x aluminium monocoque that it could repackage its bigger brother’s all-wheel drive, centre locking differential and high- and low-ratio gearbox.
A smaller, lighter version of the capable new Defender 90 with the proper equipment onboard could make the baby the most capable off-roader ever when it arrives.
Set to be launched with a price from £25,000 ($A45,000), it’s thought that the baby Defender could be called the ‘Defender 80’, ‘Defender Sport’, or, even, ‘Defender Lightweight’ – resurrecting a name used for the lighter military-grade Land Rover produced from 1968 until 1984.
Another rumour is Land Rover could even create a new sub-brand to sell cheaper SUVs, with the baby Defender the first model to carry the new nameplate.