Land Rover Defender pick-up to rival Mercedes X-Class

by Rachel Burgess, Autocar UK 20 Apr 2018

Defender pick-up is expected to be single-cab only

Land Rover will launch a pick-up truck by 2020 as part of an extended family of Defender vehicles, which has long been rumoured in order to warrant Land Rover’s future commitment to its most famous model.

The standard Defender will have its grand unveiling this year as part of the marque’s 70th-anniversary celebrations, but more variants are already in the pipeline.

A Defender pick-up will not only appeal to the huge market for utilitarian vehicles in the US but also in Europe, where pick-up sales are growing. Mercedes’ recent arrival with the X-Class (a sibling to the Nissan Navara), demonstrates car makers’ belief of the worthiness of an offering in this segment.

The Defender pick-up will also appeal in developing parts of the world, including South America and Africa. Although old Defenders are still used in these places, models such as the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux pick-up are broadly perceived as more reliable and durable options, so Land Rover will need to prove the new Defender’s worth against these rivals.

Given the markets where the vehicle is likely to be most popular – those that are not geared up for electric or hybrid powertrains – the engine line-up will focus on petrol and diesel 2.0-litre units from JLR’s Ingenium range.

The pick-up will be based around the longer-wheelbase Defender. It is most likely to be offered as a single-cab variant, offering a similar payload to a Navara, because it would be easier to adapt the Defender’s platform to a single-cab format than a double-cab.

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To cater for all its markets, the pick-up will be offered in a range of specifications, from a very spartan version to something far more luxurious to rival the likes of the X-Class.

More premium versions could be made in the firm’s new Slovakia plant, where the main Defender models are expected to be built. More rudimentary versions could be made further afield. A rumoured new factory in Mexico is one potential build location for models that are destined for the Americas.

Tags: Land Rover

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