Land Rover Strongly Suggests Defender Pickup Is Planned
18 February 2021 - Motor1
The company seemingly changed its mind about building a Defender truck.
The pickup version of the modern Land Rover Defender looks a little bit more likely to happen, despite the company downplaying the possibility for years. Nick Collins, Jaguar Land Rover’s executive director of vehicle programs, says "there is customer demand" for the truck, and "there were no structural limitations" for building it, according to Autocar.
"We always said the Defender would be a family," Collins told Autocar, and he suggested to "watch this space" about the truck's future.
While there were rumors about the pickup variant before the new Defender's launch, the company eventually dropped the plans. An unnamed source previously made the argument: "Why would you buy a dual-cab ute when you see what you can put in the back of one of these – this is already a ute with a roof."
Land Rover was clear that there wasn't a structural issue with using the Defender's D7x platform to make a truck. The company just didn't see enough of a business case for creating the pickup.
Traditionally, pickups ride on a body-on-frame chassis, but the Defender has unibody underpinnings. The Honda Ridgeline shows that this layout can still produce a capable truck, though. The upcoming Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz point to automakers being increasingly willing to make monocoque pickups, too.
A Defender pickup should be able to adopt any powertrain from the crossover variant, and the model offers lots of choices. Depending on the market, buyers can get a plug-in hybrid, mild-hybrid 3.0-liter inline-six, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, or inline-six diesel. Plus, Land Rover has a V8 option under development for folks looking to maximize the vehicle's performance.