The new Land Rover Defender is an impressive and fashionable luxury SUV. But it’s big, checking in with a curb weight that overlaps with a Ford F-150. It’s also expensive, with a realistic base model build costing about as much as a fully-loaded Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler. But according to a report from the UK magazine WhatCar, Land Rover has a smaller/cheaper version coming.
WhatCar corroborates reports from last year about Land Rover producing a “Baby Defender,” which will arrive in 2022 per the report. The report says its styling “draws heavily on the full-size Defender.” Though, it would have a less fancy interior and not have the fancy off-road tech. The target price would be about £25,000, which equates to a little above $32,000. The starting version would use a 1.5-liter three-cylinder and front-wheel-drive with eventual four-wheel-drive and plug-in-hybrid options.
That sounds a lot like a Bronco Sport to the Defender’s Bronco or, coming at it from a different direction, a Land Rover rival to cars like the Volvo XC40.
One interesting tidbit from the report is about the name. The natural inclination would be to expect Land Rover to roll with the “Defender Sport” or some equivalent name building off the Defender. Though WhatCar says that the new SUV likely will have a nameplate “not yet seen within Land Rover” that may launch a new affordable sub-brand.
The “Baby Defender” would seem to make a lot of sense in Europe as a more-efficient volume-seller to help bring Jaguar-Land Rover's average fleet emissions down. The report makes no mention about whether the SUV would make it to the U.S.