Land Rover drops the strongest hint yet that it's plotting a Defender pickup.
The all-new Land Rover Defender has been a resounding success, which isn't surprising considering it replaced one of the most iconic and capable off-roaders of all time. After being on sale for only a few months, the Defender 110 has already outsold its predecessor in America and sales will only increase when Land Rover adds the more affordable Defender 90 to the lineup in the spring.
Potentially, this isn't the only new Defender variant Land Rover is plotting. There have been rumors that Land Rover has been planning to build a pickup version of the Defender, but the project was allegedly scrapped. According to Autocar, however, the project appears to be back on.
Speaking to the publication, Nick Collins, Jaguar Land Rover's executive director of vehicle programs believes "there is customer demand" for a Defender pickup and "there were no structural limitations" to building one. "We always said the Defender would be a family," Collins added, hinting that we should "watch this space" when asked about launching a Defender pickup.
This may not be a confirmation but he didn't rule out the possibility either unlike before, meaning this is the strongest hint yet that Land Rover wants to enter the lucrative pickup truck market. While most pickups ride on a body-on-frame chassis, the Defender has a unibody chassis like the Honda Ridgeline.
The publication claims the Defender pick-up will be offered with a choice of gasoline and diesel engines taken from the regular Defender and only be sold with a 110-inch wheelbase.
Land Rover's Defender pickup will also be sold in several trim levels, ranging from more affordable utilitarian variants to more premium trims. In the US, this would mean the Defender pickup would be powered by a either a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque or a mild-hybrid 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine rated at 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. A new V8-powered Defender is also coming to fight the Ford Bronco, so the pickup variant could also be offered with eight cylinders.
In the US, a Land Rover pickup truck would compete against the Ford Ranger. As well as the Ranger, it would also take on the Volkswagen Amarok in Europe and the Toyota Land Cruiser in South America and Africa.