The rugged off-roader is about to get much more luxurious.
The Land Rover name is a legendary one, and no Land Rover is more special than the Defender. With a long history of off-roading excellence, the rugged, boxy Brit has become a household name for adventurers and military personnel alike. Over the years, we've seen a mostly traditional approach from the Defender, but the latest model is a lot more luxurious, and that has helped it achieve astonishing levels of success. Land Rover has recognized that this model is something of a cash cow, and earlier this year, we heard that a three-row model could be coming to broaden the Defender's appeal. That could still be in the cards, but there's more coming from the Defender, namely a more luxurious range-topper unlike anything currently available.
According to Autocar, Land Rover is looking into making the Defender its own nameplate with various different versions, one of which includes a pickup while another is a luxury range-topper based on the underpinnings of the forthcoming new Range Rover. Details are been few and far between, but as far as we know, Land Rover intends for this range-topper to ride on the new MLA platform, a flexible architecture that will underpin the next generation of Range Rover Sport, Velar, and Discovery models. This architecture has an electric bias and can be produced as a mild-hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or an all-electric. It has also been designed to be "highly capable off-road", yet with exceptional on-road manners.
This new model will eschew traditional wood and leather for more extravagant colors and finishes, likely furnished from unusual materials. Naturally weathered looks will be offered too, and with the adoption of this new platform, the aforementioned seven-seater is possible, although an eight-seater 130 model is planned to arrive next year with longer proportions and more space. Further to that, the long-rumored pickup version is expected to arrive soon.
The only real problem with all this expansion is that the Defender is likely to further encroach on Discovery sales, something that has been affecting Land Rover since the Defender's debut. Thus, expect the next Discovery to be less generic and the next Defender to offer its own brand of luxury separate from Range Rover models. We look forward to seeing how Land Rover pulls off this tricky balancing act.