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Land Rover Defender ute could be on the cards

By Tom Fraser, 18 Feb 2021 Car News

Land Rover Defender ute could be on the cards

The Land Rover Defender family is expected to grow, with the company hinting at a pick-up version

Land Rover may go the way of Jeep and its Gladiator ute, with a company executive giving word that the Defender range could expand to welcome a pick-up body style.

While the UK manufacturer has indicated in the past that a pick-up version of the Defender could be a possibility, no firm intentions have been laid until now.

2020 Land Rover Defender P400 SE

Jaguar Land Rover executive of vehicle programs Nick Collins told Autocar that not only is a Defender pick-up feasible, but the firm imagines “there is enough customer demand” to justify one.

Read next: Is the new Land Rover Defender a worthy replacement?

Collins reiterated that “there were no structural limitations” to a Defender ute and that you “can make a pick-up from a monocoque [chassis]”, despite nearly all pick-ups on the market utilising a body-on-frame architecture.

Land Rover Defender

A tray-backed Defender would follow in the footsteps of off-road rival Jeep, which developed a ute variant of its Wrangler 4x4 off-roader between 2018 and 2019. It would also slide into the hotly-contested dual-cab ute market in Australia to compete against the Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara or offer a luxury alternative.

Read next: History of the Land Rover Defender

It’s expected that trim and engine options would mirror that of the Defender off-road wagon, with a range of petrol or diesel ‘Ingenium’ six-cylinder engines. We’re unlikely to see a short bed Defender 90-version of a pick-up, with Land Rover expected to rely on the extended wheelbase Defender 110 body instead.

Jeep Wrangler interior

“We always said the Defender would be a family,” Collins said.

While saving discussions regarding future product for “another day”, Collins insisted we should “watch this space” for a Defender pick-up. 

No further details are offered by Collins regarding a potential timeline; we expect the forthcoming Defender 130 with a longer wheelbase to arrive first before the British marque focuses on other projects.