By on December 10, 2019

Maybe Land Rover isn’t so removed from its former parent, after all. Whereas Ford saw the resurrection of the Bronco nameplate as an opportunity to butch up an Escape, Land Rover apparently sees the return of the storied Defender as an excuse to push its lineup downmarket.

No, not with the Defender itself — the range-topping SUV will only go upward in price, Autocar reports, but the opportunity lies in sprinkling some of its design magic over a new entry-level model.

It’s the same thing Ford chose to do with the so-called “Baby Bronco” due out next year. An Escape by any measure, the vehicle will don the Bronco’s design cues while adding a yet-to-be-defined level of off-road prowess. Two models for the cost of one!

At Land Rover, the idea is the same. According to Autocar, the brand hopes to release a Defender-inspired five-door model in 2021 to capitalize on the larger model’s heritage, at the same time creating a cheaper entry point into the brand. Starting price for the unnamed, unconfirmed model is pegged at the low $30k range (£25,000 for Brits).

In comparison, Land Rover’s current cheapest model, the Discovery Sport, starts at just under $39,000. A new platform sourced from parent corp Tata Motors is believed to underpin the upcoming model.

As the brand prepares to plumb for lower-end buyers, it also expects to capture more of the affluent green crowd. The Defender itself is expected to appear as a fully electric vehicle in the near future, carrying a sticker price north of £100,000. Luxed-up and free of emissions, the variant’s lofty sticker is necessary to keep the model profitable as Land Rover chases loaded European green buyers (lowering its fleetwide carbon footprint in the process).

The basic Defender returns to U.S. dealers next summer.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

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12 Comments on “Return of Defender Opens Door to Bargain-basement Land Rover, Report Claims...”

  • avatar

    New defender already looks like a bargain basement Barbie accessory. Since it’s clearly incapable off-road I guess the whole point of it was to be an accessory after all? Best to appeal to all financial means at that point.

  • avatar

    What’s that box on the side? In the computer world it’d be called a kludge.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    This Disco looks like a very capable offroader.
    Too bad it’s only looks and to be marketed to posers.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    “the affluent green crowd”

    LR is over-reaching here. The Defender is no Prius!

  • avatar

    I look forward to reading about the stump pulling, rock crawling prowess of the 1.2L turbocharged 3–cylinder engine mated to the all-wheel drive power train with CVT transmission. And no stick shift option of course.

  • avatar

    Judging by the absolute trashing a recent tv program gave the Jeep Wrangler I don’t think Land Rover has too much to worry about. The Jeep was torn apart on almost everything with the verdict being buy a Toyota or a Defender.

    I think the latest Defender will smash it out the park.

    Before anyone says anything about reliability I’d suggest looking at Jeeps scores in this area.

    • 0 avatar

      Was this a European TV program?

      • 0 avatar

        Yes fifth gear.. The Jeep lover in it slated the Wrangler over a whole range of problems ranging from reliability to safety to rubbish packaging.

        I’m sure you’ll say it was biased but they were forensic and pointed to independent surveys.

        Just trying to bring some balance here. The Defender is largely new from the ground up with cutting edge tech. So not sure how it can be slated here before a single road test has taken place. Also kit sure why there is a feeling that it’s high tech approach is bad vs ancient mechanical in the Jeep.

        Let’s be fair.

        • 0 avatar

          If we are being fair, Land Rover does not have the best reputation when implementing “cutting edge tech”, so perhaps some skepticism is warranted before crushing the Wrangler for supposed bad reliability or “ancient mechanicals”.

        • 0 avatar

          Well it is a Land Rover, a brand that’s routinely near the bottom of quality and reliability lists.

          Land Rover’s motto: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    It must be an ammo box for the UN Peacekeeping forces. Or a place to put scones.

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