If you look at the upcoming Ford Bronco or Land Rover Defender and think, “Eh, that’s a bit too much for me,” fear not. We’ll soon get a whole family of Defender SUVs, according to a report from Australian outlet Which Car. The updated Defender is set to go on sale near the end of March, in both two-door 90 and four-door 110 forms. However, Land Rover is still missing a more compact SUV to take on the likes of the Jeep Renegade and the plethora of small luxury crossovers hitting the market.
It’s a move that several other automakers have made over the past few years, and Land Rover isn’t starting from square one. Instead, the company is working on a platform to underpin its smaller vehicles, including this baby Defender. Another potential vehicle will join the Range Rover lineup below the Evoque, as a luxury cousin to the Defender’s more utilitarian approach (though still plenty modern, judging by the new model). Both lines will lean heavily on aluminum underpinnings, as Jaguar Land Rover has been keen to do with its modern cars.
Racing to the compact (and three-row) markets
Thanks in no small part to relatively cheap fuel prices here in the U.S., big SUVs are as popular as they’ve ever been. However, cars like the Land Rover Defender and likely the new Ford Bronco are expensive to buy. There’s room at the bottom end of the market for smaller, less expensive models, and it’s a segment Ford is looking to enter with the Bronco Sport. If this report turns out to be true, Land Rover will be there sometime in the next two to three years.
As automakers turn toward smaller SUVs, however, they’re also exploiting that part of the market that wants big family haulers. Ford’s already there with the Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator, but Land Rover may soon join the fray with a three-row Defender 130. According to reports, it will offer luxurious touches we’ve come to expect from modern Land Rovers, as well as eight-passenger seating.
At the end of the day, then, we may not see just one Defender. Instead, we’ll have several to choose from, as we’ll have at least two cars in the Bronco family, and something akin to what Land Rover’s already done with the Discovery/Discovery Sport and Range Rover lineup, with the Evoque, Velar, Sport and original Range Rover.
What do you think of a junior (or jumbo) Defender? Let us know in the comments below and stay tuned for more updates!