When we think about Land Rover, we think of SUVs. But in 2017, another vehicle type may join the lineup — a pickup truck. Elsewhere in the world the Defender has had a pickup model for years, and a new truck may be based on the next-gen Defender, which arrives in 2016. Although Tata’s luxury arm will concentrate on SUV sales initially, design head Gerry McGovern said a new pickup could appear by 2017.
The Defender may be remembered as an SUV that was sold here for a short time. What many may not realize is that in its home market, the Defender is one of the most versatile vehicles, available in body styles ranging from a three-door hardtop to a chassis cab and a pickup.
Replacing its most iconic model has proven difficult. Loved by its owners, its boxy design has remained largely unchanged for years. A new model would offer a decidedly different driving experience, targeted more at a upscale buyer than the utilitarian versions from Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota. Most likely it will be a crew-cab with full-time 4WD, to take advantage of the Defender’s all-terrain functionality, something its owners still value.
Styling is a mystery, though an indication of what it might look like can be seen in the 2011 DC100 Concept, a precursor to a new Defender. With a new version on its way, Rover officials also states that there is no plan to market a truck variant in North America.
As McGovern insists, “This isn’t a production-ready concept but the beginning of a long journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century.” No details on the Defender’s running gear have been released. While it’s unclear if the truck will make it to the U.S., Land Rover confirmed that a new Defender SUV would.
As Land Rover wrestles with direction for its next Defender, unlike the current Defender pickup, the new model would follow more of a luxury theme, although just how far they go without alienating an audience that values its Spartan nature remains unclear.