Land Rover Defender pick-up to rival Mercedes X-Class
Land Rover will launch a pickup truck by 2020 as part of an extended family of Defender vehicles, which has long been rumoured in order to warrant Land Rover's future commitment to its most famous model.
The standard Defender will have its grand unveiling this year as part of the marque's 70th anniversary celebrations, but more variants are already in the pipeline.
A Defender pickup will not only appeal to the huge market for utilitarian vehicles in the US but also in Europe, where pickup sales are growing. Mercedes' recent arrival with the XClass (a sibling to the Nissan Navara), demonstrates car makers' belief of the worthiness of an offering in this segment.
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The Defender pickup will also appeal in developing parts of the world, including South America and Africa. Although old Defenders are still used in these places, models such as the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux pickup are broadly perceived as more reliable and durable options, so Land Rover will need to prove the new Defender's worth against these rivals.
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Given the markets where the vehicle is likely to be most popular those that are not geared up for electric or hybrid powertrains the engine lineup will focus on petrol and diesel 2.0litre units from JLR's Ingenium range.
The pickup will be based around the longerwheelbase Defender. It is most likely to be offered as a singlecab variant, offering a similar payload to a Navara, because it would be easier to adapt the Defender's platform to a singlecab format than a doublecab.
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To cater for all its markets, the pickup will be offered in a range of specifications, from a very spartan version to something far more luxurious to rival the likes of the XClass.
More premium versions could be made in the firm's new Slovakia plant, where the main Defender models are expected to be built. More rudimentary versions could be made further afield. A rumoured new factory in Mexico is one potential build location for models that are destined for the Americas.
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