Front-wheel drive 'baby' Defender

Land Rover Baby Defender Render 2

Land Rover might go two-wheel drive! Industry rumours from the UK indicate the Land Rover is looking to expand its Defender portfolio, but not by adding larger variants...  

*Rendering by Dejan Hristov

British all-terrain luxury vehicle and exploration brand Land Rover desires greater sales volume and the ability to engage younger customers or, at the very least, conquer customers at a younger age by offering models at lower price points.

Land Rover’s strategy is rumoured to hinge on a new compact version of the Defender, which will be similar in its proportions and styling details. Technically, this new "baby" Defender will not have any of the reimagined Defender’s off-road ability or even share similar mechanical architecture.

As the global market for front-wheel-drive compact crossovers continues to grow and deliver handsome profits for brands that trade in its various segments, Land Rover has identified a new business opportunity.

With its storied off-road brand history, Land Rover’s marketing people are calculating that it could launch a front-wheel drive crossover vehicle, without eroding the company’s public image.

This front-wheel-drive "baby" Defender would possibly be the size of a current Suzuki Jimny, yet without any of the dedicated all-wheel-drive hardware. In many European and Asian cities, Land Rover’s current products are simply too large to easily navigate through traffic or park.

If the British brand wishes to remain relevant in many of the world’s most prosperous cities, it will need smaller crossovers. Vehicles such as the Audi Q3 and Volvo’s XC40 command a premium and have seen strong demand and customer loyalty. The absence of a Land Rover rival in this segment is an issue that has triggered the need to develop a new "baby" Land Rover.

The company has been on an aggressive engine downsizing and hybridization drive over the last few years. As such, sourcing a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine to power this "baby" Defender project should not be too much of an issue, as this capacity and configuration have become the default for front-wheel drive compact crossovers.

Preliminary scheduling for the debut of this new Land Rover crossover is 2022, according to WhatCar.

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