Currently reading: Land Rover Defender range expansion could bring pick-up
Vehicle programmes boss hints at sufficient demand and ease of adapting new SUV's body

Land Rover has given the biggest hint yet that it will introduce a pick-up version of Land Rover the new Defender to rival the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok.

The firm has previously hinted that an open-backed version of its reborn 4x4 would be “technically possible” but hadn't yet voiced a concrete intention to put such a model into production.

Now, though, Jaguar Land Rover’s executive director of vehicle programmes, Nick Collins, has told Car of the Year that not only is a Defender pick-up feasible but that “there is customer demand” enough to justify one.

Collins confirmed that “there were no structural limitations” to a Defender pick-up and that “you can make a pick-up from a monocoque” – although nearly all mainstream pick-ups are based on vehicles with a separate chassis and body.

“We always said the Defender would be a family,” Collins said, and that while talking about future plans should be “saved for another day”, we should “watch this space” with regards to a pick-up.

An open-backed Defender would be aimed squarely at the hugely popular utilitarian market in the US and the burgeoning pick-up market in Europe. It would also stand to help Land Rover steal some sales from the long-reigning Toyota Land Cruiser in developing markets including South America and Africa. 

As previously reported by Autocar, the Defender pick-up will be offered with a choice of petrol and diesel units from the standard Defender line-up and likely offered exclusively in long-wheelbase 110 guise. 

Like the Ford RangerNissan Navara and Toyota Hilux, it will likely be offered with a comprehensive selection of trim levels, ranging from cheaper and minimalist utility-spec examples right up to more premium offerings at the top end. 

Land Rover has so far introduced 90 and 110 short- and long-wheelbase car variants of the Defender and is currently rolling out ‘hard top’ commercial versions of both.

A Defender 130 with the long wheelbase and an extended rear load bay is also coming, as are plug-in hybrid variants of the long-wheelbase car to supplement the pure-ICE versions.


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Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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TStag 17 February 2021

Good move, the pickup market in the US is huge and is growing more broadly. This is a much more sensible product to spend money on than another Jaguar XE, simply because JLR are more likely to make money on it.

Chris C 16 February 2021

Would it be a true pickup or have a lifestyle "rollcage" bolted to the back to maintain rigidity?

Overdrive 16 February 2021

What's its time round the Nurburgring? That's what really matters!