Land Rover is preparing to extend its model line-up in two bold directions over the next five years. The first will bring back the long-discussed entry-level Land Rover into the company’s cycle plan and the second is a new, more sporting, luxury version of the new Defender.
With an expected target price of around £25,000, the new entry-level five-door model will be cheaper in real terms than any previous Land Rover model. Believed to be codenamed L860, it is expected to arrive in 2021.
Meanwhile, the luxurious, fourth model in the Defender line-up is said to be a full four years away from being unveiled. It is expected to make its debut as a pure-electric model with sharper and leaner styling as well as a highly luxurious interior and a price well into six figures.
The £25,000 Land Rover’s styling is said to draw heavily on the new Defender as well as referencing the original iconic Land Rover. But it won’t be as square-edged and mechanical as the controversial 2011 DC100 concepts.
The interior is also expected to reference the lean and functional look used in the new Defender, although given the price difference, a reduction in equipment and space is likely.
It’s not yet known how the L860 will be branded. A junior Defender badge is unlikely because that new family is pitched at a more upmarket price point and a Discovery family badge could draw sales from the Discovery Sport.
That means it may get its own branding, possibly something as simple as the Land Rover 80, which would reference the wheelbase of the original Series 1 machines as well as sitting neatly below the badging of the new Defender.
It’s thought that the L860 is the third time in the past few years that Land Rover has attempted to secure a business case for a model that could tempt away buyers of mainstream compact SUVs, such as the Jeep Compass, Mini Countryman and Volkswagen Tiguan, while also competing with premium models like the BMW X1 and Volvo XC40.
Another solid business reason for the entry-level Land Rover is that the market for mid-sized SUVs across Europe is healthy and growing, with a current annual market of over 500,000 units. However, some reports suggest the car will also be sold in markets outside of Europe. The US and China are starting to embrace smaller SUV-style models, for instance.
The company’s need for such a car has also been hastened by incoming EU CO2 regulations and the requirement for the firm to hit an average of 130g/km of CO2 by 2021, ahead of another big cut in 2025.