Skittering along in the wake of the Land Rover Defender’s return, speculation about a possible pickup version has refused to die. And while at one point the notion had been nixed by the automaker, now the door seems to be opening again.
As reported by the Autocar website, Jaguar Land Rover program director Nick Collins acknowledged that “there is customer demand” and that “there were no structural limitations” that could prevent building such a variant. “We've always said the Defender would be a family of products," he explained, suggesting further that we should all “watch what happens next” to find out more about the possible future pickup version.
At the time the idea was shelved, a source said the company did not see the relevance of such a model, considering that the current Defender offers the capabilities of a pickup truck, but with a roof. The company simply did not see the financial relevance of creating a pickup variant.
However, Land Rover also made it clear that it was indeed possible to use the Defender's D7x platform to create a pickup truck. The only important thing to note is that the Defender does not benefit from a ladder chassis, like the majority of pickup trucks on the market. Which leads to the likelihood of a vehicle tailored more on the Honda Ridgeline format. The upcoming Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz models will also adopt this form, proving the growing popularity of this type of pickup.
In terms of capacity, the Ridgeline model doesn’t deliver quite as much, but it's enough for the majority of towing needs.
In any case, buyers of traditional pickup trucks and those of an eventual Land Rover pickup are not the same.
Mechanically, a Defender equipped with a bed could receive the same powertrains as the regular model, so either a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder or a 3.0L turbocharged inline-6 for our market. What's more, Land Rover is working on a V8 engine option for the Defender, which would offer another interesting option.