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Land Rover reportedly plans compact off-roader for expanded Defender family

The popularity of pint-sized off-roaders like the Jeep Renegade and Ford Bronco Sport may lead to Land Rover jumping on the bandwagon with a compact SUV inspired by the latest Defender.

What Car? reported last week that Land Rover will launch such a model in 2022. The SUV will reportedly feature styling cues borrowed from the Defender and come with a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3 at launch and a plug-in hybrid setup further down the road.

The reported use of standard front-wheel drive (and available all-wheel drive) suggests the SUV will use the PTA (Premium Transverse Architecture) platform found in Jaguar Land Rover’s other compact SUVs, the Jaguar E-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.

Prior to the launch of the redesigned 2020 Defender, Land Rover had talked about using its Defender nameplate for a family of models, similar to how it expanded the Discovery and Range Rover nameplates. Members of the Defender family would be aimed at off-road enthusiasts, just as Range Rover-badged models are aimed at the luxury crowd and those with a Discovery badge are aimed at families looking for versatility.

The baby Defender isn’t the only new Land Rover reportedly in the works. Another is the off-rumored “Road Rover” which is tipped to be an EV sharing technology with the upcoming battery-electric Jaguar XJ. According to the What Car? report, the Land Rover EV will also arrive in 2022.

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