Baby off-roader will apparently get a shortened version of JLR’s new EMA electric platform
August 7, 2023 at 07:44
JLR will grow its newly separated Defender brand with a new smaller off-roader built around the firm’s upcoming EMA electrified vehicle platform.
That’s according to a report in Autocar, which says a baby Defender will join the lineup in 2027, potentially wearing ‘Defender Sport’ badges. JLR has already used the Sport tag when it introduced smaller SUVs to the Range Rover and Discovery families, so the naming strategy would make perfect sense, though no one at JLR has confirmed the badging plan.
The British mag says the junior Defender will be part of the same next-generation family of smaller SUVs that we already know will include the Range Rover Evoque and Velar, and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. The existence of the baby Defender was confirmed by JLR CEO Adrian Mardell, who told attendees at an investor conference that “Range Rover, Defender and Discovery brands will come off [the EMA] platform.”
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The EMA (electric modular architecture) platform will allow JLR to introduce fully-electric SUVs to the market in the second half of this decade, but it has also been engineered to support hybrid powertrains, which will remain hugely important for markets where EV-takeup is still relatively slow.
Although the current full-size Defender is available in three-different lengths, only the two-door ’90′ is small in size and that comes with the practical limitations resulting from that door layout and truncated wheelbase. The four-door Defender 110 measures 197.6-in (5,018 mm) with a spare wheel on the rear but Autocar suggests the new four-door baby Defender be around 16.5-in (420 mm) shorter, making it around the same size as a Skoda Kodiaq.
JLR announced earlier this year that each of its Defender, Discovery and Range Rover nameplates would become brands in their own right, and that the Land Rover name would take a step back, though it would still be used as a ‘trust mark,’ design boss Gerry McGovern said. The company also simplified its own name from Jaguar Land Rover to JLR and introduced a new logo.