'Does JLR really need the new Defender in its line-up?'

With so many other SUVs in their model line-up, Steve Fowler asks whether JLR really needed to build the new Defender

OPINION Land Rover Defender

It's been a long time coming and is one of the most eagerly anticipated cars in ages, but the covers have finally come off the all-new Land Rover Defender. 

Once again, the Land Rover team has produced a stunning car with huge desirability. I love its rugged, modern looks and some of the clever engineering that has gone into it. Do I want one? You bet.

• It’s back: new 2020 Land Rover Defender reinvents the icon

At this point, you’re probably waiting for a big ‘but’ to ride into town, and here it is: I’m not sure the world really needs a new Defender. More to the point, I’m not sure that Jaguar Land Rover does. 

Let me explain. The market for really utilitarian SUVs like the old model is tiny. There are plenty of romantics (not least in JLR) who wanted to see the Defender reborn, but are they going to spend more than £45,000 on one? And if you are one of the few who really need serious off-road ability, does Land Rover (or others) not already offer something that fits the bill? 

The market for mainstream SUVs is huge, though, so that’s where Defender is being pitched. And here’s the rub: many of its main rivals are already in Land Rover and Jaguar showrooms. Between the Defender price points of £45,000 and £79,000, Jaguar Land Rover already has eight (yes eight) other SUVs. Count ’em: Discovery, Discovery Sport, Evoque, Velar, Range Rover Sport plus Jaguar’s E-, F- and I-Pace. The Defender makes it nine. You’ll be spoiled for choice.

Yes, I’d love a Defender (it replaces a Discovery on my wish list – as it will for many others), but I’m disappointed that, among all its tech, there’s no strong electrification story (which we’re often told is ideal for off-road work). And wouldn’t we all have loved a cut-price Defender that doesn’t overlap with the rest of the JLR range even more?

All that said, it will, of course, sell by the bucketload. But at what price for the other SUVs in JLR’s line-up? 

Do you agree with Steve that JLR does not need the new Defender? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...

Recommended

Land Rover Defender review
Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender review

The Land Rover Defender is superbly designed, exceptionally well-engineered and still retains its famous go-anywhere ability.
13 Oct 2020
New Land Rover Defender P400e plug-in hybrid joins range
Land Rover Defender

New Land Rover Defender P400e plug-in hybrid joins range

The plug-in Land Rover Defender P400e model becomes the new range-topper, while four-cylinder diesels have been replaced by straight-six options
8 Sep 2020
Twisted launches electric Land Rover Defender conversion kit
Land Rover Defender

Twisted launches electric Land Rover Defender conversion kit

Twisted’s pure-electric conversion package gives the old Defender up to 320bhp and a maximum claimed range of 200 miles
22 Jul 2020
New Land Rover Defender 110 roof tent launched
Land Rover Defender

New Land Rover Defender 110 roof tent launched

The hard-shelled two-berth Land Rover Defender 110 roof tent is priced from around £2,800 and includes a full-size mattress
22 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Honda axes diesel power in the UK
Honda

Honda axes diesel power in the UK

Honda has quietly phased-out its diesel-powered models in Britain
19 Oct 2020
Renault could cut UK models in no deal Brexit profit drive
News

Renault could cut UK models in no deal Brexit profit drive

Renault’s new CEO says the firm is examining the possibility of reducing the range of models it offers to UK buyers as it aims to boost profitability
20 Oct 2020
SSC Tuatara claims title of world’s fastest production car with 331mph run
Performance cars

SSC Tuatara claims title of world’s fastest production car with 331mph run

1,750bhp SSC Tuatara knocks Bugatti Chiron Super Sport 300+ off its perch with astonishing two-way top speed attack
19 Oct 2020