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JLR Defender Sport: new ‘baby’ Land Rover Defender on the cards

JLR looks set to launch a smaller, more affordable electric 4x4 that could be badged Defender Sport.

Land Rover Defender Sport exclusive image

JLR has strongly hinted at plans for a new all-electric ‘baby’ Land Rover Defender that could adopt the Sport badge used by more compact versions of the Defender’s Discovery and Range Rover siblings.

Auto Express understands that the proposed Defender Sport will be a more road-focused model than its full-blown Defender sibling, with deliveries expected from 2027.

On course to launch six new battery electric vehicles prior to 2026, the British manufacturer has mooted a smaller version of the Defender model for several years.

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It makes sense that JLR would want to invest in expanding the Defender family, as it’s been clear that it intends to separate out its core model lines into a ‘House of Brands’, with Defender sitting alongside Discovery and Range Rover in the SUV line-up and the traditional Land Rover badge taking a back seat.

While the company intends to retain its flexible modular longitudinal architecture (MLA) - offering internal combustion engine, hybrid and battery electric vehicle options, its latest electrified modular architecture (EMA) is perfectly set up to deliver an all-electric compact Defender model along with an electric version of the full-size car. Future Velar and Evoque models are also expected to make use of the EMA platform.

“We are looking at creating other vehicles within the Defender family. I would've thought by this time next Global Media Day we'll be clear on what we are comfortable with producing off EMA,” said JLR CEO, Adrian Mardell in his exclusive interview with Auto Express.

While the current Defender has been a sales success, a further iteration of the iconic 4x4 could spell further trouble for the Discovery, which has struggled to match the Defender’s appeal.

While JLR concentrates its efforts on Range Rover and Defender products, it may mean we’ll have to wait and see how the company approaches reinventing the Discovery - although it claims that EMA is flexible enough to accommodate a three-row, seven-seat family vehicle.

Will the new Defender Sport be a sales success for JLR? Have your say in the comments...

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Executive editor

Paul was employed across automotive agency and manufacturer-side sectors before joining Auto Express in 2020 as our online reviews editor. After a brief sojourn at a national UK newspaper, Paul returned as executive editor where he now works closely with our commercial partners.

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