Land Rover to Join Luxury Pickup Fray with 2020 Defender Variant
Land Rover will reportedly produce a pickup variant of the 2020 Defender, giving the company a rival to luxury trucks like the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
It won’t be the first pickup to wear the Land Rover badge, as the company has marketed cargo-friendly versions of its Series and Defender products since 1954. However, unlike those later Defender pickups, the 2020 model will likely only be available in a single cab configuration with two doors, limiting seating to two or three passengers. Autocar cites easier adaptability as the reason behind limiting the Defender pickup to one cab variant—a single cab would fit more easily on the Defender’s new platform than a double cab.
The more utilitarian style would contrast slightly with Mercedes’ X-Class, which is available exclusively as a crew cab. As such, we’d expect the Defender to do battle with lower trims of the X-Class, rather than its high-zoot variants. Autocar provided an artist’s rendering of what that Defender pickup might look like. Its stubby design definitely looks purposeful and ready for action, with a smallish 6-foot bed grafted, unibody-style, onto the back of the cab.
The automotive news outlet also says the Defender pickup will likely appeal to markets in South America and Africa, places where consumers value reliability and ruggedness over style and luxury. Its single cab design will be a boon for those consumers, prioritizing payload capacity and bed space within a compact layout.
Whether the 2020 Defender and its pickup variant come to the U.S. is a mystery. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the legendary off-road nameplate return to American showrooms after a 23-year absence. But the Defender pickup could be a tougher sell here, particularly since most new trucks sold in the U.S. are more spacious crew cab variants. We’d bet Land Rover will make the Defender pickup an overseas-only affair, at least as long as it’s offered only in single cab form.