New Land Rover Defender Sport previewed

New Land Rover Defender Sport SUV will feature tough looks, seating for five, and electric power...

 Land Rover Defender Sport rendering with What Car? watermark

On sale 2027 | Price from £50,000 (est)

Imagine a Land Rover Defender that's been put in the wash and shrunk. The resulting car should keep much of the off-road prowess and tough styling that’s made the Defender such a global icon among SUVs, but would hopefully offer a smaller shape and, potentially, a smaller price tag. Well, that's what we’re expecting from the Land Rover Defender Sport.

As its name suggests, the Defender Sport will be a more compact version of the full-size Defender. Its design will stay true to the latest Defender, too, with squared-off lower quarters, purposeful body cladding around its lower edges, and a tall, boxy roof to give its occupants good visibility around the car. 

Like the current Defender, the Defender Sport is also expected to offer an expansive suite of outdoors-themed add-ons, such as roof racks, space for carrying bikes or kayaks, and even a portable rinse system for cleaning off your gear after a day in the great outdoors. Its dimensions will make the Defender Sport a rival for the Toyota Land Cruiser, as well as other large SUVs including the Audi Q5 and BMW X3 and the cheaper Skoda Kodiaq.

Land Rover Defender V8 2022 RHD interior

Where the Defender Sport will differ significantly from its larger sibling is in the way it’s powered. That’s because the smaller Defender will be based on the same underpinnings as the next-generation Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Velar and Land Rover Discovery Sport – cars that are all intended to have an electric version from the outset.

This makes sense, with the Defender Sport planned to go on sale only three years before the proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK. It also fits with Jaguar Land Rover’s plan to have an electric model in each of its product lines by 2030. The regular Defender cannot be fully electrified because of the older underpinning sit sits on; instead, that car will remain available with plug-in hybrid power until around 2035.

Little is known about what size of battery the electric Defender Sport will have, but it’s expected to feature at least two motors to allow for four-wheel drive, and offer a range of at least 250 miles between charges. The Defender Sport’s batteries will be made by parent company Tata at a new facility it’s constructing in the UK. In terms of charging, the Defender Sport will be capable of utilising the fastest charging points, likely at a maximum rate of 350kW. That means a 10-80% top-up could be completed in the time it takes to stop for a coffee.

By the time the Defender Sport goes on sale in 2027, its rivals will include a new off-roadfocused SUV from Audi that’s expected to arrive in 2025, as well as the Mercedes-Benz EQG – essentially an electric 4x4 inspired by the venerable G-Class. Today’s Audi Q4 e-tron, BMW iX3 and Skoda Enyaq iV could also be considered rivals for the new model.

Land Rover Defender 130 front cornering

Inside, the Defender Sport is expected to follow the larger model’s lead with a rugged yet modern interior. Materials will be fairly utilitarian; the current Defender’s interior includes rubberised trim, for example, as well as wipe-clean leather surfaces that should stand up well to the rigours of family life.

The infotainment system is likely to be an evolution of the one that has impressed us in the Defender, with its 11.4in touchscreen responding swiftly to inputs and having sharp graphics. A digital instrument panel is also expected to be standard.

While the regular Defender can be had in 90, 110 and 130 forms – the latter offering seating for up to eight people – it’s expected that the Defender Sport will be offered only in one length, and with five seats. Prices are a long way from being made official, but we’d expect the Defender Sport to cost from around £50,000, placing it in between the current Discovery Sport and regular Defender.

That’s also far less than we expect the EQG to come in at, given that the G-Class costs from £131,335. Land Rover’s first fully electric model – due by the end of next year – will be a batterypowered version of the Range Rover luxury SUV to rival the likes of the BMW iX and Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV. It utilises the same underpinnings as the existing petrol, diesel and hybrid versions and promises to deliver “true Range Rover values”, including off-road ability, usability and refinement. The Range Rover EV is expected to have a 110kWh battery and a longer range than the 292 miles (officially) of the Jaguar I-Pace.

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