The New Compact Land Rover Defender Will Dethrone Rivals

The Ford Bronco Sport and Jeep Renegade might be shaking in their rims, because a new compact Land Rover Defender is on the way. SUVs are getting smaller, trucks are getting bigger, plus little unibody trucks are becoming a thing with the upcoming Ford Maverick. What a time for the auto industry. 

A new compact Land Rover Defender is coming 

Land Rover is looking to jump on the compact SUV bandwagon by extending its lineup. According to MotorAuthority, Land Rover will launch a compact version of the Defender model in 2022. 

2021 Land Rover Defender
2021 Land Rover Defender | Land Rover

Along with styling cues from the larger Land Rover Defender, the compact model may come with a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3 engine at launch. Then it will have a plug-in hybrid version come out later. 

Because the tiny Defender will have standard front-wheel drive available and optional all-wheel drive, we can gather that it may use the PTA (Premium Trabers Architecture) platform. This is the same platform used by the Jaguar E-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. 

Before the Land Rover Defender was redesigned for 2020, Land Rover discussed using the Defender nameplate for a series of models. This would be similar to how the discovery and Range rover names were expanded. 

Defender models will be aimed at off-roading enthusiasts, and Range Rover models are aimed at luxury consumers. Also, the Discovery nameplate is used for families that need versatility.

The Baby Defender will be arriving with the Road Rover EV, which will share the same battery technology as the Electric Jaguar XJ. Also, the Land Rover EV will arrive in 2022. 

Is the 2021 Land Rover Defender a good SUV? 

Yes, the 2021 Land Rover Defender is an excellent off-roading option. The Land Rover is an icon worldwide, and according to CarandDriver, the updated model only continues this tradition by modernizing its legacy. 

A silver 2021 Land Rover Defender 110 drives through the desert
2021 Land Rover Defender 110 | Land Rover

But the legacy doesn’t come cheap. The 2021 Land Rover Defender has an MSRP of around $46,100. So, that’s a pretty high price before dealerships add their markups to gain a profit per sale. 

Before the price tag scares you away, know that a lot is included. All-wheel drive comes standard on each model with locking differentials. Despite having a unibody frame instead of a traditional body-on-frame setup, this SUV can go anywhere. It has 11.5-inches of ground clearance height and can ford through 35.4-inches of water. 

2021 Land Rover Defender features 

The 2021 Land Rover Defender comes with a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but you can upgrade to the 3.0-liter inline 6 engine with 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.

2020 Land Rover Defender
2020 Land Rover Defender | Land Rover

CarandDriver was disappointed with the lack of pep with this engine. Also, this beast only gets an EPA estimated 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. 

In the interior, you’ll find a rugged look that’s also luxurious. The interior is comfortable and quiet, but the cargo space is a little limited. The 10-inch infotainment center comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For a bit more money, you can gain a digital cluster gauge and a heads-up display. 

The Land Rover Defender is the brand's newest off-roading SUV.
Land Rover Defender | Sjoerd van der Wal via Getty Images

The 2021 Land Rover Defender Is Surprisingly Reasonable

Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assistance. It will be interesting to see which features and how much power is included with the upcoming baby version.