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Could a Baby Land Rover Defender Come to the United States?

It sure makes sense to us, and it might be here for 2027

2021 Land Rover Defender profile
  • A report from Autocar speculates a smaller Land Rover Defender could be in the works.
  • If it does come to fruition, there's no confirmation it would even make it stateside.
  • But given our SUV-hungry market, that makes perfect sense to us.

A report by AutoCar indicates that a new, much smaller version of the Land Rover Defender is in the works. A smaller version of the Defender has been rumored for years, but there has not been any indication it was in the pipeline until now. Even though Land Rover products are typically known for being capable off-road, the Discovery line isn't as rugged as its Defender sibling, and a smaller Defender would appeal to those who want something that looks the part.

The smaller Defender, which the report notes could be called the Defender Sport, will ride on Jaguar Land Rover’s new EMA electric vehicle platform and be positioned under the brand’s Evoque, Discovery Sport and Velar. AutoCar reports that CEO Adrian Mardell all but confirmed it, saying the “Range Rover, Defender and Discovery brands will come off that platform.”

Land Rover Defender 90 SWB family

For ages, Land Rover has indicated a fourth model line, and it appears this new Defender will be part of that, which will be built alongside three new electric SUVs. As indicated by Mardell above, these will all be next-gen variants of current models, which could mean significant face-lifts are in store for the brand over the coming years.
We should note that the EMA platform will lead to a very small SUV — the British have a very different definition of “compact” than Americans. Allegedly, the small SUV will be just 181 or so inches long and stand just under 71 inches tall. For reference, a Ford Bronco Sport’s length is 172.7 inches. It isn’t clear if this model will be making its way to the U.S., but the smaller Defender could be in dealers by 2027 if it does come stateside.

Edmunds says

There’s absolutely a market for a small premium SUV here in America, especially if that SUV has the off-road leanings of a Defender. In most U.S. cities, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a Bronco Sport, and we’ve no doubt a premium take on this formula would sell well here.