JLR could release a new small electric ‘Defender Sport’ as brand diversifies

JLR is likely to release a small electric 4x4 sitting below the Defender, that could be called the Defender Sport

Defender Sport render
  • Fully electric powertrain
  • Small SUV sitting below the Defender
  • Expected to arrive in 2027

It’s all change at JLR, with the carmaker having separated its core models into individual brands in recent times, plus the announcement of several new EVs to arrive in the coming years. It’s long been rumoured that Land Rover would release a smaller model of the Defender, and it looks like these rumours are getting closer to becoming reality.

JLR has recently announced an electric version of the Defender, and it’s expected that a smaller version will arrive as a fully electric model making use of the same platform, dubbed the Electrified Modular Architecture or EMA. 

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When we spoke to JLR CEO Adrian Mardell in an exclusive interview, he said “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.” 

It’s rumoured that the new baby Defender could be called the Defender Sport, in a similar vein to the Range Rover’s smaller sibling, the Range Rover Sport. Our exclusive renders show what the Defender Sport could look like.

We’d expect the smaller car to borrow styling cues from the core Defender model in order to help carve distinctive looks for each brand in the JLR family. Expect shorter overhangs and a boxy utilitarian look, staples of the Defender lineage, to feature on the Defender Sport.

The Defender Sport will also be more road-focused than the Defender, though it’s yet to be confirmed whether the new car will stay true to its all-wheel drive pedigree or offer two-wheel drive versions. Jeep is another brand known for its history of rugged off-roaders, and recently released its own two-wheel drive Avenger EV.

It’s very early days, and nothing is confirmed at this point, including powertrains, performance details and pricing, but naturally we’d expect the Defender Sport to start at a much lower price point than the larger Defender EV.

What does it mean for buyers?

JLR has been moving more and more upmarket through its history, with the most recent Defender moving in a much more premium direction than its utilitarian predecessor. JLR may be eager to tap into a new wave of buyers looking for a more affordable entry into Defender ownership that offers the lower running costs associated with electric vehicles. How affordable the Defender Sport will be against other EV rivals is yet to be seen, and it will be interesting to see what the car’s USP will be if it’s set to be less off-road capable.

Read our in-depth review of the Land Rover Defender, or check out our round-up of the best 4x4s on sale

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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