Is a ute version of the new Land Rover Defender on the cards?
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When it comes to off-road utes, the double-cab offerings in New Zealand may cut the mustard off the tarmac, but simply don't ooze ruggedness in the way that the Land Rover Defender or Jeep Gladiator do.
While the Gladiator is a certified ute, those holding out for another Defender-based double-cab will have search elsewhere as the British brand has seemingly quashed all hopes of it happening.
Late last year, when asked about a new Defender-based ute, a high-level Land Rover insider responded by saynig that the new five-door off-roader is essentially a "ute with a roof". And no one could argue with that logic.
More recently, a report out of the UK reaffirms that brand's plans to ditch the ute, but is down to down to different reasoning.
The report states that the new Defender-based ute is "technically possible" on the D7x platform, but it doesn't make business sense for Land Rover to enter the commercial segment without the adequate expertise.
Despite this hesitance towards the ute, Land Rover is reportedly looking into releasing a number of Defender variants, including a smaller 'baby' Defender, a Defender 90 commercial, and a larger Defender 130.
This massive Defender 130 will sit atop the line-up, and offer seating for up to eight occupants. There are rumours of it coming in August this year, but Covid-19 lockdowns will probably affect this.
Another important addition will be the plug-in hybrid model, but the release date for this is not yet known.