Jaguar to Build SUV Based on the New Land Rover Defender

Will the 2020 Defender’s brand-new platform lift both brands?

2020 Land Rover Defender testing
While the new 2020 Land Rover Defender [pictured here] gets ready for release, Jaguar announced its building an SUV on the platform.
Jaguar Land Rover
By Alex Lauer / July 23, 2019 4:50 pm

The most anticipated new vehicle this year is not, in fact, the new Corvette. (Though it may prove to be the most surprising.) It’s the all-new, back-from-the-dead Land Rover Defender, which will be unveiled this fall. And as it turns out, the Defender is a gift that keeps on giving.

Jaguar, Land Rover’s brother in arms, is working on a new SUV called the J-Pace. But unlike the brand’s acclaimed F-Pace and electric I-Pace — both of which won the World Car of the Year and World Car Design of the Year awards, per Gear Patrol — the company confirmed this week that the vehicle will be built on the 2020 Defender’s platform.

Specifically, the J-Pace will utilize Land Rover’s new MLA platform, which stands for “modular longitudinal architecture.”

“Using this platform for the J-Pace gives Jaguar flexibility moving forward,” explains Gear Patrol. “The MLA can accommodate internal combustion, hybrid and fully electric powertrains depending on future needs.”

It seems like a puzzling move, since both brands exist under the parent company Jaguar Land Rover, and one that could potentially put them in competition with each other. But as Gear Patrol notes, the main competitors will most likely be the “Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE, and maybe the base Porsche Cayenne.” More importantly, as many car segments are coming up short in sales, SUVs are still going strong, so there’s a need in the market to fill out the category with more diverse options for different kinds of drivers.

After all, while the Defender has been testing in “122°F desert heat, -40°F Arctic cold, 10,000-ft.-plus Rocky Mountain altitudes,” Jaguar’s J-Pace will be more suited for grocery hauling. Other details, including an unveiling date, are scarce at the moment. As Gear Patrol writes, “Jaguar revealed a prototype to World Car of the Year jurors at a private viewing.”

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