Autocar September 1, 2021

Autocar is the car nut’s weekly fix, delivering you a unique mix of the latest news, opinion, features, first drives of new cars and in-depth road tests – all complemented by the best photography in the business. No other magazine covers the subject you love with such enthusiasm, insight and quality every week of the year. Autocar stands for the highest quality in car journalism – and is rewarded with access to the best new cars and the biggest news stories before any of the opposition which we share with you, our readers, every week.

United Kingdom
Haymarket Media Group Ltd
R 70,97
R 1 775,93
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min
defender is poised to emulate range rover

BUOYED BY THE Range Rover family’s unstoppable ability to drive profits, Land Rover has long desired its Discovery and Defender nameplates to enjoy similar success and become established brands in their own right. In the case of the Discovery, desire is one thing, reality another. The ‘family’ has still not grown beyond two models since 2014 and it has suffered something of an identity crisis since the new Defender came along last year. Yet the Defender’s smash-hit earlysales performance is supporting Land Rover’s confidence that its most iconic nameplate could become another Range Rover with a line-up of cars. And not simply the same model with different wheelbase lengths, doors and seats, but also models with different bodystyles, as we reveal this week (p4). It’s a smart decision. Jaguar Land Rover is perhaps…

6 min
defender family to get all-new luxury flagship

“JLR bosses believe the Defender can be a high-profit business in the mould of Range Rover” Land Rover will soon crown its Defender range with the largest 130 model – but it is already investigating plans to turn the Defender nameplate into a model range in its own right. Under consideration is a luxurious version based on the next Range Rover’s underpinnings, along with a pick-up based on the standard model – but plans for a smaller version based on the Discovery Sport have been axed. Sources say Jaguar Land Rover bosses believe the Defender has the potential to become another high-profit business in the mould of Range Rover, with a line-up of distinct Defender-badged models in dealerships set to arrive by early 2025. If they prove successful, JLR’s fortunes would be…

1 min
three more defender variants on the cards

Hydrogen fuel cell JLR aims to achieve zero tailpipe emissions by 2036, but it is not pinning all its hopes on battery-electric vehicles. Its Project Zeus programme has been set up to develop hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, which the firm has called “complementary” to BEVs in its new-era product portfolio. A hydrogen-equipped Defender prototype will take to public roads later this year, with JLR highlighting the longer range, enhanced off-road ability and temperature-resistant performance of an FCEV powertrain as desirable attributes for an alternatively fuelled Defender. Pick-up Land Rover now offers panel-sided commercial vehicle versions of the Discovery and the Defender, but the brand has not had a pick-up model in its portfolio since 2016 – a market gap that it is set to plug with the introduction of a new Defender…

2 min
can land rover save the discovery brand?

So Land Rover is planning new Defender variants in addition to the current model and the Range Rover line-up will be four models strong – but the Discovery will remain a two-model family. Where does that leave the Discovery brand, then? Relative to the rest of the Land Rover line-up, the Discovery 5 is struggling in the market, with the Defender (made alongside it in JLR’s Slovakian factory) seemingly putting a further dent in customer demand for it. Discovery sales this year are unlikely to top 24,000 units. This drift downwards may get even more pronounced when the eight-seat Defender 130 is launched next year. It will be more expensive than the Discovery, but for affluent Land Rover buyers the 130 certainly looks more like the rugged off-roader the Discovery used to…

3 min
new sportage honed for europe

Kia has unveiled the European edition of the new fifth-generation Sportage – and it’s the first time in 28 years that it has offered a version of the SUV specifically developed for the region. The Sportage is among the Korean firm’s most successful models sold globally and the new version switches to the Hyundai Motor Group’s N3 platform. That architecture has allowed the firm to develop two distinct versions: a long-wheelbase model launched in June, intended for the South Korean and US markets; and this short-wheelbase variant, developed specifically for Europe, where it will be offered with a choice of mild-hybrid, ‘traditional’ hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. There won’t be an electric version, in part because the Sportage is a similar size to the forthcoming EV6, a bespoke electric crossover. The European version…

1 min
xuan goh, sportage product manager

How different is the European Sportage from the global version? “This model really is our baby, and Kia Europe has done extensive work on it. It’s less compromised than some global cars when the platform remains exactly the same. We were given latitude to change things to meet the tastes of European customers.” Is it hard finding the balance of pushing the design forward without putting off existing customers? “It’s a difficult process, but we’ve used customer research and some intuition. We’re hoping the fresh philosophy will attract some new customers and ensure we keep our existing customers happy. We try to balance pushing the design language on while keeping it still a Kia. We’ve got a very modern, fresh design but one that still has lots of nods and winks to the…