The new Land Rover Defender line-up is being expanded with commercial version that represents a nod to the past.
Land Rover has confirmed the new commercial Defender 90 and 110 models being launched this year will restore the Hard Top name to the Defender family.
And the commercial Defender derivatives are to be made on the edge of Coventry, being produced at Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) centre in Ryton.
Land Rover says the commercial Defenders will combine “unstoppable all-terrain capability with 21st-century connectivity” and deliver a combination of cargo space, practicality and premium comfort.
The Hard Top name dates back to 1950, when the introduction of demountable ‘hard tops’ gave early Series Land Rovers added security and protection from the elements.
The new Hard Top models are expected to start from £35,000 – not including VAT.
Michael van der Sande, managing director, Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, said: “We will maximise the functionality and usability of new Defender’s cargo area, with tough materials and clever storage solutions to ensure it surpasses the capability of any previous Defender Hard Top.”
The 90 and 110 Hard Tops will both feature independent coil-sprung suspension, with advanced electronic air suspension also available on the 110.
Both set-ups will offer ground clearance of 291mm, while the 110 Hard Top will have approach, breakover and departure angles of up to 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively (in Off-Road height).
Nick Collins, Land Rover vehicle line director, said: “New Defender 90 and 110 Hard Top will be the toughest, most capable and most connected commercial 4x4s we have ever produced.
“They have been engineered to meet global safety standards and deliver impressive long-haul comfort, giving businesses and professionals the best of all worlds.”
The Defender Hard Tops will have a payload and towing capacity of up 3,500kg.
The cabin has no second or third-row seats, but the optional front-row jump seat means it can accommodate up to three people.
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It will also feature some clever and modern technological features designed to make using a Hard Top for commercial purposes as easy as possible for owners.
They include Land Rover’s ClearSight Rear View mirror system, which preserves rearward visibility when the jump seat is occupied, or when the load space is full.
It uses a live video feed from a rear-facing camera to give drivers an unobstructed view at all times.
A raft of technologies will help drivers hitch, drive and reverse safely while pulling a trailer. Land Rover’s intelligent Advanced Tow Assist system aims too take the stress out of difficult reversing manoeuvres by letting drivers steer trailers with their fingertips using a rotary controller on the centre console.
The maximum wading depth of 900mm is also supported by a new Wade programme in the Terrain Response 2 system, which ensures drivers can ford deep water with complete confidence.
Land Rover’s state-of-the-art Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment will provide immediate and intuitive control of all the major vehicle functions, including smartphone integration using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Defender Hard Top models will also feature a comprehensive suite of advanced driver assistance Systems, including Land Rover’s 3D Surround Camera system.
It provides an all-round visualisation of the vehicle on the central touchscreen, helping drivers manoeuvre safely in tight spaces or position the vehicle close to items ready for loading.