[UPDATE: Land Rover South Africa says these new commercial variants will not be offered locally. The company says it has “reviewed the potential for introduction of the models and is confident that the mix of new Defender 90 and 110 models scheduled for introduction will fulfil the needs of our customers”.]
Land Rover has revealed the first images of a new commercial version of its Defender, reviving the “Hard Top” name in the process.
Developed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, the workhorse version of the Defender will be offered in both 90 and 110 guise. Of course, the company previously said it had no plans to build a bakkie version of the new Defender, so this is the next best thing.
The Whitley-based firm says its Defender Hard Top will be launched later in 2020, combining “unstoppable all-terrain capability with 21st-century connectivity” to give commercial buyers a “unique combination of cargo space, practicality and premium comfort”.
So, what’s with the name? Well, the Hard Top moniker dates back to 1950, when removable hard tops were introduced on early Series Land Rovers. The new version, however, has a fixed rather than detachable roof.
Hard Top models will feature independent coil-sprung suspension, with the Defender 110 version also available with electronic air suspension.
As standard, the Hard Top models will boast a ground clearance of 291 mm and a maximum wading depth of 900mm, while the 110 will feature approach, breakover and departure angles of “up to” 38, 28 and 40 degrees, respectively, in “off-road height”. Land Rover promises the newcomer will feature an “impressive” payload and a braked towing capacity “of up 3 500 kg”.
The cabin does without second or third-row seats, although the optional front-row “jump seat” means it will still be able accommodate up to three people. Inside, you’ll furthermore find the firm’s Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment system, complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. The company has yet to release official images of the cockpit.