A new development in the fledgling story of the second-generation Land Rover Defender and what promises to be the best-selling model on these shores, this is the commercial version of the iconic 4x4 - the Defender 90 and 110 Hard Top.
With the Hard Top name dating back to 1950, when removable sections of roof gave early 'Series' Landies added protection from the elements, its return for the commercial versions of the all-new Defender is poignant. Demand for the Mk2 has been high since it was revealed last September and the commercial should see good traction in Ireland.
The Defender's aluminium-intensive D7x body architecture is three times stiffer than any other comparable body-on-frame chassis and the Hard Top models will have the same Electrical Vehicle Architecture (EVA 2.0) as the passenger versions. Development of the Hard Tops is being handled by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO).
Both versions of the Defender Hard Top will feature independent coil-sprung suspension, with electronic air suspension an option on the longer 110 model. Either the 90 or the 110 Hard Top will have 291mm of ground clearance, while the 110 (running at Off-Road height) will offer approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively. The maximum wading depth will be 900mm.
Serious towing vehicle
Land Rover will unveil full technical details of the Defender Hard Top models later in the year, but for now, the company is happy to say the commercial versions will have 'an impressive payload' and towing capacity of up to 3,500kg; to that end, technologies aimed at assisting with hitch-up, driving and reversing safely with a trailer will all be included, as will Advanced Tow Assist - this allows drivers to steer a trailer using a rotary controller on the centre console.
There are no second- or third-row seats in the Defender Hard Top models, but an optional front-row jump-seat means either version will accommodate up to three people. Land Rover's ClearSight system, which uses a rear-facing camera's live video feed for the interior mirror, will be fitted, meaning visibility behind the vehicle will be unimpeded by any loads onboard.
The Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment is preserved for the Defender Hard Tops, which allows for smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Twin eSIM technology for Pivi Pro means that Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) capability is part of the Hard Tops' make-up, so professionals using the Land Rover won't always need to take the vehicle into dealerships, causing downtime for their business.
'Most capable commercial 4x4s'
Michael van der Sande, the managing director of Land Rover SVO, said: "We will maximise the functionality and usability of the new Defender's cargo area, with tough materials and clever storage solutions to ensure it surpasses the capability of any previous Defender Hard Top."
Nick Collins, Land Rover's vehicle line director, added: "The 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."
Irish prices and specs for the Land Rover Defender 90 and 110 Hard Top models have yet to be confirmed and we'll bring you full details on them as soon as they are announced.