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Land Rover’s Hard Top branding becoming serious business

PRETORIA, South Africa – Land Rover has confirmed that the 2020 commercial Defender 90 and 110 units will restore the Hard Top name to its 4×4 family but notes:

”The New Defender 90 and 110 Hard Tops are not planned for introduction to South Africa. Land Rover SA has reviewed the potential for introduction of the models and is confident that the mix of New Defender 90 and 110 models actually scheduled for introduction will fulfill the needs of our customers.”

Nevertheless, here’s what they are all about… and you can find more Land Rover features here.

The ”versatile and durable” Defender Hard Top will, Landy US says, be launched later in 2020 to combine its all-terrain ability with 21st-century connectivity to give professionals ”a special combination of cargo space, practicality, and comfort”.

LAND ROVER THROUGH THE AGES. Image: Land Rover UK

Indeed, the Hard Top name dates back to 1950, two years after the first Land Rover hit the mud, when the introduction of demountable hard load-bed covers gave early Series Land Rovers load security and weather protection. Now the 2020 Defender Hard Top promises to continues this ethos with a fixed metal roof and the silhouette with the original.

Land Rover told The Corner in a media release  it has experienced ”unprecedented” global demand for the latest Defender 90 and 110 since its world premiere in September 2019,

The Defender’s aluminium-intensive D7x body is said to be three times stiffer than the best body-on-frame designs and will share its strong body structure and next-generation battery-powered architecture with the passenger models.

LOAD ‘EM UP! Going for goods – Land Rover UK is aiming for the off-road/tough conditions delivery market with its latest Defenders.  Image: Land Rover UK

The Defender Hard Top is being developed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations with the intention of producing load-carriers ”with unrivalled durability, practicality and toughness”.

Michael van der Sande, Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations MD, reported: “We’ll maximise the functionality and usability of the Defender’s cargo area with tough materials and clever storage solutions to ensure it exceeds the capability of any previous Defender Hard Top.”

MORE DETAILS LATER IN THE YEAR

The tougher trucks will each have independent coil-spring suspension – though electronic air suspension will be an option for the 110. Each, however, ”will provide outstanding off-road geometry with ground clearance of 291mm, indeed, the the 110 Hard Top will have approach, breakover and departure angles of up to 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively.

More detail will, The Corner was told, be defined and reported later in 2020. 

Nick Collins, the Land Rover Vehicle Line’s director, asserted: “The coming Defender 90 and 110 Hard Top will be our toughest, most capable, most connected, commercial 4x4s yet. They’ve been engineered to meet not only global safety standards and  impressive long-haul comfort but also to give businesses and professionals the best of all worlds.”

…BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN you can’t have fun at weekends. Image: Land Rover UK

A payload and towing capacity of up 3500kg*, The Corner was told, ”will make New Defender the best-yet commercial 4×4. The cabin has no second- or third-row seats but an optional front-row jump seat means it will still accommodate three people but also adjust to maintain the driver’s rearward vision using a feed from a rear-facing camera.

The Hard Toppers will also, Landy says, be a world-class tow vehicle thanks to technology to help hitch, drive, and reverse safely with a trailer attached. The ”Tow Assist”, landy says, ”will take the stress out of a difficult reverse by letting the driver steer with their fingertips using a rotary controller on the centre console.

READ MORE Defender features on Carman’s Corner

A maximum wading depth of 900mm will be supported by a new Wade programme in the Terrain Response system: the trucks will, we’re told, ”ford deep water with complete confidence”.

”Important supplies will always get through,” is the Landy promise. (Perhaps, The Corner thinks, with the use of a snorkel system?)

A Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment set-up will provide immediate and intuitive control of all major vehicle functions – among them smartphone integration using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

TOUCH UP YOUR SOFTWARE

Software-over-the-Air (Sota) capability will make updates for a number of vehicle systems possible without help from a Land Rover retailer. Already in place, however, (July 2020) is a 3D Surround Camera system and a smartphone app will keep drivers and managers up-to-date with vehicles’ location, fuel level, and journey history.

*3500kg for UK, Europe and the rest of the world (except SA – for now?)

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