Land Rover has confirmed the new commercial Defender 90 and 110 models will restore the Hard Top name. The Defender Hard Top will be launched later this year. For the unknown, 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.
Land Rover claims that the Defender’s aluminium-intensive D7x body architecture is three times stiffer than the best body-on-frame designs. The car shares its body structure and next-generation Electrical Vehicle Architecture (EVA 2.0) with passenger models and the Defender Hard Top is being developed by Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations.
The 90 and 110 Hard Tops will both feature independent coil-sprung suspension, with electronic air suspension also available on the 110. Both set-ups will provide with a ground clearance of 291mm, while the 110 Hard Top will have an approach, a break over and departure angles of up to 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively (in Off-Road height).
An impressive payload and towing capacity of up 3,500kg will combine to make New Defender the ultimate commercial 4x4. The cabin has no second or third-row seats, but the optional front-row jump seat means it will still accommodate up to three people. Land Rover’s clever ClearSight rear-view mirror system 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.
The new Defender Hard Top will have a raft of technologies to help hitch, drive and reverse safely while pulling a trailer. Land Rover’s Advanced Tow Assist system lets the driver steer trailers 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 – so important supplies will always get through. Land Rover’s Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment will provide control of all the major vehicle functions, including seamless smartphone integration using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Twin eSIM technology underpins Pivi Pro and supports Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) capability, allowing customers to download updates for a variety of vehicle systems. For professionals using the Defender Hard Top for business, this will minimise time spent off the road as SOTA updates can be completed without the need to visit a Land Rover retailer.
In addition, the New Defender Hard Top models will feature a comprehensive suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. Land Rover’s 3D Surround Camera system 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.