Land Rover had earlier announced plans for the new Defender to complete a final phase of field testing with the Tusk Trust, on location in Kenya. A Defender prototype wearing camouflage will experience life at the Borana Conservancy as part of Land Rover’s 15-year partnership with the Tusk Trust. The prototype will tow heavy loads, wade through rivers and carry supplies across unforgiving terrain in a series of real-world trials at the 14 000 hectare reserve.
By the time the new Defender makes its public debut later this year, it will have passed more than 45,000 individual tests in some of the most extreme environments on earth. Land Rover engineers have taken the test fleet to the 50-degree heat of the desert, the sub-40-degree cold of the Arctic, as well as up to 10,000 feet altitude of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
Nick Rogers, Director Group Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “In addition to the extensive simulation and rig testing, we’ve driven new Defender 1.2 million km across all terrains and in extreme climates to ensure that it is the toughest and most capable Land Rover ever made. The incredible opportunity to put it to the test in the field, supporting operations at the Borana Conservancy in Kenya, with Tusk, will allow our engineers to verify that we are meeting this target as we enter the final phase of our development programme.”
With on-road dynamics honed at the Nürburgring facility in Germany and all-terrain credentials tested on the muddy roads of Eastnor, UK, the rocky trails of Moab in Utah, and the sand dunes of Dubai, Land Rover plans to bring out a true and modern successor to the hugely successful Defender.
The new Defender has been designed and developed in the UK, at Gaydon, home to Land Rover’s design, engineering and testing facilities. The new home of global Defender production will be Land Rover’s recently opened state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia.
Land Rover has been an official partner of the Tusk Trust wildlife conservation charity for 15 years, helping to reach some of the world’s most remote locations. News of the testing initiative were announced to mark World Land Rover Day, which is celebrated on 30 April every year to mark the world premiere of the original Land Rover at the Amsterdam Motor Show on this day in 1948.