What is it?

It’s the new New Land Rover Defender Hard Top ….. or commercial, or even van. Like the Landys of old it comes in 90 and 110 LWB versions but brings new levels of sophistication, capability, usability and toughness to the commercial 4×4.

It also brings 21st century connectivity and premium comfort, something you would never expect from the old workhorse in years gone by – in fact the Land Rover Hard Tops were introduced 70 years ago.

The more premium but just as durable interior of the new commercial model combines a two-seat passenger compartment – with the option of a third central jump seat – and a flexible, hard-wearing rear load bay that provides 1,355 and 2,059 litres of loadspace respectively.

By incorporating clever lockable underfloor storage solutions and a secure bulkhead partition, Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations have taken every step to maximise the space and practicality of the Defender in its transformation into the most usable and hard-wearing commercial Land Rover ever produced.

IMG 0874It is powered exclusively by Land Rover’s strong and efficient Ingenium diesel engines, including D200, D250 and D300 in-line six-cylinder variants. All make use of the latest advanced Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (iAWD) system to distribute power and torque for optimum performance and efficiency.

All Defender Hard Top models come with a practical cargo area with a fixed full-height partition to separate occupants from the generous load area. The bulkhead boosts security and safety and preserves the refined driving experience of the passenger model. The partition itself comes with four hanging hooks on the loadspace side, and two stowage nets on the cabin side of 110 models for small items.

The full-width load floor is completely flat, with up to six integrated lashing points, heavy-duty rubber mats and a set of lockable storage areas providing with 58 litres of underfloor stowage at the rear of both the 90 and 110. An additional underfloor area is fitted to the 110 Hard Top, where the footwells of the Defender passenger model would normally be found, providing 155 litres of hidden stowage, and the whole load area is illuminated by enhanced interior lighting five times brighter than the standard passenger Defender.

Additionally, high-sided rubber mats for the front footwells add to the rugged nature of the passenger compartment – and when the time comes to clean the interior out, the all-rubber floor coverings can be hosed down.

The Hard Top’s load area is accessed via the side-hinged rear tailgate, while the rear side doors on 110 variants boost practicality and give customers the flexibility to access smaller items located towards the front without the need to move bulky objects out of the way. The interior rear door panels also feature a unique slimline profile to maximise loadspace inside. If required, the 110 Hard Top can accommodate a standard Euro Pallet thanks to its wide-opening tailgate and generous proportions. The maximum load length measures up to 1,472mm in the 110 and lashing points ensure large loads can be safely secured in place.

Customers can add bespoke signage to the Defender Hard Top’s silhouette, thanks to the Exterior Signage Panel behind the front row of seats that runs to the rear of the vehicle, while a variety of roof racks and accessories provide added scope for load carrying.

Defender Hard Top load space in numbers:

90 Hard Top 110 Hard Top
Maximum load floor length: 1,030mm 1,472mm
Maximum load floor width: 1,326mm 1,423mm
Maximum load height: 947mm 937mm
Load space capacity: (inc underfloor stowage) 1,355 litres 2,059 litres
Payload: (depends on Engine & Specification Pack) 670kg 778-800kg

 

What do we think?

As you would expect, the Defender Hard Top provides exceptional off-road capability in tandem with strong load carrying capacity. Both 90 and 110 (which we reviews) models are equipped with independent coil-sprung suspension, with advanced Electronic Air Suspension available on the 110. Electronic Air Suspension provides outstanding off-road geometry, with ground clearance of 291mm, and approach, breakover and departure angles as the passenger models – up to 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively for the 110 (in Off-Road Height).

The Hard Top also demonstrates impressive towing prowess, with the ability to pull up to 3,500kg, and it will wade through water up to 900mm deep, assisted by the Wade programme in the Terrain Response 2 system that ensures drivers can cross flooded roads or tracks with confidence.

IMG 0871Land Rover’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system is instrumental in enabling customers to go anywhere. The new intelligent driveline system uses sensor data from driver inputs and vehicle surroundings to continually vary axle torque and deliver it to where it’s needed. This torque distribution arrangement optimises the vehicle not only for traction and on-road dynamics, but it also contributes to driveline efficiency with lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy, without sacrificing any of the Defender’s unrivalled off-road capability.

Our 110 review model certainly dealt with the muddy, hilly farmlands of Dorset and was of much interest to the farming community – but did it stack up against the trusty old Landy workhorses that inhabit this corner of the world? Size was the main comment, the Defender 110 is a mighty beast, dwarfing the old models,  but what about practicality?

There is plenty of room for hay bales and a few sheep but there was concern over those secure under floor stowage areas – you don’t want to know what swills around the floor of a farm Land Rover and you really don’t want it seeping into your valuables – maybe just a little too posh?

Perhaps the new Land Rover Commercial will appeal more to the likes of construction or utility businesses who need to carry and tow across rough ground.

IMG 0875Power for the Defender Hard Top comes from a choice of advanced Ingenium diesel engines mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with twin-speed transfer box. The 110 is available with the D250 or D300 in-line six-cylinder diesel engines,  featuring MHEV technology and the option of Electronic Air Suspension. The D250 we tried delivers 249PS and 570Nm of torque. It’s plenty man enough on the hills and in the fields and proved to be a very smooth on road and motorway operator. Fuel economy panned out at 26.6mpg.

The 48-volt mild hybrid system harvests energy usually lost when slowing down and stores it in a battery under the rear floor of the vehicle. This energy is then redeployed to provide torque assistance during stop/start driving, providing smoother and more economical driving.

The gearbox is a smooth eight-speed auto and feel very good. It also makes good decisions when it comes to off road work. It is possible to shift manually by moving the gear-lever to one side and pushing for downshifts or pulling for upshifts.

In the cabin, Land Rover’s Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment provides immediate and intuitive control of all the major vehicle functions, including seamless smartphone integration using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. One slight niggle was that the system too a quarter of an hour to wake up one morning!

IMG 0876Twin 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.

There is a comprehensive set of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems including Land Rover’s 3D Surround Camera system that provides 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.

For an uncompromised view out of the rear of the vehicle – regardless of whether the load space is full or if there’s a passenger in the optional Jump Seat – Land Rover’s ClearSight Rear View camera provides an uninterrupted view out the rear of the vehicle at the flick of a switch on the bottom of the rear-view mirror.

The centre ‘jump seat’ is ok for shortish trips provided the occupant is not too wide of girth. It’s better used folded where it makes a nice comfortable armrest with a couple of cupholders and built-in power and USB ports

 

Defender 110 D250 Hard Top

From:  £41,968 excl. VAT
From: £52,460 incl. VAT OTR
Engine: 3.0L Diesel MHEV AWD Auto
Max power: 249hp
Max torque: 570nmFuel Economy (on test): 26.6mpg
CO2 Emissions: 251g/km
0-62mpg: 8.4 secs
Top speed:  117mph

Options Fitted to test vehicle

  • Tasman Blue Paint – £895
  • 18” Style “5093” Gloss White Steel – no cost option
  • Front Jump Seat – £815
  • Electronic Active Differential with Torque Vectoring
    by Braking – £1,020
  • Electrically Deployable Tow Bar – £1,130
  • ClearSight interior rear view mirror – £525
  • Off-Road Tyres – £255
  • Secure Tracker Pro – £745

Price as Tested – £60,780

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