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All-New Land Rover Defender Hard Top Review – Unstoppable Capability.

New Land Rover Defender Hard Top – Unstoppable Capability.

The all-new Land Rover Defender Hard Top provides a unique combination of off-road capability, long-haul comfort, toughness and durability in the commercial vehicle sector. The Hard Top name dates back to the 1950 original and has been revived for the most durable and practical member of the new Defender family. Available in 90 (short-wheel-base with a payload up to 670kg) and 110 (long-wheel-base with a payload up to 800kg) body designs, the new Defender Hard Top provides 1,355 and 2,059-litres of cargo space respectively. The flexible load area features full rubber floor coverings, lashing points, hooks, lockable underfloor storage and a full bulkhead partition for security and safety.

Luxuriously Appointed.

The meticulously constructed and luxuriously-appointed cabin of the new Defender Hard Top model combines a two-seat passenger compartment, with the option of a third central ‘jump seat’ which can be used as a very handy armrest (with integrated cup-holders) when it is folded flat. The Hard Top 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.

Ingenious ‘Ingenium’ Engines.

The Defender Hard Top is powered exclusively by Land Rover’s strong and efficient 3.0-litre ‘Ingenium’ diesel engines, including D200, D250 and D300 in-line six-cylinder variants which produce 200PS (500Nm), 250PS (570Nm) and 300PS (650Nm) respectively – all of which are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with a twin-speed transfer box. Both 90 and 110 Hard Top models are equipped with independent coil-sprung suspension, with advanced Electronic Air Suspension available on the 110 variant. Both set-ups provide outstanding off-road geometry with ground clearance of 291mm, while Land Rover’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system provides drivers with the ability to confidently 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 is 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 emissions and improved fuel economy, without sacrificing any of the Defender’s unrivalled off-road capability.

Trim Levels.

The rugged Defender 90 Hard Top comes exclusively in ‘Defender’ specification with durable Ebony fabric seats and rubber flooring throughout. Defender 110 Hard Top customers can choose from four specifications – Defender, S, SE and range-topping HSE – with a range of exterior and interior enhancements and wheel choices available. Land Rover’s state-of-the-art Pivi Pro touchscreen infotainment system provides immediate and intuitive 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. The Defender 110 Hard Top features opaque black tinted glass on the outside, while inside the SUV’s door trim is extended up so the extra plastic covers the side of the glass – a very useful security feature. All new Defender Hard Top models feature a comprehensive set of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. This includes 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.

Vehicle on Review.

My new Land Rover Defender review vehicle was a 110 Hard Top ‘S’ with 250PS which was finished in stylish Eiger Grey metallic paint with Ebony Grained Leather and Robust Woven Textile seating. Key standard features include dual-zone climate control, 19” 6-spoke ‘Style’ alloy wheels with a 19” full-size spare wheel (tailgate door-mounted), all-season tyres, LED headlights with Auto High Beam Assist, keyless entry, leather steering wheel and a leather gearshift, Open Differential with Torque Vectoring by Braking, cruise control with speed limiter, 4-way seat lumbar support, and a 10” touchscreen. 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 easily 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 provide the flexibility to access smaller items located towards the front without the need to move bulky objects out of the way. 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, while lashing points ensure large loads can be safely secured in place.

Road Test.

On the road is where the new Defender Hard Top really excels, with it proving itself to be as accomplished as a luxury SUV and as practical as a pick-up truck. Cabin refinement is exceptional, overall build quality is faultless and, in my opinion, the Defender is the most comfortable commercial vehicle on the planet. In every important area, the new Defender is light years ahead of its predecessor, and this becomes obvious the moment you take a place inside the new Defender’s spacious cabin. Light steering means the Defender is easy to manoeuvre, while front and rear parking sensors, along with big door mirrors, ensure you can get in and out of parking spaces in a fuss-free manner. A useful option to consider is Land Rover’s Clearsight Rear View Mirror, as it swaps the standard mirror view for an image relayed from a roof-mounted camera. This is a great addition in the Hard Top as the standard mirror is obscured by the mesh opening in the bulkhead and by the spare wheel on the tailgate door. The mighty 3.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine in the new Defender certainly packs a punch, and there is plenty of torque available, while the standard eight-speed automatic transmission slips smoothly through the gears, and makes every journey thoroughly enjoyable. The Terrain Response system in the Defender is the same as you will find in Land Rover’s SUV’s, and it offers electronic control of power distribution, suspension ride height and diffs to deliver outstanding off-road ability.

Verdict & Pricing.

Land Rover Defenders have always thrived in the harshest environments right across the globe, and the new Defender Hard Top continues this tradition by being a true no-nonsense vehicle that will take whatever is thrown at it, or in it. The utterly desirable Defender Hard Top is on sale at Land Rover dealerships nationwide, with prices starting at €61,680.

Review by DG/Motoring Matters.

Visit www.landrover.ie for further information.

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