Land Rover will revive the Hard Top name for the forthcoming commercial version of the new Defender, with the firm promising the new machine will offer “a unique combination of cargo space, practicality and comfort”.
The Hard Top moniker was first used by the British brand in 1950, when a removable roof was introduced for the Series 1 Land Rover.
The new commercial Defender will launch later this year Europe in three-door 90 and long-wheelbase, five-door 110 forms, however it is unknown if this option will be available in Australia.
The Defender Hard Top is being developed by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations division. While the firm has yet to reveal full technical information, it says the machine is designed to offer maximum cargo space, while maintaining the premium features from the passenger versions of the new Defender.
Both 90 and 110 Hard Top models use independent coil-sprung suspension, with electronic air suspension optional on the larger model.
Both have 291mm ground clearance, while the 110 offers maximum approach, breakover and departure angles of 38deg, 28deg and 40deg respectively, along with a 900mm wading depth. The ability to ford deep water is further aided by a special Wade mode as part of the Terrain Response 2 system.
The Hard Tops also have a 3,500kg towing capacity, and will feature a range of systems to make towing easier. That included Advanced Tow Assist, which allows drivers to steer trailers using the rotary dial on the centre controle.
Land Rover Special Operations boss Michael van der Sande said that the interior of the Hard Top was designed to “maximise the functionality and usability” of the cargo area, using “tough materials and clever storage solutions to ensure it surpasses the capability of any previous Defender Hard Top”.
To maximise cargo space, the cabin doesn’t keep the second or third row of seats, but it will offer the option of a ‘jump seat’ that allows three people to sit in the front row. Land Rover’s ClearSight rear-view mirror, which can show images from a HD rear camera on the rear-view mirror, will be available to make reversing easier if a full load in the cargo bay is limiting visibility.
As with the standard Defender, the Hard Top features Jaguar Land Rover’s latest infotainment and driver assistance features, including the latest version of the firm’s Pivi Pro infotainment system. This will include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatability, and the ability to receive wireless software updates.
The system also works with a Land Rover smartphone app, which can be used by businesses to remotely check the location, fuel level and journey history of their vehicles.