Land Rover expects the Hard Top commercial version to command one in four sales of its new Defender 4x4.
The manufacturer launched the model at the end of 2020, having stopped producing its iconic predecessor in 2016. Andrew Jago, general manager fleet and business for Land Rover UK, is confident the new Defender will win back the customers who have migrated to the pick-up sector since the withdrawal of the old Defender five years ago.
“The pick-up market gives an opportunity to Land Rover with rivals leaving [the sector],” said Jago. During the last year Mercedes, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi and Nissan have all either withdrawn their pick-ups from the UK market or indicated their intention to do so.
Jago claims the Hard Top Defender’s all-in-one body design is more discreet than those of pick-ups, which have a bolt-on load bed, and therefore less likely to attract thieves looking to steal tools left in the vehicle.
He says small businesses and owner-drivers will make up 70% of Hard Top Defender customers with large corporate fleets accounting for 30% of sales.
The Defender Hard Top is available in 90 and 110 versions, with 1.4m3 and 2.1m3 of load space and 670kg and 800kg payloads respectively.
Both models come with a fixed full-height partition to separate occupants from the load area. The partition comes with four hanging hooks on the load bay side and two cabin-side stowage nets on the 110 for smaller items.
The full-width load floor is flat, with up to six integrated lashing points and heavy-duty rubber mats.
There’s a 58-litre underfloor stowage area at the rear of both models, while the 110 also gets a 155-litre area where the rear footwells would be on the passenger-carrying variant.
Access to the load area is via a side-hinged rear tailgate, and also, on the 110, via the rear side doors.
All models are all-wheel drive and come with eight-speed automatic transmission with a twin-speed transfer box.
The 90 is powered by a 200hp diesel engine while the 110 gets either a 249hp or 300hp diesel. All are equipped with mild hybrid systems, and meet the RDE2 and Euro 6d-Final standards.
The Defender has a wading depth of up to 900m and towing capacity of 3,500kg.
The 90 is available only in the entry-level Defender trim level but the 110 is available in Defender, S, SE and HSE. Jago expects sales to be split 50/50 between the two Hard Top versions.