The all-new Land Rover Defender has been engineered and developed from the ground up to meet the latest European and worldwide safety regulations, and the company believes it has every chance to gain the maximum five-star safety rating when it undergoes testing in the near future.
Speaking to the media at the Frankfurt motor show, Land Rover’s head engineer, Nick Rogers, who had his legs crushed in a vehicle accident at a younger age, said compromising on safety is simply out of the question.
“For me it's never even a conversation not to do it,” Rogers said about aiming for the highest safety rating.
The American brand has previously stated those looking for an off-road capable vehicle have different needs and are willing to compromise. Not so for the Defender, it seems.
“You have to be responsible ... It's your duty as an engineer to make a car that is not thinking about just occupants in the car, but also thinking about other people that you could unfortunately run into.”
Rogers said that his own personal belief in engineering the car to meet the absolute highest safety rating is how the whole company behaves.
“In my own mind, morally there is no debate, that’s how we behave. It’s not even a conversation. We will always shoot for the max for whatever we can do.”
Questions remain about the optional middle seat in the front row, which is not tested as part of the European safety tests, but Rogers says it has been engineered to be as safe as possible.
“Obviously the key structure can take the load. It's a key challenge, making sure we have a good seatbelt. It’s a complete stand-alone seat. We did a lot of work to make sure it can take the weight and any loads the vehicle would suffer in any event.”
As it stands, the middle seat doesn’t have its own airbag, but Land Rover has conducted plenty of its own internal testing, focusing on offset crashes to ensure the middle seat is capable of withstanding common frontal impacts.
When asked whether the new Defender will definitely get a five-star safety rating, Rogers said: “Can’t comment on any stars, but I can assure you we are following every single protocol, and even more than that. We have engineered everything to be in line with the latest consumer testing”.
Results from crash tests are likely to be released officially before the end of the year.