From the UK comes news that Land Rover is to revive its Hard Top moniker – a name that traces its roots back to the 1950s – for use on commercial vehicle variants of the new Defender 90 and Defender 110 4x4 range.
While the revived Defender has copped some criticism from purists for leaving rough and rugged origins behind, in favour of a much more modern construction and platform, the Hard Top range is set to keep things relatively simple.
Configured as a Light Goods Vehicle, full specification details of the Defender Hard Top are still to come, but the 4x4 specialist has offered a first look and some early details for the production version of what will essentially be a stripped out version of the new Defender, having previously shown the commercial version in concept form at the 2019 Frankfurt motor show.
The most obvious change to the Defender Hard Top is the deletion of the rearmost side windows, but the brand maintains towing, payload and off-road ability will remain as key attributes.
Like passenger versions of the Defender, the Hard Top models use the aluminum-intensive D7x platform and fully independent coil spring suspension. The five-door 110 Hard top will also be available with the option of adjustable air suspension allowing up to 291mm of ground clearance and a 900mm wading depth.
Maximum towing capacity is stated at 3500kg and interior capacity will favour cargo over people with no second or third row seating available.
Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations managing director, Michael van der Sande said of the interior, “We will maximise the functionality and usability of New Defender’s cargo area, with tough materials and clever storage solutions to ensure it surpasses the capability of any previous Defender Hard Top.”
In order to maintain some staff-carrying capacity the Defender Hard Top will be optionally available with an optional front row jump seat to carry up to three occupants, and in conjunction with Land Rover’s ClearSight camera-fed rear view mirror means rearward visibility remains intact. Unfortunately Land Rover hasn't released any interior or cargo bay images.
Other features from the passenger-grade Defenders to make their way across include Intelligent Advanced Tow Assist for easier one-touch trailer reversing, Pivo Pro infotainment for access to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Software-Over-The-Air updates, remote vehicle tracking and status check, advanced driver assist tech and 3D surround camera views to assist with everything from loading to off-roading.
Pricing is set to start from £35,500 plus taxes in the UK, which equates to roughly $63,600 locally as a direct conversion. Currently the cheapest Defender 110 available in Australia is the D200 powered by a 147kW/430Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine from $69,990 plus on-road costs. Other engine options include a more powerful 177kW/430Nm diesel, and a 294kW/550Nm 3.0-litre turbo petrol straight six.
Land Rover has yet to announce which engine options will be available for the Hard Top variant.
Although details remain light at this stage, Land Rover Australia has confirmed both the Defender 90 and 110 Hard Top are being evaluated for sale in Australia with timing and availability to be confirmed. Passenger versions of the Defender 110 are on sale now with the first deliveries set to take place in August 2020.