RE: 'Hard Top' returns to Land Rover Defender

RE: 'Hard Top' returns to Land Rover Defender

Tuesday 30th June

'Hard Top' returns to Land Rover Defender

The Defender for business is back, as is a historic nameplate - first details here



It was 70 years ago that 'Hard Top' was first used as a Land Rover designation, back when the early Series cars were given demountable hardtops to protect them from bad weather and scallywags. Having been used on and off since 1950, 'Hard Top' is now back as a permanent fixture in the Land Rover range, specifically referring to the new commercial Defenders.

Defenders for business have been, um, big business for a while, so it's little surprise to see them back in the range relatively soon after launch (indeed, they were previewed at the new Defender's unveiling). They were used by the army and utility companies for ages, but then became trendy - so every dog groomer, artisan baker and florist soon had to have a Defender as well. Expect this new Hard Top to prove just as popular - you don't need us to tell you how good that 'Wilks Bros' creation looks...

Ostensibly, the 'Hard Top' is a Defender 90 or 110 kitted out for commercial use. So, it has either two seats up front or three (with a central jump seat optional), a ClearSight rear mirror for when the seat is occupied (or the load space is full), a 3,500kg towing capacity and a "unique combination of cargo space, practicality and comfort."


Essentially, everything that's gone into making the regular Defender a resounding success is in the Hard Top models - except a few seats. Same D7x architecture, same 900mm wading depth and same Pivi Pro infotainment with software-over-the-air capability. There's just more space in the back for wedding cakes now. Or hay bales. Whatever commercial activities are required of it.

While Land Rover has confirmed that both Defender 90 and 110 will be available to business customers, the Hard Top hasn't officially launched yet. We've been told to expect that later this year, when full technical specifications and prices will be announced, although an indicative cost of Β£35,500 plus VAT has been suggested already. All of which means there's plenty of time to be thinking about how best to get the business advertised on the Hard Top, and just whether all of the peace lilies can really fit in the back of a 90. More details soon!







Author
Discussion

aston addict

Original Poster:

281 posts

113 months

Tuesday 30th June
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Is it just me or they are more appealing than the regular Defender??!

DanielSan

14,942 posts

122 months

Tuesday 30th June
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I'll take mine in green please, 90 spec with the 3 seats so we can take the dog, and add the roof tent option. The perfect mountain bike weekend chariot.

Jader1973

2,182 posts

155 months

Tuesday 30th June
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aston addict said:
Is it just me or they are more appealing than the regular Defender??!
Not just you. These look a lot better than the others.

Looks way better without the stupid body colour panel on the back window.

GT03ROB

8,973 posts

176 months

Tuesday 30th June
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Suddenly seems to look like the old defender.

dxg

5,745 posts

215 months

Tuesday 30th June
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Looking at the last photo, those front wings must be metal, then. How on earth do they get pressed into that shape? Imagine the stress around the headlight opening.

Had assumed they would be composite...

jakeb

185 posts

149 months

Tuesday 30th June
quotequote all
The problem with these is lack of rear seats v a double cab so not entirely useful for the business owner with a family or some friends who wants to save some tax.

You can mess around with these "temporary" seats etc and wait for the VAT inspection or just buy an Amarok/Navara/Ranger/X-Crap and fit 5 people in and a pallet in the boot and save a load of money.

Most farmers (who haven't got a double cab) are running "pool" cars these days, so they just buy the normal ones (almost new with a wadge of notes for maximum discount) and run it through the business on the basis that they don't drive to work.

It also means they can drive their DIscovery at 70mph on a dual carriageway (whilst travelling on farm business obviously) where as the commercial DIscovery/Defender can only do 60mph (or 50mph on an 60mph road) .

Edited by jakeb on Tuesday 30th June 06:24

Numeric

569 posts

106 months

Tuesday 30th June
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I went and had a poke around the normal Defender over the weekend and was very surprised how I felt about it, surprisingly disapointed.

As I had only seen it in pictures I had assumed it was a lot more practical - so I used a lot of Disco 3 and 4 including the commercial 3 and found the space in the back was brilliant as it had a lot of vertical hight - exactly the thing most big 4x4 lack - so the inside of a Q7 is very low.

From a functionality point of view this is very important - imagine putting bicycles in the back - upright is great and you get a lot more in more easily than laying them on their sides. The new Disco completely lost this advantage and I found it long but cramped.

The defender seems to have much less vertical height inside then I imagined with a relatively small apperture - so not the replacement for the Disco 4 I had imagined they were going for and also seems less high than the old Defender.

As for looks - well it did look a bit dull to me but the colours were horrid on the ones I saw and did them no favours.

As for speed limits - if a vehcile retains rear seats and is a 'combi' commercial it is OK to drive at 60 on an A road, otherwise it is 50 if no rear seats - important to remember, with a further caveat that if the 'empty weight' (this is not the same as kerb weight be that EU or UK standard) exceeds 2040kg it is also restricted to 50 mph, so most posh pickups with a full hard top will likely be over that weight, though of course the vehicle would have to be tested to confirm, while without the hard top they may be under as it is often very close. Without rear seats these defenders are pure 50mph vehicles.

Edited by Numeric on Tuesday 30th June 07:05

bigmowley

741 posts

131 months

Tuesday 30th June
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The guy trying to thread a pallet in through the back door opening laughlaughlaugh

As if!!!

Twoshoe

520 posts

139 months

Tuesday 30th June
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Love the simple steel(?) wheels.

gt6

1,335 posts

140 months

Tuesday 30th June
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Well that looks a big improvement on the standard defender, suspect it will be a strong seller. Not sure how they have done it but looks wise it seems to be closer to the original look.

drpep

1,405 posts

123 months

Tuesday 30th June
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Not to be all negative-nancy but they seem to be trying very hard to legitimize this current defender on the merits of it's predecessor.

The reality is, it's not as capable an off-roader, and the only real option on that front is the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (front and rear lockers, solid front and rear axle), and maybe a Mercedes g-wagen albeit at a significant additional cost.

This probably isn't a bad car, but it's a pastiche of it's predecessor and personally I don't think it deserves to wear that badge. Evoque++? sure. Defender it ain't.

LaurasOtherHalf

17,335 posts

151 months

Tuesday 30th June
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Can it really get a euro-pallet between the rear wheel arches in the load bay?

Can you not get it with rear seats?

If it can't replace my Amarok (which I love as a work horse/family bus/tax break) I won't be considering it.

Mr.Jimbo

1,815 posts

138 months

Tuesday 30th June
quotequote all
drpep said:
Not to be all negative-nancy but they seem to be trying very hard to legitimize this current defender on the merits of it's predecessor.

The reality is, it's not as capable an off-roader, and the only real option on that front is the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon (front and rear lockers, solid front and rear axle), and maybe a Mercedes g-wagen albeit at a significant additional cost.

This probably isn't a bad car, but it's a pastiche of it's predecessor and personally I don't think it deserves to wear that badge. Evoque++? sure. Defender it ain't.
Why isn't it as good off road? Genuinely interested - unless you're rock crawling in Utah I think 95% of people would get a lot further in a new Defender than a Jeep Rubicon due to the terrain response and the car doing the diff locking/wheel braking for you. It has locking centre/rear and a brake modulated front open diff.

That aside, apart from approach angle, the Defender beats the Rubicon for departure angle and break over too.

For a very skilled off road driver I can see a manual-everything car like the Rubicon or an old Defender modded to have diff locks etc would probably go further, but realistically that's a very small % of people. The best bit about the Rubicon is it comes on proper tyres - better than the Wranglers offered on the Defender I'd wager but I bet a whole lot worse in road manners, which I imagine the Defender is compromised on between peformance and road manners.

AngryPartsBloke

1,005 posts

106 months

Tuesday 30th June
quotequote all
drpep said:
The reality is, it's not as capable an off-roader,
Have you got any objective evidence for that?

camel_landy

3,057 posts

138 months

Tuesday 30th June
quotequote all
drpep said:
The reality is, it's not as capable an off-roader...
I call bullst... Backup your statement with facts and evidence (and not the usual bks spouted by some of the 'armchair experts' here).

M

TheOctaneAddict

56 posts

2 months

Tuesday 30th June
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Personally I think it looks ace in this spec, much better than the normal car.

StuntmanMike

7,320 posts

106 months

Tuesday 30th June
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Saw a new Defender this week at a petrol station.
It just looked huge and garish.
I’m sure it will sell loads.

drpep

1,405 posts

123 months

Tuesday 30th June
quotequote all
Mr.Jimbo said:
Why isn't it as good off road? Genuinely interested - unless you're rock crawling in Utah I think 95% of people would get a lot further in a new Defender than a Jeep Rubicon due to the terrain response and the car doing the diff locking/wheel braking for you. It has locking centre/rear and a brake modulated front open diff.

That aside, apart from approach angle, the Defender beats the Rubicon for departure angle and break over too.

For a very skilled off road driver I can see a manual-everything car like the Rubicon or an old Defender modded to have diff locks etc would probably go further, but realistically that's a very small % of people. The best bit about the Rubicon is it comes on proper tyres - better than the Wranglers offered on the Defender I'd wager but I bet a whole lot worse in road manners, which I imagine the Defender is compromised on between peformance and road manners.
Thats interesting, I had no idea the breakover angle was better on the defender. I'm inclined to agree with you on the typical usage profile too. I'm sure the defender is way better on road and probably perfectly capable off road, than a Jeep; certainly for most people's needs.

Reading a bit more, it does seem that modern independent suspension (with sufficient travel) can overcome the traction advantages typical of solid-axle setups. It seems rock-crawling is the only place that isn't true, and as you say, there isn't much of that in the UK anyway!

This was an interesting read:
https://www.theengineblock.com/off-road-suspension...

Edited by drpep on Tuesday 30th June 09:02

camel_landy

3,057 posts

138 months

Tuesday 30th June
quotequote all
Mr.Jimbo said:
For a very skilled off road driver I can see a manual-everything car like the Rubicon or an old Defender modded to have diff locks etc would probably go further...
Actually, you might be surprised at this statement but an auto is much better for a skilled driver... It gives you far more control for the very fiddly stuff, where you're having to move very slowly (e.g. Rock crawling). You can balance everything on the throttle without the danger of burning out a clutch.

Manuals are great for teaching off-road skills though. It makes the student think about gear selection, which is important for understanding the relationship between traction, torque & momentum. Once that understanding is there, it's then a case of learning how to control an auto (holding in gear for descents, etc...) and then it'll help you get even further.

Sure, there are going to be certain edge cases which I'm sure 'someone' will want to split hairs over but as someone with significant experience with both, I'd be selecting auto.

M

Hairymonster

608 posts

60 months

Tuesday 30th June
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I like that stripped-out model in the last photo - Ariel Nomad rival.