Whilst the all-new Land Rover Defender emerged back in 2019, the launch of a commercial version has taken a little longer. It’s been worth the wait though as we found out recently when we drove one.
What is it ?
The Defender Commercial or ‘Hard Top’, is essentially a passenger vehicle with the rear seats removed. It comes in two versions. The Defender 90 Hard Top, which is the 3-door short-wheelbase version, or the larger 5-door long-wheelbase Defender 110, which we were driving.
The Defender 90 Hard Top is available with a single SE trim level. The Defender 110 comes with three trims; S, SE & HSE. Additional ‘Specification Packs’, include Explorer, Adventure & Urban, which add extras such as a side mounted gear carrier, a roof rack, a rear scuff plate, a portable rinse system or a front under shield.
The 90 is available with a single diesel engine, offering 200PS & 500Nm. The larger 110 offers two engine choices, both diesel. A 250 PS with 570Nm, or a 300PS with 650Nm. All feature an eight-speed auto gearbox, with twin-speed transfer box, which offers far greater off-road driving control. On our test car, the 250, top speed is 117mph with 0-62mph reached in 7.9 seconds. CO2’s are high at 251g/km & fuel economy on the combined cycle is 29.5mpg.
We were testing the 110 D250 Hard Top, which features the Defenders ‘Tonka Toy’ exterior. So a body coloured roof, LED headlights, large 18″ gloss white steel wheels, all season tyres, a chrome coloured front scuff plate & a full size spare wheel hanging off the rear door.
Off road capability
Defender Hard Top features All Wheel Drive, a Twin-speed transfer box, Coil suspension & Terrain Response. It will also wade up to 900mm.
All versions offer a maximum towing capacity of 3,500kg. Payload for the 90 is 670kg, with the 110 offering 778kg up to 800kg. Our test model the 110, features a series of lockable storage boxes located underneath the load floor. These can be opened with separate keys & offer an additional 155 litres of useful storage space.
The maximum load length measures 1,030mm on the 90 & up to 1,472mm on the 110. The load floor is flat & features 4 or 6 lashing points & is protected by heavy duty rubber mats. Access is via the rear side opening door on both models, with the five door version offering opening side doors.
Load volume in the Defender 90 Hard Top is 1,355 litres, which is a little under 1.4 cubic metres, whilst the 110 offers 2,059 litres ,or just over 2.0 cubic metres.
The cabin features a full-height bulkhead behind the front seats. And replacing the rear windows are solid panels. For an additional £815, you can actually specify an additional centre front ‘ jump ‘ seat, with a proper centre seat belt, so although it’s a bit of a squeeze as there’s barely any leg room, three adults will fit in if required.
What really makes the Defender commercial stand out, is the quality of the cabin, which is exactly the same as a normal Defender. So, you get the latest version of Land Rovers Pivi Pro infotainment system, incredible build quality & all the latest safety features you’d expect from a luxury SUV.
For a commercial vehicle who’s entry price is £37,788, you’d expect it to come well equipped & it does. Standard spec includes a heated windscreen, lockable & illuminated forward underfloor storage & analogue dials with TFT Display. You also get the 10″ touchscreen with Pivi Pro, connected Nav Pro, a 140w sound system with 4 speakers, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, a 3D surround camera, 360 degree parking aid, rise with speed limiter, Lane Keep Assist, Wade sensing, Traffic Sign Recognition & Emergency braking.
Our test model S, adds LED headlights with auto beam assist, a leather steering wheel, 12 way heated powered front seats, an interactive drivers display & a centre console with armrest.
On the road
The Defender Hard Top drives impeccably, with identical road manners as the passenger versions. This is unquestionably aided by the cars electronic air suspension, which makes this large, heavy vehicle, glide over the road ahead. It’s quick when required, quiet & easy to handle in town & a brilliant motorway cruiser. The refinement for a commercial vehicle is phenomenal. After a week in it, I was hooked.
Land Rover image & looks make it stand out in any crowd. Brilliant to drive, practical & built like granite. Off road it’s unbeatable. It comes with a diesel range of nearly 600 miles. You don’t get that in an EV.
Expensive, load space is compromised & side access on the 110 version, to the load space isn’t great. High Co2’s & under 30mpg.
It’s not cheap, but when you’re looking for a commercial with an image, that offers so much versatility, you’ll not find anything better. As a bonus it’s on road manners are impeccable, it will cope with moderate off roading & it features the best cabin in the business, as it’s fitted with a lot of useful tech & safety features. It’s the best all round commercial 4×4 you can buy.