Land Rover Defender Hard Top: official pricing, spec and dimensions

  • All the latest details of the van version of the new Defender
  • Defender commercial comes in 90 (SWB) and 110 (LWD) body sizes
  • Priced from £35,820, Defender Hard Top promises amazing off-road ability, lots of cutting-edge tech 

The commercial vehicle van version of the all-new Land Rover Defender, officially called the Land Rover Defender Hard Top, is now on sale in the UK with confirmed pricing starting at £35,820 (excluding VAT) and full technical details. The name is a reference to the classic Defender Hard Top working model.

The new Defender commercial 4x4 is available in 90 and 110 body sizes - just like the passenger version. We've got all the latest, including info on the load area and the passenger 'jump seat' that allows it to carry three people, plus the Defender van's off-road capability, 3,500kg towing capacity and other technical highlights

Described as 'Land Rover's most capable and durable commercial vehicle ever,' is it going to be worth the wait and the somewhat stiff asking price, or should you go for the commercial 4x4 versions of the Mitsubishi Shogun Sport or Toyota Land Cruiser instead?

>> SIgn-up for the Parkers Vans and Pickups newsletter

Specification details of the Defender commercial

The Defender Hard Top was first unveiled at the public debut of the all-new Defender passenger car during the 2019 Frankfurt motor show. Back then it was simply known as the Defender commercial, and it's taken until now for proper technical details to emerge - including the size of the cargo area and the maximum payload.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 - 90 and 110, front view, 2020

Like its predecessor, the Defender van has side windows replaced with solid bodywork, and the rear seats and carpeted boot swapped for a hard-wearing loadspace, kitted out with rubber flooring, lashing points and a full bulkhead partition complete with four hanging hooks. There's even additional lockable storage under the floor of both models, with more available in what used to be the rear seat footwell area in the 110.

The short-wheelbase (SWB) Defender 90 Hard Top has just three doors, meaning the load area is only accessible though the side-hinged rear tailgate; the long-wheelbase (LWB) Defender 110 Hard Top retains its opening rear side doors.

In both models all the rear seating is removed. The load area that replaces it is completely flat, while the 110 even has additional storage nets at the sides.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 - 110 load area, 2020

Both versions are being engineered by Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations division, which is also responsible for creating the current Land Rover Discovery Commercial 4x4. This will continue alongside the Defender Hard Top.

Can you remove the roof like the original?

While the Hard Top name was originally used on early series Defenders in the 1950s with a 'demountable' hard top roof, the new van has a fixed metal roof, and is merely painted to follow the lines of the original.

We're sure this will come as a disappointment to some.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 2020 - rear view, 110, blue, construction site

As may do the total lack of news about a pickup truck version - there being no news about this or a longer 130 variant that might have a double-cab seating arrangement. In fact, we've heard that there almost certainly won't be an open load bed variant.

Land Rover’s already lost ground to the likes of the Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi L200 and other pickups in the years the Defender name has been off-sale, but it's clear the firm is hoping to respond with outstanding off-road versatility rather than outright practicality.

Will the new Defender be any good as a van?

Here’s one to give you bragging rights down the pub: the Defender Commercial’s based on underpinnings called D7x, which is a hardcore development of what’s also used in the Discovery and Range Rover. This means it is stiffer and even more capable off-road - supposedly three times as stiff as 'the best body-on-frame designs', the kind of construction every pickup rival currently uses.

So whether you’re towing up to 3,500kg, carrying up to 300kg on the roof, wading through 900mm of water or climbing up 38-degree inclines without damaging any of the Defender Commercial’s underside, it should give all of the competition a run for their money.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 2020 - D7x frame exposed skeleton

However, the single side-hinged rear door access to the cargo area may be restrictive in some circumstances. With an aperture measuring 898mm at its narrowest point, this isn't especially broad, and is a long way from the ground compared with a conventional van.

How big is the load area and what's the payload?

The smaller Defender Hard Top 90 has 1,355 litres of space - nearly 1.4 cubic metres; the Defender Hard Toop 110 increases that to 2,059 litres - nearly 2.1 cubic metres. On both versions those figures include the underfloor storage area. 

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 - 90 load area, 2020

Payload is 670kg for the smaller model and 778-800kg for the larger version. That's substantially more than the Land Cruiser Commercial can manage, though less than almost any conventional van.

These are the full load area details for the Defender Hard Top:

Defender Hard Top 90 SWB 110 LWB
Maximum load length (mm) 1,030 1,472
Maximum load height (mm) 947 947
Maximum load width (mm) 1,326 1,423
Maximum load volume (litres) 1,355 2,059
Maximum payload (kg) 670 778-800

How good will it be off-road?

The old Defender was revered by many for its off-road prowess, and Land Rover is making big promises about this new version, saying the 'new Defender Hard Top body designs will bring unrivalled breadth of on- and off-road capability to the commercial vehicle sector.'

Both the 90 and 110 versions are fitted with an 'intelligent' four-wheel drive system and feature all-round independent coil-sprung suspension. Every pickup on-sale in the UK features non-independent rear suspension (which reduces chassis articulation that's helpful on rough off-road terrain) and most use old-fashioned (but strong) leaf springs on the rear as well.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 2020 - rear view, 110, blue, off-road, climbing rocks

What's more, the Defender 110 Hard Top will be available with sophisticated air suspension, enabling it to vary its ride height for different terrains as well as deliver better on-road performance.

As a result, we've been told the Defender 110 Hard Top will have a 38-degree approach angle, 28-degree breakover angle and 40-degree departure angle at it's 'Off-Road Height' setting - which means with the air suspension.

All have a nominal 291mm of ground clearance and an outstanding wading depth of 900mm. All models will also have the Terrain Response 2 electronic traction system, which includes a Wade mode. It also reads the road surface to automatically adjust accelerator response and traction settings, too.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 - towing, 2020

There's been no mention yet of the ClearSight Ground View system, which renders images of what’s going on under the vehicle on the infotainment screen. But the Defender commercial will be offered with the 3D Surround Camera system to help with manoeuvring - useful off-road and for positioning the vehicle suitable for loading.

It should be significantly better on-road than the old version, given the modernity of its underpinnings, plus a cabin that won’t require you to lower the driver’s door window in order to be able to sit comfortably behind the wheel.

What engines will the Defender Commercial have?

The passenger version of the Defender has only been on sale for about five minutes, and already Land Rover has updated the engine range - ditching the four-cylinder diesels originally on offer in low-powered versions. Lucky for van buyers, the Hard Top benefits from this change right from launch.

The Defender 90 Hard Top is only available with the D200 motor - a six-cylinder 'Ingenium' turbodiesel that produces 200hp and a stonking 500Nm of torque.

The Defender 110 Hard Top gets the option of D250 or D300 variants of the same; complete with mHEV mild hybrid technology, these offer 249hp and 570Nm or 300hp and a whooping 650Nm, respectively.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 2020 - front view, 110, blue

So it's not going to be short of poke. What's more, an eight-speed automatic gearbox complete with twin-speed transfer box - meaning the abaility to switch to low range gearing for off-roading - is fitted as standard. This should make it very smooth to drive as well.

No word yet on official fuel economy, or whether petrol or pplug-in hybrid power will be offered later - both of which are available in the passenger version of the Defender.

How many people can it carry?

To qualify as a commercial 4x4, the Defender Hard Top has to be stripped of all seats behind the driver and front passenger. In every rival that leaves room for just two people, a disadvantage compared with a conventional medium-sized van, which will often be available with seating for three.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 - cab interior with jump seat, 2020

The Defender Hard Top, however, can be fitted with an optional 'jump seat', offering occasional use for a third front passenger.

Factor in climate control for the air-con and the convenience of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto depending upon your smartphone via the latest Land Rover Pivi Pro infotainment system, and it’s positively revolutionary inside compared with its ancient predecessor.

Any other clever technology?

The Defender Hard Top will also be available with Land Rover's ClearSight Rear View mirror system. This uses a live feed from a rear camera that appears within the conventional rear view mirror to give you an uninterrupted view of the road behind, regardless of whether the jump seat is occupied or the load area is full to the roof. Clever.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 2020 - rear view, 110, blue, being loaded by forklift

Fitted with 'twin eSIM technology', the Defender has permanent internet connectivity (subject to signal, if you plan to venture properly off-road), which supports a Software-Over-The-Air (SOTA) feature. This means the vehicle's on-board electronics can be updated remotely, theoretically reducing downtime caused by dealer visits previously needed to carry out the same.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that you'll be able to check on your new Defender Hard Top via a smartphone app called Remote, nor that it will come loaded with driver assistance features - such as the Wade program and Terrain Response 2 mentioned earlier.

It will also come with 'a raft of technologies to help hitch, drive and reverse safely while pulling a trailer', turning it into what Land Rover calls a 'world-class tow vehicle'. This includes Intelligent Advanced Tow Assist; similar to the Trailer Assist available on some Volkswagen Vans, this allows you to carry out low-speed trailer reversing while steering using a rotary controller on the centre console.

As stated, the maximum towing capacity of the new Defender Hard Top is 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes).

Any word of trim levels or standard equipment?

The 90 comes only in 'rugged' Defender specification, which is basic but tough, with rubber flooring throughout.

Land Rover Defender Hard Top commercial 4x4 - under-floor storage, 2020

The 110, however, will be offered in a choice of four trim levels: Defender, S, SE and HSE. These will get progressively fancier outside and in, moving from cloth seats through to leather, and steel wheels through increasingly enormous alloys.

Going top spec will prove rather pricey, though.

How much does the new Defender commercial cost?

The entry-level Defender 90 Hard Top costs from £35,820 - that's on-the-road but not including VAT. The cheapest Defender 110 Hard Top starts at £43,012 for the same.

Compared with a Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial 4x4, the Defender is going to work out quite expensive - but that isn't to say it will ultimately be poor value. But if you just want a highly capable off-road 4x4 with practicality at heart, don't be blinded by the Defender's style and brand recognition.

And if you don't think this new model lives up to the image of the old one, there's always the British-lead Ineos Grenadier, which looks like a reborn version of the original Land Rover with modernised underpinnings and BMW engines, and will be offered as a pickup...

Also read:

>> Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial 4x4 review

>> Mitsubishi Shogun Sport Commercial 4x4 review

>> Land Rover Discovery Commercial 4x4 review

>> Ford Ranger pickup review

>> Ford Ranger Raptor review

>> Jeep Gladiator pickup review