New Land Rover Defender: A possible successor to a current fleet of off-road vehicles of the Czech Army
When Land Rover finished the manufacturing of the Defender four years ago, it was bad news for many off-road enthusiasts (but also for companies, institutions and armies). After all, the legendary model (earlier named only as Land Rover Series) had been manufactured since the end of the 1940s. Now even more is expected from its successor. In the Czech Republic, it was presented in the Dajbych car showroom at the beginning of January and we were there. So far, the presentation has been just a static one, but we can still share our first impressions and technical information.
Testing in extremes
Land Rover took its time to develop the new model and they used it for real testing. It travelled 1.2 million kilometres in the off-road conditions such as deserts and high mountains. The engineers exposed it to extreme temperatures, dust and other strain. They even soaked it with 85.000 litres of coloured water in a monsoon rain simulator. However, the new Defender is a modern car so the tests took place also on a circuit so that the designers could tune behaviour and various driver-assistance systems for road riding.
What can we expect from Land Rover in the near future? The first to come is the 110 body design which is the most used one. Specifically, first will be cars from the limited edition First Edition. Cars with shorter 90 body design are being prepared for the next year. As far as the engines are concerned, the customers can choose from two types of diesel engines and two types of petrol engines with power from 200 to 400 horsepower. As it is usual for Land Rover, it offers o lot of options and accessories. I want to mention interesting packs that helps your Defender to suit your lifestyle - Explorer, Adventure, Country or Urban Pack. The seat arrangement is not traditional because even the short 90 offers a six seats solution (three seats in the first raw). The long 110 offers up to seven seats. As far as practicality is concerned, towing capacity of 3.500 kg, maximum load capacity of the roof 300 kg and boot capacity of 1076 l speak for themselves.
More competent than its predecessor
The biggest difference between this car and its preceding generation is certainly its monocoque body. However, you can find references to the legendary predecessor of Defender on the whole car, for example on the side roof window or sheer vertical rear end. The off-road capability and practicality are naturally the most important. The new Defender even beats its predecessor in some features. For, example wading is 40 cm higher, as well as ramp angle or headroom. The headroom is variable thanks to air suspension and the difference between the lowest and the highest position is 19.5 cm. With Land Rover we are used to the Terrain response system that in combination with a reduction gearbox and electronic active differential enables that Defender should excel off-road. Other systems will also facilitate it, for example ClearSight Ground view. In the Czech Republic, the system is called “a see-through bonnet” because on the screen you see just front wheels as if you did not have a bonnet or an engine. This way, you can clearly see any obstacle on which the wheels are spinning which is a very practical feature not only off-road but also when parking.
The factory in Slovakia
The interesting fact is that Defender is manufactured in a new factory in Nitra. It can be important concerning for example Brexit, fast delivery of cars/parts or joint purchases of the Czech and Slovak institutions. It is the first and the most modern European factory of Jaguar Land Rover outside of the British Islands (except of contract manufacturing of electric vehicles in Magna Steyer, Austria).
Defender for Armed Forces
We are, of course, interested in the possible use for armed forces since current Land Rover cars are used in many armies across the world. The topic comes to mind with the current upcoming replacement of our army fleet. So far, we can evaluate the car only on the basis of the static presentation and technical features, but it seems that Defender would be a suitable successor to current vehicles also for our armed forces. It is a modern vehicle and it builds on current tested vehicles; it is manufactured in Slovakia and there are many Czech subcontractors. As a matter of fact, it complies with off-road, ecological, logistic and social-economic features.
Video: Presentation of New Land Rover Defender / YouTube
It seems that Land Rover was able to accomplish the difficult task of following the iconic predecessor and of introducing a car on the top of technological progress. We are looking forward to sharing our own driving experience with you. The editorial staff are planning to enjoy it at the beginning of May.