Some may think that the Land Rover Defender has gone soft. In a literal sense, its curvy styling is considerably softer than its hard-edged predecessor. It also comes at a time when Land Rover is a distinctly luxurious brand, something that wasn’t true when the first Defender came around. But Land Rover wants you to know that the new Defender is still cut out for work, which is why it’s offering the Hard Top model.
That name is the real news here, as we knew a work version of the Defender was inbound. “Hard Top” is a reference to when Land Rovers came with cloth roofs, so the hard top option was popular among tradesman and businesses that had to secure tools in the back of the vehicle. Sure, every new Defender announced so far is a hard top model, but the Hard Top name has come to mean more than that.
To live up to it, the Hard Top ditches the second and third rows of seats in order to store more cargo. The three-seat front bench is an option, though, a popular selection among work trucks and vans. The British release says it’ll also tow around 7700 lbs, but note that European towing figures tend to be much higher than the tow limits marketed in the U.S. due to testing differences. Pricing starts at £35,500 ($43,636 at current exchange rates) in the U.K., but there’s no U.S. pricing listed.
Land Rover has never had a large commercial presence in the States, so it’s possible that the Hard Top isn’t destined for the U.S. The fact that the company’s announcement wasn’t also published on the U.S. media site amplifies our doubts, but we’ve reached out to Land Rover to check. We’ll update if we hear back.
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