New Land Rover Defender to prove its mettle in real-world testing in Africa
Jaguar Land Rover
This week saw the new Defender enter its final phase of testing by undertaking a secondment with long-term conservation partner, Tusk Trust.
Announced on World Land Rover Day, celebrating 71 years since the first Land Rover was revealed at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948, the new Defender would complete its final phase of field testing at the Borana Conservancy in Kenya.
Wearing a unique camouflage, the Defender prototype will be tasked with towing heavy loads, wading through rivers, and carrying supplies across unforgiving terrain while based at the 14,000 hectare reserve.
The news comes as the Defender reached 1.2 million kilometres mark for testing in some of the world’s most challenging conditions.
Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover’s Executive Director of Product Engineering, said: “In addition to the extensive simulation and rig testing, we’ve driven the new Defender 1.2 million kilometres across all terrains and in extreme climates to ensure that it is the toughest and most capable Land Rover ever made.
“The incredible opportunity to put it to the test in the field, supporting operations at the Borana Conservancy in Kenya, with Tusk, will allow our engineers to verify that we are meeting this target as we enter the final phase of our development programme.”
Up to this point the new Defender has undergone more than 45,000 individual tests across the world, with engineers driving the vehicles in 50-degree heat of the desert, the sub 40-degree cold of the Arctic, as well as up to 10,000ft altitude of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
While the on-road dynamics have been honed at the Nürburgring facility in Germany, its all-terrain ability has been checked on the muddy trails around Eastnor, as well as taking on the sand dunes in Dubai. All these tests ensure the new Defender, which is launched later this year, has the unparalleled breadth of capability, and new levels of comfort and driveability.
It was also announced that the new Defender will be produced at the recently opened state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia.