The Land Rover Defender Hard Top is your rugged new van

By topgear, 02 July 2020

We know the new Land Rover Defender pretty well by now. The fact it managed to live up to the tidal wave of hype before its reveal says a lot - it’s pretty blooming spiffing.

The main criticism? “Launch versions are too posh and high-spec to be true workhorses,” to directly quote our new Defender review. Issues which are kinda fixed by what you see here. It’s the Defender Hard Top, and it’s to all intents and purposes the Defender commercial vehicle the true nerds will get most excited for.

The Hard Top name dates back to 1950, to give the Defender van some proper retro credibility given that’s likely what a lot of buyers are queuing up for. Prices start at £35,500 before VAT (it’s a commercial vehicle, after all) which is around five grand less than a regular, five-seat Defender 90, though the Hard Top could end up being a couple of grand more if you’re a private buyer adding the VAT back on.

Despite effectively being the entry-level Defender, though, it’s been put together by Jaguar Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations team. SVO boss Michael van der Sande says “we will maximise the functionality and usability of New Defender’s cargo area, with tough materials and clever storage solutions to ensure it surpasses the capability of any previous Defender Hard Top.”

Proper tech specs are yet to be released, but expect four-cylinder diesel engines to take priority while it’ll be available in both 90 and 110 wheelbases - aka as a three-door or five-door - and you can expect just as much off-road tenacity as the regular Defender it’s based upon.


It’ll tow up to 3.5 tonnes should its surely enormous load bay not prove big enough for your needs, too. Unless those equate to ‘owning an example of every single dog breed on the planet’, we’d advise reassessing said needs.

And those retro touches disappear completely when it comes to tech. As well as the ability for their Defender to receive over-the-air software updates, business owners will also be able to track the fuel level of the Hard Tops they own via app, as well as its location and journey history. So any morally questionable trips to Barnard Castle be swiftly spotted.

Like what you see? Or do you want actually want your Defender ‘posh and high-spec’?