Land Rover's gruelling test schedule for the second-generation Defender is nearing completion and to celebrate World Land Rover Day, a Defender protoype will be put to work with the Tusk Trust in Kenya.
One of the most keenly anticipated vehicles in recent memory, the burden of expectation accompanying the new Defender has been keenly felt by Land Rover.
Engineers must ensure that the ruggedness and simplicity of the original Defender are carried over, but they must also adhere to requirements that are commensurate to contemporary crash safety and emissions regulation – both issues which hardly bothered the original Defender design team.
Quite fittingly the global test and evaluation schedule is currently routing through Africa, the continent of true 4x4 adventure and one where Land Rovers have been carrying those with wanderlust and a generous sabbatical for years.
30 April is world Land Rover Day, commemorating the date back in 1948 when the original Land Rover made its public debut at the Amsterdam Motor Show. To celebrate, the company’s test fleet of Defender pre-production prototypes will today venture into the Borana Conservancy in Kenya where it will undergo a final phase of field testing with the Tusk Trust wildlife conservation charity of which Land Rover has been an official partner for 15 years.
Here the new Defenders will roll through some of Kenya’s most testing off-road terrain. To date, the design validation programme for new Defender has completed 1.5-million kilometres of testing, ranging from freezing arctic conditions to scorching desert terrain.
New Defender’s final design reveal is expected in September 2019. For Land Rover, as the British automotive brand most at risk from Brexit, secure production for the new Defender has also been confirmed and it will be outside of the United Kingdom, with the most iconic and longstanding of British vehicles set for assembly in Nitra, Slovakia.
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