New Land Rover Defender Is Heading To Kenya For The Final Stage of Its 1.2-Million Kilometer Testing
Land Rover, to mark World Land Rover Day, has updated us on its new Defender before its public debut later this year. The prototype is about to enter its latest and final stage of pre-launch field testing, which will take place in exacting Kenya terrain. The testing is being done with wildlife conservation charity Tusk Trust, which Land Rover has been in partnership with for 15 years, and as part of the test Land Rover will support vital conservation work.
Land Rover also has released images of the unique special Tusk Trust camouflage testing livery, as well as of the Defender prototypes being put through their paces on and off-road in a variety of conditions. World Land Rover Day is April 30, the anniversary of the original Land Rover debut at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948—meaning today is Land Rover’s 71st birthday!
In Kenya’s Borana Conservancy 14,000-hectare reserve, the Defender prototype will tow heavy loads, wade through rivers and carry supplies across unforgiving terrain in a series of “real-world trials”. And this is just the latest of what will in total be more than 45,000 individual tests for the new Defender before it debuts later in 2019; in these the test fleet has been challenged in some of the world’s most extreme environments in terms of temperature, altitude and much else. This has included 50-degree desert heat, sub 40-degree cold in the Arctic, as well as the 10,000ft altitude of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The prototype fleet’s overall mileage has already hit the 1.2million kilometer (745,000 miles) mark.
In addition the Defender’s on-road dynamics have been honed at the world-famous Nürburgring in Germany while its all-terrain credentials have been tested on the muddy roads of Eastnor in the UK, the rocky trails of Moab in Utah and over Dubai’s sand dunes. The new Defender has been designed and developed at the firm’s engineering facility in Gaydon in the UK, while production will be at Land Rover’s newly-opened facility in Nitra, Slovakia.
“In addition to the extensive simulation and rig testing, we’ve driven the new Defender 1.2million kilometers across all terrains and in extreme climates to ensure that it is the toughest and most capable Land Rover ever made,” said Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover’s executive director of product engineering. “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 program.”
Images courtesy of Land Rover UK