Land Rover has announced that the Hard Top name will bring the return of commercial variants to the Defender range later this year, in Defender 90 and Defender 110 guises. The latest-generation Defender made its global debut in Frankfurt last September, and now employs aluminium monocoque construction that, at 29,000 Nm per degree, is three times stiffer than traditional body-on-frame setups, says Land Rover.

The Hard Top variants of the Defender seats just up to three people with an optional jump seat in the front row, as the commercial configuration means there are no second- or third-row seats, instead utilising the space for cargo. The Defender Hard Top boasts of 3,500 kg in towing capacity, augmented by the Advanced Tow Assist system which enables easier trailer reversing manoeuvres via a controller on the centre console.

Being a Land Rover, off-roading credentials remain intact in this commercial guise, the 110 Hard Top version featuring approach, breakover and departure angles of 38, 28 and 40 degrees respectively, while wading depth is 900 mm – identical figures to those of the passenger-carrying Defender 110. Independent coil springs are standard for both the 90 and 110, while air suspension is optional on the 110 Hard Top.

The commercial Hard Top version of the Defender similarly get the Terrain Response 2 chassis control system, which in the passenger versions six modes – Normal, Mud and Ruts, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand, Rock Crawl and Wade. This can be customeised in the passenger versions with a choice of three settings for throttle and gearbox response, steering and traction control respectively, and allows up to four saved profiles.

Infotainment continues to be up to date in this utilitarian form, where the Land Rover Pivi Pro touchscreen setup offers control of all major vehicle functions as well as smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. As with the passenger version, software-over-the-air (SOTA) capability is supported here as well, enabling remote updating of systems, which also means minimised downtime for business usage.

The Defender Hard Top will also get the suite of advanced driver assistance systems, where the 3D Surround Camera enables an all-round view of the vehicle’s surroundings for safer manoeuvring within tight spaces or, more likely in the case of the commercial Hard Top, positioning the vehicle close to cargo for loading. A smartphone app also allows the tracking of the Defender’s location, fuel level and journey history.

Indicative prices for the Defender 90 and 110 Hard Top versions start from GBP 35,500 (RM187,049) in the United Kingdom, says Land Rover, adding that full details of the commercial version of the monocoque off-roader will be revealed when it becomes available to order later this year.

For reference, the passenger Defender gets diesels in 200PS/430 Nm and 240 PS/430Nm outputs, a 300 PS/400 Nm P300 four-cylinder petrol and a 400 PS/550 Nm P400 mild-hybrid petrol straight-six. All power units here are mated with an eight-speed automatic gearbox with two-speed transfer case sending drive to all four wheels, while locking centre and rear differentials are optional.