Land Rover has already conducted 1.2 million kilometers (745,645 miles) of testing with the entire 2020 Defender fleet. The milestone has been achieved on World Land Rover Day (April 30), which marks 71 years since the premiere of the original Land Rover at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948.
So far, the new SUV has been tested in different environments across the globe, from the Nurburgring track, where its on-road dynamics have been honed, to the sand dunes of Dubai, and from the -40C degree (-40F) cold of the Arctic to the 3,000-plus-meter (10,000 ft) altitude of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
Testing is yet to be completed, though, as the final phase will take place in Kenya with the Tusk Trust, a non-profit organization that helps protect African wildlife. A prototype wrapped in special camouflage pattern will experience the local landscape at the Borana Conservancy. The vehicle will be used through the unforgiving terrain in real-world trials at the 14,000 hectare (35,000 acre) reserve, where it will get to carry supplies and tow heavy loads.
“In addition to the extensive simulation and rig testing, we’ve driven the new Defender 1.2 million km across all terrains and in extreme climates to ensure that it is the toughest and most capable Land Rover vehicle ever made”, said Executive Director of Product Engineering Nick Rogers. “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.”
Designed and developed in Gaydon, UK, the all-new Defender will be assembled for global markets at the Nitra facility in Slovakia. The potent SUV will reportedly be revealed this fall, although the company is still undecided whether it’ll make its debut at the Franfurt Auto Show or a standalone event.
Based on a monocoque platform with independent rear suspension, the 2020 Defender will be available with the usual petrol and diesel engines, as well as mild hybrids and PHEVs.