Land Rover's new Defender hits Kenya for tests in tough terrain

Land Rover Defender

This is probably our best look yet

By the time the new Defender makes its public debut later this year, JLR reckons it will have passed more than 45,000 individual tests "in some of the most extreme environments on earth".

A Defender prototype wearing camo will experience life at Kenya's Borana Conservancy towing heavy loads, wading through rivers and carrying supplies across unforgiving terrain over the 14,000-hectare reserve.

"This decision is in parallel with plans for significant investment at the company's Solihull plant in the United Kingdom to support the production of the next generation of flagship Range Rover and Land Rover models", JLR said.

Jaguar Land Rover has today continued its process of shifting vehicle production away from Britain, by announcing it will build the next generation of the Land Rover Defender at its Slovakia plant. European proving grounds MIRA and Lommel, alongside Italy's Covara (for its challenging mountain routes) have allowed engineers to fine-tune performance, while reliability has been tested on inclines higher than 10,000 feet above sea level and temperatures ranging from -40 to 50 Celsius.

JLR said the new Defender has been designed and developed in the United Kingdom, at Gaydon in Warwickshire, but production will be at Land Rover's recently opened manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia.

It will be a sad day for the folks at Jaguar Land Rover's plant in Solihull, United Kingdom, as the automaker on Tuesday confirmed that the redesigned Defender coming later this year will skip the nameplate's traditional home in favor of a new plant in Slovakia. On-road dynamics were "honed" at the Nürburgring while all-terrain credentials were tested on the muddy roads of Eastnor, the rocky trails of Moab in Utah, and the sand dunes of Dubai. Production of the model will take place at the company's new manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia.

No details have been released on the powertrains that will underpin the new Defender, however it is expected the 2.0-litre Ingenium four-cylinder engine will power cheaper versions, while a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder Ingenium donk will be employed on higher-end variants.

A camouflaged prototype will complete its final phase of real-world testing at the Borana Conservancy with the Tusk Trust wildlife conservation charity in Kenya.

The 2020 Range Rover gets a new powertrain option, and it's a mild hybrid.

Though the new Defender will likely be a far different vehicle to the auto it replaces, Land Rover hasn't shaken up every aspect of the traditional "best 4x4xfar" formula.

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