Ahead of its public debut later in the year, the new Land Rover Defender has been taken through an all-terrain test in Dubai to ascertain its capability in both off-road and on-road conditions.
The test, which took place on the region’s desert sandbank, was under the watchful eye of all-terrain experts from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The automaker said in a statement obtained on Friday that the Defender was in the final stage of its global testing programme.
The test coincides with the renewal of Land Rover’s global partnership with the IFRC – a relationship that dates back 65 years, to 1954, when the first specially adapted Land Rover entered service in the region as a mobile dispensary.
This year marks the humanitarian organisation’s centenary as it celebrates ‘100 years of hope’. Over the next three years, Land Rover will support disaster preparedness and response initiatives in locations such as India, Mexico and Australia.
Land Rover engineers reportedly demonstrated the vehicle’s breadth of capability to their IFRC counterparts both on and off road, before the IFRC fleet experts took to the wheel to test the vehicle.
The team drove the vehicle through the twisty tarmac of Jebel Jais highway, experiencing the solid handling and comfort of the new 4×4 as they wound their way up the tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates.
The IFRC fleet experts tested the Defender in soft sand among the rolling dunes of the desert, where the prototype model reportedly shrugged off the steep ascents, demanding side slopes and blind crests that characterise off-road driving in the region.
The Defender also demonstrated its on-road comfort and agile handling at the hairpins of the Jebel Jais highway under temperatures said to be in excess of 40-degrees, scaling altitudes of nearly 2,000m.
The IFRC’s Team Lead for Global Fleets and Logistics, Ilir Caushaj, was quoted as saying, “We operate in some of the most hard-to-reach places on earth, often working in very difficult terrain, so our teams have to be able to cope with anything. That’s why we’re proud to have partnered Land Rover since 1954, and to be putting their new Defender to the test, as they help us reach vulnerable communities in crisis, whoever and wherever in the world they are.”
The Executive Director, Product Engineering at the Jaguar Land Rover, Nick Rogers, said, “Jaguar Land Rover is proud to support the work of the IFRC. Since 1954 our vehicles have enabled access to remote and vulnerable communities, helping them become more resilient; we hope the new Defender will maintain this heritage.
“The dunes of Dubai are the perfect place to confirm that this is the most capable Land Rover ever made. It sits on tyres with an overall diameter of up to 815mm, resulting in a very large contact patch. Coupled with our bespoke traction control system, which monitors and adjusts for a large variety of terrains, this makes the new Defender fantastic on sand and incredibly smooth on road as well.”
The test was said to have given the IFRC fleet experts the opportunity to experience the new Defender ahead of its world premiere.
“So far, prototype models have covered more than 1.2 million kilometres of testing, including a week-long initiative with wildlife conservation charity Tusk, in Kenya, and a dynamic appearance on the famous hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed,” the automaker stated.