The new Land Rover Defender has rather large boots to fill. We join Top Gear's Jack Rix as he puts it through its paces on the launch in Namibia.
When we first caught a glimpse of the new Land Rover Defender, it instantly drew a line in the sand, separating those who love it from those who don't. The latter, mainly purists who believe it's lost its ruggedness, with too many electronics and not enough bush-whack.
To be fair, the challenge for the development team was no easy task. How do you please everyone, from those who love the classic Series right up the last Defender, but also meet strict industry standards and regulations?
Well, the answer is to build the most competent off-roader you can, with the best technology possible, and move forward with the times. The previous defender had character, but it also had an uncomfortable cabin, some of them were unreliable, and it had the aerodynamics of a bulldog. That is what made so many people fall in love with them, me included, but to move away from that agricultural era into modern times is not because Land Rover can, it's because they must.
With that being said, how is the new Defender to drive? Well, hop inside, and you're enveloped in rugged yet climate-controlled, ultra-comfortable luxury. The seats are large and comfy, the digital touch-screen is easy to use and there is a multitude of cubbies and storage spaces. The seating can be optioned for five, six, seven or eight people, with an optional jump-seat between the front seats as the highlight.
The new all-terrain system is loaded with functionality, allowing you to choose the exact setup you prefer, or automatically selecting for you if you're a lazy off-roader. Ther is also something called the 360 Scout, which utilises five cameras dotted around the outside of the vehicle, to give you a... well... 360-degree view of both the Defender and the terrain around you. It also has the Invisible Bonnet mode, which effectively shows you where your front wheels are and what's happening under the car, pretty amazing stuff.
On the outside, these particular vehicles are kitted with the Adventure option, which includes those classic steel wheels, chunky all-terrain tyres, a fold-down ladder and rear-mounted spare wheel. Other options included the roof-rack, snorkel, a winch mounted into the front bumper and a few extras to help get unstuck in the Namibian elements.
To give us a complete rundown of how the 2020 Land Rover Defender performs in some of the toughest terrains in Namibia, check out Top Gear's Jack Rix as he spends three days behind the wheel in the video below.