The new Land Rover Defender has been put through its paces under the watchful eye of all-terrain experts from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) at the organization’s global fleet base in Dubai.
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.
Ilir Caushaj, IFRC’s team lead for global fleets and logistics, said, “The Red Cross supports millions of people in crisis every year, working in almost every country in the world. 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 with Land Rover since 1954, and to be putting their new Defender to the test. Together, they help us reach vulnerable communities in crisis, whoever and wherever in the world they are.”
Land Rover engineers 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 for themselves.
They drove the Defender in soft sand among the rolling dunes of the desert, where the prototype model shrugged off the steep ascents, demanding side slopes and blind crests, which characterize off-road driving in the region. In temperatures of 40°C and higher, the vehicle next tackled the iconic hairpins found on the Jebel Jais highway, scaling altitudes of nearly 2,000m, finally traveling up the tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates.
Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover executive director product engineering, 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, and we hope the new Defender will maintain this heritage.”
Testing of the Land Rover Defender has so far covered more than 1.2 million kilometers, including a week-long initiative with wildlife conservation charity Tusk, in Kenya, and a hill climb at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
More on the Defender’s development in the September issue of ATTI.