IT'S BEEN quite a while since Land Rover made the last of the legendary Defenders at its Solihull base, but it has been testing a replacement models across the world – and we have a sneak preview of the mocked up newcomer.

Will it find favour with farmers? – time alone will tell, but I suspect that slurry, snotters, cow dung and electronics will not be a good combination.

The new models in its prototype fleet recently hit a development milestone of 1.2m km of testing and now, to celebrate 'World Land Rover Day', the new Land Rover Defender is heading to Africa for a unique Tusk Trust test.

A specially-camouflaged prototype model is preparing to embark on field-testing with global Land Rover conservation partner, Tusk Trust, in Kenya, where it will be put to work towing, wading and carrying supplies at the Borana Conservancy to support conservation work in a series of real-life trials at the 14,000ha reserve.

By the time the new Defender makes its public debut later this year, it will have passed more than 45,000 individual tests in some of the most extreme environments on earth, said JLR. Land Rover engineers have taken the test fleet to the 50°C heat of the desert, the sub-40°C cold of the Arctic, as well as up to 10,000ft altitude of the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado, to ensure the new Defender will take everyday life in its stride.

Nick Rogers, executive director of product engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “In addition to the extensive simulation and rig testing, we’ve driven new Defender 1.2m km across all terrains and in extreme climates to ensure that it is the toughest and most capable Land Rover ever made. 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 programme.”

With on-road dynamics honed at the Nürburgring facility in Germany and all-terrain credentials tested on the muddy roads of Eastnor, UK, the rocky trails of Moab, in Utah, and the sand dunes of Dubai, the new 4 x 4 will 'bring unparalleled breadth of capability and new levels of comfort and driveability to the Defender family', said the company.

However, will it live up to the expectations of a farming community which was a staunch supporter of the 'old' Defender range – and even before that, when it was was, simply, a Land Rover?

The new Defender has been designed and developed in the UK, at Gaydon, home to Land Rover’s world-class design, engineering and testing facilities, but production will be at the company’s recently opened state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia.

World Land Rover Day, which is celebrated on 30 April every year, marks the world premiere of the original Land Rover at the Amsterdam Motor Show on that day in 1948.