What is it? The Land Rover DC100 and DC100 Sport made their North American debut at the LA Auto Show, presenting the future design direction for the long-awaited, next-generation Defender. In LA, Land Rover is seeking public reaction to determine if it should bring the redux Defender to the U.S. market.
The Defender has been a British motoring icon for 60 years, much like with Jeep Wrangler here in the States, with a key difference—it has changed very little through the years. Offered in several distinct configurations over time, the Defender has served military duty, transported adventurers, and worked farms. For off-roaders, its purpose-built simplicity gives it appeal, and for well-heeled Anglophiles, it has served as the equivalent of driving a civilian Hummer.
What’s new or notable? Both concepts are decidedly 21st-century vehicles based on a lightweight platform that explores the use of high-tech materials. Numerous technologies are showcased, such as Terrain-i, a scanning system that can warn of obstacles and suggest alternative routes. Wade Aid measures water depth with sonar to aid in fording streams. Going into a sci-fi realm, the DC100 also demonstrates tire spikes that can be deployed by the driver.
The DC100 concepts feature a permanent four-wheel-drive system motivated by either a 2.0-liter gasoline or diesel engine paired to an eight-speed transmission. Both engines are part of a hybrid system.
CR’s take: These concepts promise to leapfrog the Defender into a new century, but will it be too much of a departure for legions of fans, or just the right mix to garner a fresh audience? Time will tell.
When will it be available? 2015ish.