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Land Rover DC100: Defender Or Dud?

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On: Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 9:03AM | By: Chris Weiss

Land Rover DC100: Defender Or Dud?

Land Rover is developing a new version of the Defender, its classic hard-core off-roader, for production in 2015. In a first public step toward that goal, the automaker previewed the DC100 late last month. The concept will make its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show in a couple weeks.

Gerry McGovern, Director of Design, and Land Rover said of redesigning the Defender: "Replacing the iconic Defender is one of the biggest challenges in the automotive design world; it is a car that inspires people worldwide. This isn't a production-ready concept but the beginning of a four-year journey to design a relevant Defender for the 21st century."

Let's just hope that four-year journey is a particularly long one, because this particular version exemplifies those difficulties a little too well.

The Defender has always been a hard-bodied SUV aimed at those that actually take their cars off-road—like the military and serious 4X4 crowd. It featured sharp angles and sturdy lines, an in-your-face vertical slat grille, and bulging fender flares. Just by looking at it, you knew exactly what it was built for.

The DC100? Uhhhh... not so much. The concept softens the Defender to the point of dilution. The front-end is curvy and slung back rather than sharp and powerful as in traditional Defender design. The grille is small and weak. It looks like any other SUV/Jeep that will probably never see a minute of off-road time. What's the point? If I wanted that, I'd get an LR2 or Range Rover. Or any number of other road-centric SUVs. The Defender is supposed to be something special, but the DC100 looks like a late answer to the Hummer H3. And the white roof looks ripped straight from the Toyota Land Cruiser. Fail.

Hopefully, by "isn't production-ready," McGovern meant "is going to get scrapped for something way more awesome."

Land Rover has indicated it plans to build the Defender for the global market, but hasn't indicated if it will offer it in the United States, where it stopped selling it in the 90s. At this point, who really cares? Stick with a Wrangler.


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