After what appeared to be the end of the road multiple times for Land Rover’s iconic Defender, it will again see the light of day here in North America, at least for a couple of weeks. Two refreshed versions of the concepts shown at the Frankfurt Show made their debut here at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. The DC100 Concept in blue, and the DC100 Sport convertible in metallic Baywatch yellow were unveiled, with a promise from Land Rover’s brand director John Edwards that they’re definitely, positively, absolutely considering bringing it to the U.S. Definitely maybe? You heard it here first.
Who’s It For
The Defender has long been synonymous with off-roading, and its go-anywhere capability helped elevate Land Rover’s status as an elite auto maker. Packed with features that make leaving the pavement a breeze the Defender is also capable of climbing in and out of steep angled terrain courtesy of short overhangs. While Land Rover’s baby Rover, the Evoque, has been a monumental success early on, many thought it was too beautiful to fully appreciate its off-roading capabilities. However, the Defender should quell the cynics and go where Evoque owners won’t as it combines an iconic exterior and unmatched off-roading capability with cutting-edge technologies and other amenities.
While only a concept at this point, Land Rover plans to jam-pack the DC100 and DC100 Sport with enough off-road capabilities to make up for the 14-year absence from the U.S. market. These include:
- All the normal styling cues you’d expect on the Defender. An exposed spare tire, 20-inch wheels, and a boxy profile are all present on the concept version.
- Recognizable front fascia. The Defender’s grille design and round lamps and have made its way onto the concept too.
- Sport configuration. The DC100 Sport includes a fold-down windscreen and can be outfitted with 22-inch wheels as well. Other optional features include a roof rack and a ‘snorkel’ air-intake that can be added to help wading through water.
- Next-gen Terrain Response, Wade-Aid, and Terrain-i. The latest Terrain Response system chooses the best option to pilot the environment without the driver having to do anything by mapping out what’s ahead of the DC100 and offering alternative routes when necessary. It also displays the topography on a 3D map for the driver to see.
What We Think
Originally unveiled last month at the Frankfurt Motor Show the DC100′s design made it quite obvious Land Rover is bringing the Defender up to speed for today’s market. With both concept models on display in LA Land Rover hopes to gauge the public’s interest and explore the possibility of bringing it back stateside. We think you can never have too many off-road ready vehicles and if we could choose to add another one the Defender would be at the top of our list. Although it hasn’t been on sale in the U.S. since 1997 we believe Land Rover is more than capable of bringing the Defender back to life and return it to its stout form.