Land Rover DC100 Concept

Our stance on the DC100 concepts has been rather neutral. This is mostly due to the fact that we are still not sure we would have pegged the DC100 as a Defender replacement by appearance alone. The bottom line is that we have been quick to point out the criticism the concept has faced, but have talked little about why the DC100 makes sense for Land Rover. We’re not ready to say the DC100 is the Defender we want, but it may be the Defender the company needs. This is especially true if Land Rover can pull off selling the DC100 — or a variation — into all three important markets: consumer, commercial, and military. 

Five Reasons the DC100 Makes Sense

Global Viability

The new Defender will be up-to-date from bumper-to-bumper, which means it can be sold globally without significant regional variations or a major overhaul, as would be necessary with the current Defender. The U.S. market has been missing a Defender since 1997, when it was phased out due primarily to safety and emissions regulations. It also been revealed that the DC100 and the current Defender will see duty side-by-side for at least a couple of years. Additionally, the current Defender could continue to live on indefinitely in emerging markets such as India and China.

Native Hybrid Capability

Based on the powertrains promoted along the DC100 concepts, the Defender of 2015 will roll off dealership lots with a diesel-hybrid option. By the time the DC100 comes to market, Land Rover plans to already have launched at least one production diesel-hybrid — the Range_e. Since the Range Rover Sport based Range_e hybrid is diesel-based, it is unlikely the vehicle will come to the U.S. as-is when launched. If a diesel doesn’t hit by 2014, we would have to speculate the Defender’s replacement will certainly feature diesel power for the U.S. market.

You can read more about the Land Rover Range_e here. 

An updated Defender based on the DC100 would bring in a new wave of Land Rover buyers, much in the same way as the Range Rover Evoque.

New Market Appeal

Depending on where the new Defender is positioned in the market, it could bring in a new wave of buyers; buyers who may have never previously considered a Land Rover. Whereas the Range Rover Evoque was designed to appeal to an urban audience, the DC100 could make inroads into the popular “active lifestyle” segment where vehicles such as the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota FJ Cruiser are two of the top picks. In this segment, the MSRP range starts at around $22,000.00 for a base Wrangler Sport and tops out at around $44,000.00 for a loaded Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. 

Technology Improvements

The DC100 concepts feature some interesting technologies. While we talked in-depth about the DC100’s technology in a previous article, some of the highlights include:

Solar Panels – Land Rover has equipped with DC100 with roof-mounted solar panels that provide power to on-board equipment. This reduces load on the engine by acting as a supplementary power source to the vehicles electrical system. Additionally, select on-board equipment could be powered without draining the battery or idling the engine.

DC100 Sport Interior DetailAuto Terrain Response – While Land Rover’s Terrain Response system is impressive just the way it is, the technology still requires the driver to have a firm understanding of how the system works and when it should be used. With Auto Terrain Response, the terrain-handling characteristics of the vehicle can be controlled automatically by the system without driver interaction. All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive systems have become more automated over time and this another extension of this process.

Intelligent Terrain Mapping and Terrain-i – The DC100’s Terrain-i mapping technology creates a 3D visualization of the terrain ahead and displays it on the DC100’s touchscreen. The 3D maps can assist the driver with handling off-road situations and with tight urban maneuvering. The system can also identify pedestrians and other obstacles. This technology builds on Land Rover’s current visual assistance systems, which have been very popular features over the past couple of model years.

Removable Touchscreen – The touchscreen we mentioned above is a removable all-in-one panel that displays instrumentation, navigation, audio, and climate controls. The screen features its own power source, camera, internal hard drive, and satellite connectivity.

Whether any of these technologies make it to the production vehicle remains to be seen.

Change is (Often) Good

Change is often a positive catalyst, whether it seems apparent at the time or not. Just look at the alternative offerings from Porsche and other manufacturers. When Porsche announced it was producing an SUV, the automotive media burst into virtual flames. The Cayenne is now one of the company’s best-selling models. Additionally, the four-door Porsche Panamera also received a raised eyebrow or two, but has gone on to garner many positive media reviews and sales success. Rounding back to Land Rover, the company appears to have hit the mark with the Range Rover Evoque, but a vehicle that proves equally popular across a wider range of markets would be very welcome.

 Land Rover DC100 Concept

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