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DC100 – The New 2017 Defender

Find out the latest news about the Defender's replacement. Is it the DC100?

Ben Gribbin

Ben Gribbin

October 18, 2010

Hello, I'm the editor of FunRover. I'm a massive Land Rover fan. Currently own a TD5 90. 2015 MR Blogger of the Year
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The Land Rover Defender is the pinnacle of the Land Rover brand. It's understated looks, it's legendary go anywhere capabilities (dinner party or the Artic Tundra) and it's ability to be mended with a hammer - all go towards making the best 4x4 vehicle ever made.

The Defender range has direct links to the first ever Land Rover produced - the shape and design may have changed slightly, but the overall concept hasn't. Land Rover confirmed in 2009 that the Defender was to be replaced with a new vehicle bearing the same name, re-imagined to satisfy modern safety and emission standards. Magazines and blogs are posting their own CGI mock-ups of this vehicle, but all have fallen short, completely missing why the Defender is like it is and what a Defender is used for. As Land Rover owners, we know exactly what is expected from these vehicles.

A Defender should be

  • Robust
  • Versatile
  • Practical
  • Capable

Those are the 4 words we'd use to sum-up the Land Rover range. Instead, some car websites have produced concepts like the following:

Auto Express' Defender Concept

These are only artist impressions, but they are a little too modern. These look about 10 years ahead of where the car industry is now and hopefully the Defender will never look anything like this image.

Auto Express' Defender Concept

These concepts are just wrong!. One reader summed up our thoughts nicely:

The Defender is a working tool, not just a car! You seem to have forgotten that it is used by farmers to carry bales and feed as well as livestock, construction teams to haul equipment and numerous other off road or site users for carrying bulky and awkward loads in rough conditions. It should not be yet another slick style machine for the urban poser or it will lose it's market share! It must have exterior bumpers to protect the bodywork and a robust load carrying capacity as well as being simple to maintain and repair. Try again and don't lose sight of the Defender's essential market.

Instead, we decided to create our own concept Defender. Unsurprisingly, we've not changed much. Why should we? The Defender is a motoring legend. Altering the design too drastically would be a crying shame. Fortunately, Land Rover know exactly what they are doing and understand what the average Defender driver is looking for. Hopefully, they'll be sympathetic to the heritage and history of the Defender. We've given our Defender a little more substance upfront, with a large, still removable bumper. The front-end of the Defender will need to meet new, more stringent, pedestrian safety laws - so we could see a shift in materials used too - to give the body more flex on impact. Expect the new model to be a lot rounder in appearance.

Finally, we tweaked the headlights (these would be brighter) and removed the guttering (in favour of roof rails) to improve the aesthetics a little, at least on station wagons.

This post will be looking at the most likely specs of the new Defender, nicknamed quite appropriately, Project Icon.

Chassis

DSC00263

Reports suggest that the new Defender will be running a T5 chassis, from the Land Rover Discovery. This is a twin-rail chassis, just like the Defenders. It will likely need some modifications for varying wheelbases, which Land Rover will surely offer on the new model. The Discovery is very, very capable off-road. Basing the Defender chassis on this could help Land Rover reduce costs and make use of less engine models across the range. A ladder rail chassis is ideal for the simplicity of build a Defender requires - body parts should be bolt-on, bolt-off and owners should have the option for various body-types and trim levels.

Engine

The Defender could possibly receive the Discovery's TDv6 3.0 Engine. This is a very powerful & economical engine, especially when compared to the engines used in previous models. Bearing in mind the Defender is also quite light, this could drastically increase performance. The TDV6 has more torque, more power and a higher top end speed and if fitted to a Defender could be the best ever engine bolted to the flagship model. Yorkshire company, Bell Auto Services, fabricated a 2.7 TDV6 into the Defender, a conversion that has worked very well. This proves at-least it's possible in terms of dimensions.

Electronics

Finally, could we see the Defender become even more technical? By law we'll see the introduction of air-bags and other safety devices. But might the Defender finally get the most basic electronic aids we take for granted in any other car. Will central locking and electric windows be a standard fit? And what about the use of Land Rover's flexible terrain response? Does a Defender even need that? Only time will tell. Hopefully, Land Rover can shoehorn all of this into the cab without compromising too much on space and performance off-road. After-all, the more electronics you have, the more can go wrong!

What would you like to see on the next model? How do you see the design moving along?

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7 Comments

  1. Michelle says:

    Whilst I would prefer the Defender to remain as it is, perhaps with a price reduction, I do think that Land Rover know what we customers want and I’m not worried too much. After all, there are millions of Defenders out there, even if the new one’s horrible!

  2. Bart Snowman says:

    Hopefully the new Defender will be designed by the old designers

  3. Joey Swasey says:

    Read over the whole piece.. I think it’s pretty accurate

  4. HUNTER says:

    I think the new look is great, just some minor tweaking required. My biggest worry is that they’ll do away with the SWB

  5. Peter says:

    Your proposal doesn’t go quiet far enough. Need to add the following: (1) better internal ergonomics; (2)slightly wider track; (3) option of up to 3 lockers (can keep the TC).

  6. Jim says:

    NOOOOOOOO! NOOO! NOOOO! did i mention NO . its not the messiah, its a very naughty boy. i no likey, it no Defender it big poncy poof bus. it looks like something out of “the demolition man”

  7. MAgnus says:

    I guess we just have to accept times are changing.Safety regulations and so requiers changes like airbags,chassis,etc.To build a car like the current version would almost be impossible without change to much i guess.But to build a robust safe workhorse shouldnt be that complicated,after all L-R are a very succesfull company who knows what they are doing.I have owned 8 of these lovely machines so i am devoted allright.I will probably buy the last one before the new one comes and keep it til i cant drive anymore!

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