Tuesday, 22 November 2011 3:39 PM
When the Land Rover Defender first launched in late 1990, super powered with a modern turbo diesel engine and direct injection, it soon became the world’s most popular rough and rugged 4x4 and has suffered few changes since then. Then came news that, due to Euro emission rules, the beloved Defender would have to be relegated to motoring history. This coupled with the first look at the DC100 concept, which was to be its eventual replacement; the future looked bleak for the Defender.
However, due to changes in pedestrian impact and emissions legislation this is no longer the case and it looks as though the Defender may be with us for a few more years. The Defender has been given a new 2.2 litre diesel engine, still a powerful engine though much more environmentally friendly. That is the 120bhp at 3500 rpm, 255lb/ft of torque and fuel consumption remains the same, however, to comply with the legislation, considerably lower emissions of 266g/km for the Defender 90 and 295g/km for the Defender 110 and 130. Due to better engine management and a diesel particulate filter the new Defender benefits from lower levels of NOx, CO and HC.
Originally launched as a successor to the Land Rover Defender; by 2015, the DC100 was first showcased at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September and gives a good indication of the direction in which Land Rover are looking to move in the future. The DC100 is designed to remain true to the Defenders heritage, however critiques claim that the DC100 leaves us with only a rather disappointing and diluted SUV.
The core value of the DC100 is to keep the original rugged honesty of the Defender - so as not to ostracize traditional buyers such as agricultural markets and rescue services - however Land Rover also needs to create a vehicle which can comply with everyday consumers’ desires in these current carbon-crunched times. The DC100 is modern and squat, and not dissimilar to its more commercial counterparts. Gerry McGoven of Land Rover design said “Loved the world over for its simple, honest and distinctive design, we are determined that the new Defender will be true to its heritage.” For die-hard Defender fans the delay of the DC100 can only be a good thing.
It seems as though the key debate is whether Land Rover go on reinventing the Defender or to alternatively opt for an entire rethink. The DC100 has received little enthusiasm, however hope lies in that the DC100 is only a concept and there is much room for redesign and change. The 2012 Land Rover Defender with its new engine is far removed from an icon reborn; however it is a very clever measure to keep the traditional and much-loved Defender alive whilst Land Rover decides how best to approach the change in the future.