Last year the magazines and motoring press were awash with horror stories that Land Rover was about to release the replacement to the Defender in the form of the DC100. It caused such a stir for two reasons: Firstly, it was nothing remotely like the vehicle it was destined to replace, and secondly, it was a hoax.
The DC100 was developed as a concept car and sent out to cause as much of a ruckus as possible. I even fell for it. How can a two door, short-wheelbase vehicle, with low profile tyres and a stylish SUV appeal be a truck? It can’t, can it? Land Rover’s only mistake was, that for while we all thought you were a bunch of ignorant morons, with no clue as to what or who drives your cars. But the truth is far from what the press has to say (That’s a good lesson for life generally).
The furore over the DC100 has been unprecedented, and from it Land Rover learnt two main lessons: Defender owners will hate it. And, lots of people who couldn’t care less what a Defender is, will love it, and would rush out and buy it.
Land Rover, I am told, is taking the Defender replacement very seriously, calling in users from inside and outside the company all over the world to find out what they want. They’ve been testing Land Cruisers, Merc G-Wagens and Nissans, to name a few, to compare and ask to be compared. As someone who has always loved the Defender, I am confident that whatever comes will be a vehicle suitable to replace the Defender and hopefully will keep some of its character. No easy job. But it will be a modern vehicle, that is far, far easier to live with (that part, not very difficult).