There was a time, back in 2011, when we thought Land Rover’s DC100 concepts — revealed in three-door hardtop and open-top guises — might be the new Defender.

The company allowed us to think it held strong clues. Most at Autocar liked it, especially when they let us drive it on the beach in Los Angeles, where we enjoyed its compactness and modernity.

But the DC100 wasn’t the new Defender. It finished up showing what the Defender would not be. While we approved, the Defender faithful emphatically did not. They reckoned it too slight, too small and simply not imposing enough to rule as the new icon. Looking back, especially with the extra insight brought by last year’s end-of-Defender celebrations, they were right.

One thing the DC100 did, though, was to demonstrate that a move towards a greater breadth of function was in the minds of the model’s creators, led by design director Gerry McGovern. However, having been roundly criticised once, McGovern and his team have shown us no more ideas, although there have been plenty. The next one we see will be real and, partly thanks to the DC100, you can bet it’ll look like a true flagship. 

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