When it comes to next-generation rough-and-tumble off-roaders, both Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz have shown off concepts of their next burly SUVs. But which of those is the better concept: the cutesy Land Rover DC100 or the futuristic Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force?
Both vehicles are attempts to bring iconic old-school SUVs into the 21st century. In the case of the DC100, the concept represents Land Rover's vision for the next Defender. Shown at various auto shows including Frankfurt, Los Angeles, and New York, the DC100 loosely shows how the next-generation Land Rover Defender will look when it debuts in 2015. And unlike the current Defender, the next one will be sold in America, as confirmed by Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern.
The light-blue DC100 hardtop and the yellow DC100 Sport both have chunky lines, big skidplates, raised suspension, and even options like snorkels to make the vehicles capable of true off roading. They borrow much of their styling from the Range Rover Evoque, and are supposed to be far more pleasant and modern than today's boxy, dated, and still somewhat crude Land Rover Defender.
The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force, meanwhile, shows how the German brand could evolve its famous G-Class. The SUV has long been a hallmark of durability and simplicity, with trademarks like three locking differentials helping cement its exceptional off-road ability. Although the Mercedes G-Class was slightly revised for 2013, an all-new version is likely on the way soon.
Although designed to meet a competition for which entrants must design the police vehicle of 2025, the Ener-G-Force is very much a futuristic G-Class SUV. The squared-off nose with big grille, beefy wheels and tires, tall stance, and off-road accessories like big roof lights all make this concept look like a more modern Gelandewagen. The powertrain is a futuristic hydrogen fuel-cell setup with an individual electric motor powering each of the four wheels.
As both the Ener-G-Force and DC100 are set to inform the next generation of serious off-roading SUVs, which one does a better job of bringing the rough-and-tumble box into the 21st century? Do you prefer the cutesy looks and colors, plus lengthy British heritage, of the Land Rover DC100 that will become the Defender? Or does the utilitarian appeal of the G-Class and the forward-thinking design of the Ener-G-Force concept draw your allegiance to Mercedes? Let us know in the comments section below -- and check back in a few years' time to see the completed, production-ready 2015 Land Rover Defender and next-generation Mercedes-Benz G-Class.