Recent spy shots of the next Land Rover Discovery have availed themselves, and looking at the SUV (likely due for model-year 2018) has us feeling a little underwhelmed.
Thankfully, Land Rover will be ditching the meaningless, U.S.-only LR4 name for its next-generation large SUV, returning to a nameplate last used on a big Land Rover in 2004 (except the compact Discovery Sport). The Discovery will retain some of the LR4’s (and previous Disco’s) styling cues, including a floating roof panel and sturdy-looking roof rack, but the SUV’s signature double-hump roof and associated roof-mounted windows have been toned down significantly. Furthermore, the formerly square C- and D-pillars have been raked significantly, which doesn’t look good for either cargo capacity or third-row room. Around front, the headlights and grille take a good number of cues from the more luxurious Range Rover, giving it a distinctly upmarket visage that will fool many customers’ friends into thinking they spent more than they actually did.
From these exterior photos, it’s difficult to distinguish what kind of interior upgrades the new Discovery will have, but we can see a Range Rover-esque steering wheel, and the dashboard looks sufficiently low for good forward sightlines. That’ll bode well for off-road visibility. Helping in that regard will be Land Rover’s innovative “transparent hood,” a camera system that uses the infotainment screen to display what’s going on directly in front of and underneath the SUV’s front end. Such a feature will help with navigating up steep hills and over ridges, giving the owner a better idea of what’s going on ahead. Further assisting the Discovery off-road will be a sophisticated, laser-fired forward monitoring system, which will evaluate the path ahead and adjust stability control, suspension, transmission, and throttle settings to assist in forward progress.
Rumor has it the Discovery will be available with Jaguar Land Rover’s line of Ingenium engines, including a 2.0L gasoline I-4 mated with an electric motor to create the first-ever hybrid Disco. We also expect the Land Rover lineup’s other offerings, including the 3.0L diesel V-6 found in the Range Rover and a rumored Ingenium 3.0L gasoline I-6 that should produce up to 400 hp. That engine will be the first straight-six in a U.S.-market Land Rover in years, and we can’t wait to experience the engine configuration’s buttery-smooth reputation in an off-roader (RIP Jeep 4.0L I-6).
Reactions to the new Disco are mixed around our office. We’re positive it’ll be even more capable off-road than the current LR4, and we’re happy to see the Discovery name return to Land Rover’s American dealers as a large SUV. But we’re going to miss that stepped roof and square-jawed styling. This machine, while attractive enough, is so generic-looking that some on staff thought it was the next-generation Ford Explorer. Still, a luxurious interior, newfound efficiency, and genuine off-road prowess will likely make it a huge hit among American customers.
Source: SpiedBilde Photography