Tomorrow is the much-anticipated global launch of the new Discovery. Our Editor Dave Phillips gives us his thoughts on what we can expect
The new Discovery recently broke cover via a few teaser pictures and a Bear Grylls promotion video. Everyone is in agreement that it looks very different to its predecessors. Gone is blunt front end in favour of a sleeker look, with a narrow grille reminiscent of its Discovery Sport sibling. Even the trademark stepped roof has been consigned to history.
Land Rover isn’t telling us much about the fifth-generation model. We don’t even know exactly what it will be called, as the company has made a point of not calling it Discovery 5. Instead they are calling it New Discovery.
Maybe Gerry McGovern, its creator, has taken a leaf out of Tony Blair’s book? Blair created New Labour to distance himself from the Labour party of old. Is Gerry making a break from Discovery’s past? I do hope not. After all, if it hadn’t been for the success of the original Discovery, Land Rover would probably have died a quarter of a century ago.
You don’t need a forensic examination to know that new Discovery is Gerry’s baby. It’s got his fingerprints all over it. It looks very similar to every other Land Rover model in recent years. The days when each was very distinctive have long gone.
Land Rover won’t say what’s under the bonnet, but it’s certain to be some new offerings from JLR’s new Ingenium family. Expect them to be very powerful yet frugal.
You can also expect a wealth of new off-road technology. There’ll probably be another setting on the Terrain Response knob and a whole new set of acronyms to explore. The wading capability no doubt will be greater than its predecessor. It always is.
What we can tell you for sure is that the new vehicle will seat seven full-size adults in comfort. We know that, because Land Rover has already boasted of its Intelligent Seat Fold technology, with a stunt in which adventurer Bear Grylls and a bunch of Royal Navy skydivers leapt from a plane and, via a remote control, operated the seating arrangements of a new Disco parked thousands of feet below.
“I’m not sure many people will be using it in such a manner,” admitted Bear. I tend to agree.
The puzzle is how they can squeeze seven adults into a car which looks smaller than its predecessor. And does the removal of stepped roof mean that the third row of seats will be lower and passengers won’t enjoy such a great view? Never mind, the interior is certain to be better-appointed than any previous Discovery, with occupants enjoying levels of sumptuous luxury once found only in Range Rovers. They can always look at the infotainment instead.
For enthusiasts wary of new technology, such a sophisticated new model provokes mixed emotions. It is sure to be hugely complicated – and those with long memories are sure to recall the troublesome P38 Range Rover and, to a lesser extent, the electronic glitches in early Discovery 3. When this stuff goes wrong it is sometimes difficult – and often expensive – to put right.
And, talking of expense, we don’t yet know what new Discovery cost. But we soon will. All will be revealed on September 28, when Land Rover has promised to fully unveil its new creation – prior to the Paris Motor Show, where it will be officially launched.
I, for one, can hardly wait.
I love my Discovery 3 and can't afford a D4 or the new Discovery. I’m sure that it will do everything and more that its predecessors.
I like the design but I just don't think it is what a Land Rover discovery should look like it lacks the rural and utilitarian looks that make you think that you can take it anywhere,
I really like the modern design. It is different enough from the Range Rover and Discovery Sport, it will also be more economical and fuel.
This is the end of the Discovery
Only good for posing in Chelsea and Mayfair. No good as a workhorse. Give me the Defender instead.