Land Rover’s line-up of mid-range sport-utility vehicles is about to get a bit bigger. Actually, quite a bit bigger, considering the new model set to make its debut at the Paris Motor Show will be a three-row, seven-seater.
The British maker is offering up just this one tease image and it suggests that the new Land Rover Discovery will pick up the more tapered shape of the popular Range Rover Evoq, rather than the classic, “Disco” box.
It is also expected to move a fair bit more up-market than the old SUV, adding a larger model to complement the Discovery Sport that came to market little more than a year ago. Land Rover has also made it clear we’ll see a third model bearing the Disco badge in the not-too-distant future.
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Beyond the Evoq roofline and grille, the new Land Rover Discovery might trigger a sense of déjà vu for those who recall the Discovery Vision Concept that made an out-of-this-world debut during a New York Auto Show preview in April 2014. The show car was unveiled alongside a mock-up of the Virgin Galactic Enterprise, the world’s first commercial manned spacecraft, aboard the retired aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid.
“The new Discovery redefines the large SUV. Land Rover’s design and engineering teams have revolutionized the Discovery DNA to create a highly desirable, extremely versatile and hugely capable premium SUV,” said Gerry McGovern, head of styling for the SUV side of Jaguar Land Rover.
While we’ll have to wait for Paris to get a look at the Discovery’s interior, both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands have been slashing the number of knobs and buttons on recent models. We’ll likely not see the maker go quite so far as the Vision Concept’s spacecraft-like touchscreen display, but “We want (Discovery) to be far more intuitive” to operate, McGovern hinted during the 2014 event.
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While the new seven-seat Discovery will make its debut in Paris on September 28th, potential buyers will be in for a wait, the new model not set to go on sale until mid-2017, according to Land Rover.
Pricing won’t be released until closer to the time the new Land Rover Discovery rolls into showrooms, but it appears safe to conclude it will be moving up-market as it gets a more refined design and lots of new technology, including safety, comfort and performance features. Expect the latest JLR touch-based infotainment system, safety hardware such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and improved off-road systems.
The new Disco, in fact, is expected to be the first Land Rover to get a workover from JLR’s new Special Vehicle Operations. It will be offered with an SVX package that is expected to mean enhanced performance, both on- and off-road, as well as a bolder appearance package.
As with the Discovery Sport, the three-row Disco migrates to a new aluminum monocoque design that will shave significant amounts of weight off the current, 5,780-pound SUV. That should translate into substantial improvements in fuel economy, a major challenge for the British maker as it faces down tough new global emissions and fuel economy standards.
Expect to see Land Rover offer a mix of powertrains, including diesels, supercharged gas engines and, as its main drivetrain, a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo expected to make around 240 horsepower.
Ultimately, Land Rover expects to target three distinct market segments – or “pillars” — going forward. The three Discovery models will anchor the “leisure” group, while the Defender will serve as the heart of the “dual purpose” group. The Range Rover and its spin-offs will, no surprise, make up the “luxury group.”
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