Land Rover Discovery Concept – Design is Boldy Futuristic – But 5 Years Late and Still 2 Years Away

The Discovery LR4 replacement is five years late, and still (at least) two years from even hitting the US market as a likely 2016 model. It is hard to be bullish on such a foolish folly.


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Jaguar Land Rover gets so excited about every new design… that it becomes hard to keep a lid on all the news. It boiled over on this Discovery Concept in a similar way as the Jaguar CX-17 (SUV) from Frankfurt, but this time: at least Land Rover followed up with a full release.

The trouble-some scenario for the Jaguar leak actually being credible news was that it was unconfirmed for five days — simply vying for attention along with the hundreds of other renderings that were circulating of the machine. Therefore, most respectable places could not even write about the singular leaked image.

This Discovery concept is official and officially big news… but mostly because the current model is ancient. Ancient.

Painted bumpers and new headlights do nothing to help it seem competitive in 2014’s seven-seater market. One that starts in 2014 with the Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan Rogue from $22,000, mind you.

2002 debut is absolutely shameful — but not nearly as bad as the 1998 origins of the unwanted Freelander LR2 that is still being foisted on US shoppers.

For unknown reasons, the LR2 is still popular in the UK. Mostly on its cheap price, mind you, versus the Evoque. The Evoque is nice, but is not much car-per-dollar once you do that math and sit inside for a little while. It is tiny tiny tiny.

The new Discovery therefore cannot arrive a moment too soon. Sales of the LR4 in the United States basically ceased altogether once the seven-seat Range Rover Sport started arriving en masse.

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Land Rover critics often cite the model”s worst-in-the-business reliability and build quality, but it is actually just simple bad dynamics and competitors who are on their third generation of cars since the Discovery II came out in the early 2000s.

Only a fool would keep trying to maintain a Discovery’s wheels-down stance in the face of its woeful body control, rough ride, and poor handling. A bad combination to be sure, especially as moms everywhere will no longer accept body-on-frame limitations.

A thirst for fuel like nothing this side of a tanker trailer does not help, nor the yester-tech cabin. All things that can and should be improved dramatically via the eventual LR4 Discovery replacement.

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Bold new vision for the New Age of Discovery: Smarter, more connected, more desirable and more capable


  • Discovery Vision Concept revealed ahead of New York Auto Show 2014.
  • Showcases the modern design language of the future Discovery family.
  • Pioneering Jaguar Land Rover research technologies feature, including smart glass, intelligent laser headlamps and gesture control.
  • Previews future Terrain Response system with Remote Control Drive, Laser Terrain Scanning and Transparent Bonnet head-up display.
  • Highly versatile, with innovative fold-and-slide configurable seating system for seven people, deployable event platform and social bench.


GAYDON, UK, 15 APRIL 2014: Land Rover today revealed its Discovery Vision Concept SUV in New York. It is a vision of Land Rover’s future family of Discovery vehicles, the first model of which is due in 2015. The concept car previews dynamic new design language and an array of innovative versatility and capability features, while also showcasing pioneering technologies from Jaguar Land Rover’s advanced research division.


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The Discovery Vision Concept was unveiled alongside a scale model of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft at a spectacular event aboard the USS Intrepid – a sea, air and space experience centre – in Manhattan, a day ahead of the opening of the New York Auto Show 2014.

With the Discovery poised to transition from a single model to a new family of vehicles which will redefine the leisure SUV category, the Discovery Vision Concept offers an exciting preview of Land Rover’s vision for the range, and the modern, premium design language of future models.

Phil Popham, Group Marketing Director, Jaguar Land Rover, said:

“We announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March that the Discovery family is set to evolve. And it is apt that in the 25th anniversary year of the original Discovery that we preview how this evolution will take us forward into a daring new era. The Discovery Vision Concept gives us the first stunning glimpse into this hugely exciting future.”

Designed for the future

TheDiscoveryVision Concept alludes to its unique lineage with design elements such as the stepped roof. Far greater attention than ever before has been given to creating relevant versatility combined with compelling design. This is a radical and sharply focused approach to embodying Land Rover’s vision of the ultimate leisure SUV.

Gerry McGovern, Design Director and Chief Creative Officer, Land Rover, said: “The Discovery Concept vehicle represents a Vision of our future family of leisure SUVs. Its modern, relevant and compelling design is a significant shift from Discovery as we know it, while well considered practicality, configurability and Land Rover’s capability seamlessly blend to create a highly desirable vehicle that connects on an emotional level.”

The advanced interior is both spacious and versatile with a whole array of innovative features; this multi-lifestyle versatility is epitomized by highly reconfigurable seating.

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By folding the seats flat or sliding them forward or back, via the touchscreen menu, the vehicle can be converted from its standard seven-seat layout to a six-seat, five-seat or even a four-seat ‘limousine’ mode. Detachable, carry-away stroller-style luggage is seamlessly integrated into the vehicle doors, while accessories cleverly integrated into the seatbacks offer high levels of convenience to the passengers seated behind.

A versatile evolution of the Discovery’s tailgate incorporates a powered, single-piece design; in conjunction with a deployable rear sill step and a folding bench seat in the loading area, it creates a flexible event platform with social seating for active lifestyles. On its own, the sill step can also be fitted with a bike/ski rack.

The theme of versatility continues with the materials used in the Discovery Vision Concept interior. The cabin is finished in two innovative types of washable and water- and oil-repellent Foglizzo premium leather that can be cleaned in seconds. Wood veneer on the floors and instrument panel and bespoke accessories lined in Harris Tweed help to create a warm, uniquely British feeling of quality and craftsmanship.

Pushing the boundaries through technology

The Discovery Vision Concept offers a window into the advanced research projects which are underway at Jaguar Land Rover. They illustrate how future Land Rovers could evolve, and the direction of development of technology geared towards the needs of the customers of the future. These include:

  • Next-generation Human-Machine Interface (HMI) technology creates a rich and truly immersive multimedia experience for all occupants, including video calls between passengers through the seatback infotainment screens, Smart Glass bringing the power of augmented reality to the entire glasshouse, and various functions, including the doors, indicators, headlamps and seatback screens, operated by Gesture Control.
  • Remote Control Drive enables the driver to manoeuvre the car at very low speed while not actually seated inside it. Remote Control Drive has various useful applications both on- and off-road, from coupling a trailer, to external spotting during extreme off-roading.
  • Visibility is greatly enhanced in all conditions with the powerful, day-like light of the laser headlamps, which feature intelligent object tracking and beam-dipping to improve driver safety. 
  • Navigating tight gaps is made easy with the visual assistance of Laser Referencing, which utilises visible lasers to project markings, symbols  and imagery onto ground surfaces.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “The Discovery Vision Concept demonstrates where Jaguar Land Rover’s pioneering technology and great, modern design could take the SUV in the future. It showcases the innovative approach that continues our leadership of the off-road segment. Smarter, more connected, more desirable and more capable – the Land Rovers of tomorrow will be fully and perfectly integrated into everyday life.”

No terrain left unconquered

Advanced technologies under development make their debut on the Discovery Vision Concept, taking SUV capability to the next level. Land Rover’s vision of next-generation Terrain Response is a system that can proactively utilise a variety of intelligent HMI and capability technologies, giving the driver the confidence to tackle virtually any terrain with ease.

The innovative Transparent Bonnet head-up display system offers an unimpeded view of the ground immediately ahead, greatly enhancing driver ability and confidence. Cameras fitted below the grille are paired with the Head-Up Display integrated into the windscreen. While traversing challenging terrain, the imagery can be projected onto the windscreen, so that it appears as if the vehicle’s bonnet is, in effect, transparent.

Laser Terrain Scanning utilises infrared lasers emitted from the front fog-lamps to continuously scan the terrain being traversed, and renders a contour map on the high-definition instrument cluster display. This mapping can be paired with the All-Terrain Coach guidance system to chart out a path and assist the driver in navigating it.

Lasers are also used by the next-generation Wade Aid sensory system to measure the depth of water even before the car enters it, and inform the driver of the feasibility of the intended wading manoeuvre. 

All-Terrain Progress Control enables semi-autonomous off-road driving at a steady speed across varying terrain.

Altogether, these technologies ensure that the Discovery Vision Concept not only honours Land Rover’s ethos of all-terrain capability, but takes it to a whole new dimension.

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Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “As a true pioneer, Land Rover is committed to constantly pushing the boundaries to redefine what SUV capability and versatility is all about. The Discovery Vision Concept shows the breadth of innovative, intelligent technologies being developed in order to offer our future customers unprecedented capability across any kind of terrain.”

Follow the excitement as the story continues to unfold over the next two weeks on Land Rover’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and join the conversation using #ReadyToDiscover.

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