Land Rover is reportedly making the final touches to the fifth-generation Discovery SUV, preparing the vehicle for its launch in 2016.
The new Discovery, which will be much lighter compared to the model currently in the market, will feature new technology and a sleeker, lower design inspired by the Discovery Vision concept that was unveiled last year. The vehicle will also have a more upmarket and sophisticated cabin while keeping the versatility and practicality of the current Discovery.
Gerry McGovern, the design director for Land Rover, said that the new seven-seater model will be crowning a family of at least three models of the new Discovery.
In addition to the seven-seater, there will also be the Discovery Sport, which will be smaller in size. With McGovern's statement of at least three Discovery models, the door is left open for another one that would be even smaller than the Discovery Sport. Land Rover is said to be looking to experiment with new body styles and classes to grab a bigger share of the booming SUV market that is expected to soon reach worldwide sales of 20 million units.
Lighter But Sportier
Previewed in April 2014 at the New York International Auto Show along with the Discovery Vision, the new Discovery showcases the intention of Land Rover to create sportier vehicles that are more modern-looking without sacrificing versatility and practicality. However, even with the new design language, McGovern said that the new Discovery will not be polarizing and will not be upsetting traditionalists.
The new Discovery will share the riveted and bonded aluminum monocoque structure that is found underneath the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, which are two vehicles that will be built alongside the fifth-generation SUV at the Solihull plant of Jaguar Land Rover. The structure would be responsible for a significant slash in weight for the new Discovery compared to the kerb weight of the current model of 2,622 kilograms (about 5,780 pounds).
For UK and Europe, the new Discovery will be driven by a core engine that would be an updated version of the 3.0-liter SDV6 diesel engine powering the current Discovery, the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport. For the United States, specifications are being kept under wraps for now.
New Tech, But No Hybrid Version
Consumers expecting hybrid options for the new Discovery would be disappointed to know that Jaguar Land Rover's research projects into hybrid and electric engines are not yet ready to be produced until perhaps the next decade.
Later on in the life of the Discovery, Ingenium family engines could be fitted into the SUV, either in their current four-cylinder design with mild hybrid features or with a V6 design, once Jaguar Land Rover is able to develop its new module engine technology.
The new Discovery will still feature the class-leading off-roading ability, but McGovern added that the capabilities will be combined with design, which is now holding a more significant role in collaborations with engineering.
The fifth-generation SUV will also be featuring new technology such as laser scanners that will adjust the transmission and suspension of the vehicle according to the state of the road, a transparent bonnet which will project an image of what is below the vehicle onto the device, and a system to remotely control the vehicle when parking in tight spaces.
More information about the upcoming fifth-generation Discovery will be revealed over the coming months leading to its launch. The vehicle is slated to be unveiled online in the days leading up to the Geneva Motor Show in March 2016. The vehicle is scheduled to be put up for sale in the United States in time for the 2018 model year.