People are always talking about progression in design — does it move things forward to the next level? Yet as soon as something comes along that conflicts with what they perceive to be historically correct they take issue with it, claiming it’s lost its appeal or muddled what they believe to be appropriate for the brand.
Case in point is the new Land Rover Discovery Vision concept. Many have already derided it, saying it looks like an amalgamation of Saab elements mixed in with the new Ford Explorer; that it’s lost it’s boxiness; that it no longer looks like a Discovery. While I agree with most of it, I don’t agree with it all.
It would also appear that most of this bemoaning is coming from the UK, where Land Rover is based. On this island, people still use the Disco to tow horse trailers and go to the farm. Ever seen a Discovery tow a trailer in New York? Or on a farm in China?
Yes, the front end and C-pillar might be reminiscent of the Ford Explorer, the silhouette (especially in the teaser image) may look a little like that of the defunct 9-4X — a rebadged Trailblazer built for a short time while GM still ran things at Saab. But it’s otherwise progressive for a Land Rover.
“We have created the Vision Concept to share the essence of Land Rover’s new age of Discovery and to debut a new, compelling, relevant design direction that connects on an emotional level with customers of today and tomorrow,” says Land Rover design boss Gerry McGovern.
The front end has been smoothed out to make it more aerodynamically efficient, and the entire design now appears visually lighter. The optical impact on rounding out all of the edges has resulted in a car that appears to be far smaller than it actually is, all whilst retaining the inherent capability of being able to transport seven people in comfort — a Discovery brief.
The exterior design of the Discovery Vision concept is more akin to its higher echelon Range Rover siblings, with a feature line that extends the length of the body joining the headlamps and taillamps – an element that’s on par with the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. Its ‘Alpine’ windows and stepped roofline have been retained though with a more modern aesthetic, while the beltline now plunges forward to bring more dynamism to the bodyside.
At the rear, the two-piece tailgate has been axed in favor of a single piece design, though Land Rover designers have wisely chosen to retain the asymmetry of the rear panel. They’ve also integrated a clever rear bench under the trunk floor and a deployable ‘event platform’ that doubles as a mount for ski or bike racks.
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