Discovery, We Hardly Knew Ye

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

The uproar over the Ford Explorer’s move to a unibody, car-based platform was deafening, largely led by a chorus of internet know-it-alls who found it convenient to be outraged when it meant the opportunity for clicks (and were otherwise contemptuous of anything with a raised ride height and two box shape). No such outrage has been present for the new Land Rover Discovery’s err, crossing over.

I never cared much for the Disco, the LR3 or LR4, as they came to be known. Former EIC Baruth adored his ’97 5-speed Discovery, but where I grew up, they were little more than glorified carpool taxi, never seeing terrain more rugged than a gravel driveway.

The move to a unibody platform makes sense, no matter how hard the Land Rover faithful (or non-buying purists) might protest. Land Rover, like many great marques, has come a lifestyle brand, albeit with far less merchandising than some other premium nameplates. The newest Disco is a great accoutrement, and probably a very nice vehicle, if JLR’s latest crop of cars is anything to go by.

Its biggest flaws will be that

  • A crop of non-buying know-it-alls finds it unsatisfactory due to its lack of off-road chops
  • For many self-conscious buyers, it won’t be the most expensive Land Rover products, thus making it a shameful “poverty spec” alternative to the Range Rover lineup

Ironically, the very point of the Discovery range (as it will now be called) is to fulfill both of those mandates. No matter – since the Explorer moved to a more car-like unibody design, sales have increased each year JLR will sell plenty of Discos too.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Slance66 Slance66 on Sep 03, 2014

    What a brutal audience. This replaces the LR2. They just created a very attractive, reasonably efficient SUV, which may be the smallest 7 seat capable SUV on the market. It may look a little like a smaller Explorer (not that Dead Weight or anyone else here has seen one), but the Explorer sells like hotcakes for a reason. I have little doubt that while it won't be truly off road capable, it will be better in snow and mud than its competition in this space. Nobody goes off-roading in a car this expensive. My wife loved it immediately. I'll wait to see them live and see the specs, including actual prices. But this will sell 10X over the LR2.

    • See 2 previous
    • Heavy handle Heavy handle on Sep 03, 2014

      " Nobody goes off-roading in a car this expensive." Depends where you live I guess. The people I know with Rovers also own properties way off the beaten track. Their Mercs and Jags and Bimmers don't get off-roaded, but the Rovers do. Off course, that's going by the Canadian definition of off-road ("the road ends here, but I've got a ways to go"). I know that others define off-roading as rock crawling, mudding, etc, in which case you would want to get something cheap and cheerful, and then lift it.

  • Tstag Tstag on Sep 03, 2014

    TTAC should have been clearer. This model replaces the Freelander and is a massive leap forward from that model (at a price). The current Discovery will evolve and therefore should not dispoint loyal fans. Those people who want a Cherokee rival just need to wait for the new range of Defenders to launch. JLR are launching lots more SUV, there will be a mid size Range Rover, between the Evoque and Sport. And probably a smaller Disco. Lots and lots of new metal is on the way.

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Sep 05, 2014

      Agree. The article is written to very clearly paint it as a replacement for the LR4.

  • Scott What people want is the Jetson Car sound.This has come up before.
  • Joerg I just bought a Corolla Cross Hybrid SE a few weeks ago, and I regret it. But not for any of the reasons stated so far. It drives well enough for me, gas mileage is great for a car like that, the interior is fine, nothing to complain about for normal daily use. I bought this relatively small SUV thinking it is basically just a smaller version of the RAV4 (the RAV4 felt too big for me, drives like a tank, so I never really considered it). I also considered the AWD Prius, but storage capacity is just too small (my dog would not fit in the small and low cargo space).But there are a few things that I consider critical for me, and that I thought would be a given for any SUV (and therefore did not do my due diligence before the purchase): It can’t use snow chains per the manual, nor any other snow traction devices. Even with AWD, snow chains are sometimes required where I go, or just needed to get out of a stuck situation.The roof rack capacity is only a miniscule 75 lbs, so I can’t really load my roof top box with stuff for bigger trips.Ironically, the European version allows snow chains and roof rack capacity is 165 lbs. Same for the US Prius version. What was Toyota thinking?Lastly, I don’t like that there is no spare tire, but I knew that before the purchase. But it is ridiculous that this space is just filled up with a block of foam. At least it should be made available for additional storage. In hindsight, I should have bought a RAV4. The basic LE Hybrid version would have been just about 1k more.
  • MaintenanceCosts Looks like the best combination of capability, interior comfort, and subtle appearance can be achieved by taking a Laramie (crew cab, short bed, 4x4 of course) and equipping it with the Sport Appearance, Towing Technology, and Level 2 packages as well as a few standalone options. That's my pick.Rebel is too CRUSH THAT CAN BRO and Limited and up are too cowboy Cadillac.
  • Xidex easier to buy a mustang that already sounds like that. love the coyote growl
  • Oberkanone Shaker motor on an EV. No thanks.