By on July 7, 2017

2017 Land Rover Discovery - Image: Land Rover“But in some cases, the traditionalists are going to
maybe pine over the squarer shape of the previous four iterations.”

– Jaguar Land Rover Australia Managing Director, Matthew Wiesner

The Land Rover Discovery, known for a time in North America as the LR3 and then LR4 whilst alphanumeric nomenclature was deemed necessary if one was to steal market share from the Lexus GX460, is a box.

Or rather, it was a box. For nearly three decades, through the Series I and Series II and then the LR3 and LR4 that ran for a dozen years or so, Land Rover’s sub-Range Rover was squared off. Hard lines. Rectangles. Right angles. No Bangles.

Land Rover has rediscovered the Discovery name in North America, but the brand did not manage to rediscover the Discovery’s styling themes. And on the other side of the world from Land Rover’s Coventry HQ, Australia’s Jaguar Land Rover boss is vocalizing a major concern.

“The new shape is certainly going to test some of the traditional owners of Discovery,” Matthew Wiesner told CarAdvice.

Ya don’t say.2017 Land Rover Discovery Namibia - Image: Land RoverBack in the USA, Land Rover perhaps need not care about traditional Discovery owners. There just aren’t that many of them. Since the recession, Land Rover USA has averaged only 7,700 annual LR4 sales, just 14 percent of Land Rover’s total. More costly Range Rover models, the original Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport, have proven distinctly more popular.

But the new Discovery, despite improved efficiency and on-road behavior, is a visually complicated affair in the eyes of diehard Discovery owners.2015 Land Rover LR4 - Image: Land RoverCopious amounts of bodywork above the rear wheels, an inartfully executed stepped roof, a front end that links the Discovery too closely to the soft-looking (and cheaper) Discovery Sport, and plentiful evidence of an all-around attempt to normalize the brick-shaped LR4 for aero purposes is not the way to an LR4 lover’s heart.

Nevertheless, says JLR Australia’s Wiesner, Land Rover sees evidence that the new Discovery is operating on a higher level than the old model, stealing sales from the Audi Q7 and BMW X5.

That’s not a bad thing, though only 40 percent of JLR Australia’s orders for the new Discovery are coming from owners of old Discoverys.

[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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27 Comments on “Jaguar Land Rover Exec: New Discovery Causes Traditionalists to ‘Pine Over’ Old Discovery Shape...”

  • avatar

    The problem is that while the previous disco/lr4 was the real thing, the new one is really a cheap 4 cyl crossover with a panoramic roof.

    Apparently JLR figures its clients are too stupid to tell the difference and will by the badge regardless.

    • 0 avatar

      LR4 sales tanked during the recession and never recovered. The only stupid people are the ones who want companies to sell gas guzzling ladder frame SUVs to people who want crossovers.

    • 0 avatar

      Not in North America it isn’t. While it might be preferable to have a V8 here, our only offerings are V6’s. And it’s a damn sight more luxurious than an LR4, and more capable, and better looking to this non-purist who couldn’t give a damn about what “purists” think.

      Purists here in America think a Land Rover should catch fire when it drives through a puddle. That the aircon shouldn’t work in the back seat. That a true Land Rover should weigh as much as the elephant that exactly none of its owners have ever seen outside a zoo, and accelerate only slightly more quickly. That it should have wonky electronics that can’t be counted on except when whatever digital muse there is moves it. And since few buy them new, “purists” scoff any any Land Rover that costs more than about $10,000 and lacks “character” acquired through close encounters with rocks and tree stumps.

    • 0 avatar

      ” the previous disco/lr4 was the real thing, the new one is really a cheap 4 cyl crossover” – 100% this. I saw one couple days ago – it does look as bad in reality as on the picture. It just screams econobox with extra long butt ducktaped to the front. I can bet no designers signed off the project with their real name.

  • avatar

    Looks more like a copy of the Ford Explorer. Which was a copy of the Discovery Sport.

  • avatar

    But the usual lack of reliability should make up for that, right?

  • avatar

    Is the first picture for Australians?

  • avatar

    The 2009 Jaguar XJ redesign was a dagger to the heart.

  • avatar

    I still can’t tell the Discovery and Discovery Sport apart. It doesn’t help that the badging is almost identical on both, with only a small “Sport” on the rear of the Sport.

    OTOH, I am seeing tons of the Discovery Sport around both Toronto and Rhode Island. However Consumer Reports might have bashed the Sport, people seem to like it.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    The old one is entirely preferable to the new. I shall never think otherwise.

  • avatar

    I saw a Discovery Sport in traffic this morning and said to myself “is that the new Discovery? Why, it can’t be!” I guess it wasn’t. That’s confusing.

    My neighbor next door has a brown LR4. My wife’s eyes are starting to wander looking for replacements for her 10 yo XC90. She sent me a pic of the new Disco the other day. When I told her our neighbor drives a Discovery she wasn’t convinced it was the same model. She had me doubting it so even I had to look it up to confirm.

    Who are the ad wizards that came up with this strategery?

  • avatar

    To be fair to Land Rover they have realised that the old LR4 was a bit to much like what the next Defender may become. So they’ve tried to move the Discovery brand away from the hard lines of the next Defender and a bit closer to Range Rover. Discovery is basically evolving into a range of seven seat premium 4x4s. I suspect the forthcoming Defender will be a lot like the outgoing LR4 which is no bad thing when you consider the Discovery was closer to the Toyota Land Cruiser than the very capable but agricultural Defender. Give Land Rover 5 years and their range will make much more sense.

  • avatar

    I propose that all articles about Australia have upside down images like this one does.

  • avatar

    I definitely see few around here mostly driven by women in late 20s married I assumed to rich old men.

  • avatar

    Like the Discovery had an iconic design – not.

    What LR can’t do is mess up the design of the new Defender.

  • avatar

    Listen most people in America are not really loyal to much these days, so to expect decent feedback on this matter is about as likely as the sky to rain money. I’m an American, but I can appreciate design, legacy and tradition… Although I can appreciate modern design and what Land Rover is trying to do with the line of Discovery. I have to agree that the new design is not a fav of mine…
    I own an 06 LR3 and it has over 150,000 miles… And I’m still taking it out through my back roads and all over California… My gas mileage has been decent for box frame and haven’t had any major mechanical/electrical issues that would raise concern.
    That square frame is an iconic Land Rover Design.. It’s practical, and allows for outstanding views while your passing up Land Cruisers and jeeps on those rigorous trails. I don’t care how many of you think you know LR, but I’m speaking from experience… I will be riding my LR3 till it’s dying days and continue to loyally support LR… The design might be something to get use to, but the innovation on new Disco from Land Rover should help ease the aesthetic pain… I would gladly pay the gas for the iconic design of discos! They just work!

  • avatar

    I have 2015 LR4. It is quirky and not as easy to use as say a Tahoe or GLS 450 would be – but it’s my wife’s car and she made the call based on absolutely loving the look of it. She’s an interior designer and is often complemented on her style/taste so I assume she knows that she’s talking about. To me it looks like a Jeep Liberty and while it isn’t the most user friendly truck, there is something really nice about it when you take it for a longer distance ride. Around town I prefer my car but on a drive into the mountains or to the beach, this thing feels perfect.

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