Throughout the 1980s, and into the middle of the nineties, Honda reassured themselves that the sports utility vehicle craze was just a fad. The company spent years refusing to develop their own SUVs of any caliber, and instead turned to other companies (eventually) to fill gaps in the model lineup.
Honda did rebadging work to various extents, and then sold the borrowed SUVs around the world. Today’s Rare Ride is one such offering, though it’s more obscure then all of its stablemates down at Honda Rebadge Corral. Let’s check out a Honda Crossroad, from 1993.
The year is 2000, and a whole bunch of people have just recovered from an unnecessary panic over how computers worldwide would tackle the date change from ’99 to ’00. Crisis averted, and with Nokia candy bar phone in pocket, they headed to dealerships to buy midsize luxury SUVs with their newfound Dot Com cash.
Which millennium-mobile gets the Buy?
Once again, we’re going to keep it in the ’90s and determine which of three imported, alternative semi-luxury SUVs should burn at the stake. Are you ready for gold badges and two-tone? Rhetorical question.
Newly restyled for its 2017 debut, the fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery rock crawls into 2018 much the same, save for pricing, new standard and available content, and the wider availability of a powerplant with a bad global reputation.
Not to say that Jaguar Land Rover’s 3.0-liter diesel V6 is a bad motor — rather, that all oil-burning engines have taken an image hit since Volkswagen’s recent naughtiness. Still, Jaguar Land Rover is enjoying surprising success with its diesels in the United States, so it’s not entirely surprising to see a powerplant known for stump-pulling torque setting up shop in another off-road focused model.
The new 2018 Land Rover Discovery (née LR4) is not the automatically handsome successor to the Discovery 4 you assumed it would be.
The front end is visually softened. Viewed from the side, there’s enough bodywork between the windowline and wheelwell to empty the paint shop. The need to maintain a traditional Discovery shape was compromised in part by aero demands, and the result is flat rather than boxy. The C-pillar leaning far forward is more reminiscent of a Lexus RX than a Discovery Series I.
But it’s around the back where Land Rover’s own design boss, Gerry McGovern, has his own problem. “Overall, I like the design of the back of the Discovery for its asymmetry,” McGovern tells Auto Express, “because it’s tipping its hat to the Discoveries of the past.”
The problem then, Mr. McGovern? License plates. Yes. License plates.
Details have come to light regarding the return of Land Rover’s long-running Defender model to the North American market. This time around, things will be a little different. After a solid 67-year run (dating back to 1948 as the “Series” models), perhaps some changes were due.
And this time, North America gets to see the new Defender at the same time as the rest of the world.
Today’s Question of the Day is the inverse of one I posited back in March of this year. At that time, we took your suggestions for current vehicle designs which you thought would stand the test of time.
It’s now time to cover the other side of the ugly coin; the vehicles on sale today which will become dated-looking quicker than all others.
“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.
Ahh, style. The word that means different things to different people. The khaki-clad middle manager and the 20-something hipster from Seattle both have a sense of it, even if wildly divergent. And this equally applies to cars.
For example, though many of the B&B complain about how all cars look the same now, I don’t think that’s true.
Your assignment today is to think about present-day exterior styling as applied to cars, and come up with a suggestion that’s suitably timeless.
Land Rover pulled the wraps off the next-generation Discovery today at the Paris Auto Show, revealing a host of changes to the brand’s storied nameplate.
Not wanting anyone to mistake it for another SUV, the automaker kept some exterior styling cues from the outgoing LR4, but moved the overall shape in the direction of the Discovery Sport. However, the biggest changes hide beneath the Disco’s skin.
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.