The new Discovery was easily the star of the show for both Jaguar Land Rover and the assembled British journalists. The seven-seat SUV is nearly 12 years old and, much like the Defender, has been loved by families for its boxy design and more “practical” appeal. The new model has drawn both criticism and praise for its far more curvaceous lines, familiar Land Rover family face, and loss of the split tailgate. Does Gerry McGovern care (I feel I already know the answer to that one)?
“I thought [the split tailgate] would be one of the most talked-about things, but I think we’ve been quite clever. The reasons we’ve done it are simple: one of the focuses was to get a higher lever of premium execution: smaller panel gaps, tighter tolerances. If you do that as one piece, you get much better quality in terms of the gaps and overall finish, What it also affords you is a bigger aperture – you’ve only got one lot of mechanisms to open.
"So although we've got rid of the split tailgate, we've just approached it in a different way, a more relevant way.
“I don’t want to upset our customers, but I really thing the view that “that’s what it’s like” is a very retrospective way of looking at it… I think it’s a design that traditionalists will warm to.”
One of the major buying points for the Discovery is its appeal to families. The new Disco comes with easily accessible Isofix points and nine USB charging points – imagine the bliss – five children, all on separate devices. And yet both Jaguar and Land Rover have climbed steadily up the premium pole in the past couple of years. “Kids like to sit in something premium too”, retorts McGovern. "Although it’s got premium materials, it will be durable. The kid thing is as much about making sure people realise this is a family vehicle; it’s inclusive. It allows you to carry your family in style."