Instead, the front has the familiar Land Rover family styling – sleek, curvaceous, more “lifestyle”, perhaps. The corners are rounded, the stepped roof is pared down, and the tailgate is one piece of metal. Eek. One can see the values of the outgoing Disco rising dramatically as everyone who loves the rugged old look clings on to their cars.
But Gerry McGovern, Design Director at Land Rover, has been in the job a long time and is firm in his aspirations to glamourise the range. His approach has certainly not put off customers, despite the criticism from motoring journalists, and it’s not quite as extreme as it might first appear. Take, for example, the disappearance of the split tailgate. The one-piece operation means a bigger aperture for loading stuff – i.e., it’s MORE practical than the outgoing model, and there’s still a flap inside that flops down for the Hunter brigade to sit on at point-to-points to lever off their wellies.
Plus, the luxury, lifestyle design on the outside continues inside, and here it pays big dividends, especially in the Discovery. Who would honestly prefer the inside of the outgoing model, with its tired plastics and dull black leathers? The new model is a smart tribute to Amy Frascella, materials boss, who has done some very clever things with colours, and materials that look like leather but aren’t, and open-grain woods. There are subtle shades of monochromes, patterned textiles, tightly stitched dashboards and the edge of leather turn up to create piping on the seats. The three rows of seats can be folded electronically from the front or via an app on your phone while you’re still loading your shopping trolley in the shop, and there’s a hidden cubby hole behind the climate zone in the dash. It’s a lovely, lovely place to sit and for the first time, made me wonder why I’d buy a Range Rover.