Diana T. Kurylko
Diana T. Kurylko
BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, Subaru Reporter

Land Rover provides more clues to expanded Discovery family

A teaser photo of the concept's interior shows little detail but the new Discovery likely will use Land Rover's new lightweight aluminum architecture and feature a more appealing exterior.

Photo credit: LAND ROVER
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Land Rover is taking its largest vehicle, the Discovery, and making a family of it.

In March at the Geneva auto show, Land Rover said an expanded Discovery range would debut in 2015.

Part two of the Discovery story is coming this month to the New York auto show.

Land Rover said on Wednesday it will reveal the Discovery Vision Concept SUV in New York. The use of only the Discovery name on the concept as opposed to LR4, which is the model's name in the United States, suggests what some company executives have hinted: the LR4 name will be dropped in the U.S.

A teaser photo of the concept’s interior shows little detail but the new Discovery likely will use Land Rover’s new lightweight aluminum architecture and feature a more appealing exterior.

By building a range of Discovery models, Land Rover could enter the highly competitive and growing compact crossover segment and market a worthy competitor for seven-seat crossovers to rival the Audi Q7.

Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s design director, said in a short statement that the “Discovery has been pivotal in helping to build the foundations of the Land Rover brand.

“We have created the Vision Concept to share the essence of Land Rover’s new age of Discovery and to debut a new, compelling, relevant design direction that connects on an emotional level with customers of today and tomorrow.”

The Discovery/LR4 is due for a redesign. It’s tall, boxy and heavy at 2,565 kgs (5,655 pounds). Land Rover replaced the LR4’s 5.0-liter V-8 engine with a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 for the 2014 model year. But combined city and highway fuel economy is only 14.7 liters/100km (16 mpg U.S./19 mpg UK). The Q7, also powered by a 3.0-liter V-6, has a combined fuel economy rating of 13.1 liters/100km (18 mpg U.S./21 mpg UK). It has a curb weight of 2,355 kgs (5,192 pounds).

The Discovery/LR4 has not been a sales hit in the United States, unlike the redesigned Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.

The Discovery/LR4 has a base price of $50,595 in the U.S. and the Q7 starts at $48,595. Both prices include shipping.

And here’s where the Discovery/LR4 really falls short. Its U.S. sales fell 36 percent to 1,114 units in the first quarter. Last year, deliveries declined 3 percent to 7,093 vehicles. Total Land Rover sales in 2013 rose 15 percent to 50,010 units because of the popularity of the three Range Rover models.

Audi sold 15,978 Q7 crossovers last year, up 45 percent from a year earlier.

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@crain.com. -- Follow Diana on Twitter

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