Land Rover Discovery SportThe Range Rover element of Land Rover’s ‘three pillars’ design overhaul is, with one tantalising exception, complete; now, Design Director Gerry McGovern is turning his attention to the next part of the strategy – Land Rover Discovery. 

The Discovery is the ‘Leisure’ element of new Land Rover; Range Rover is ‘Luxury’ and Defender is ‘Dual Purpose’. The Land Rover Discovery Vision signalled the start in this shift of emphasis and the Discovery Sport, getting its public debut at the Paris Motor Show 2014, is the first production car to draw from the new direction.

It’s long overdue, said McGovern. “The Discovery has been on sale for 25 years and the first cars, in terms of design, were no great shakes. The third generation car was more significant for design but a Marmite car… it was the fourth generation model [today’s Discovery] that responded to customers.”

The Discovery, he said, should be designed for people and families, and be “inclusive not exclusive”. The new Discovery Sport Is McGovern’s idea of the ideal Discovery: fully flexible seating, excellent practicality (offering seven seats in an overall length rivals can only squeeze five in) but with design richness that takes it away from its early utilitarian roots.

Discovery, says McGovern, should be “premium, (but) not precious”.

Land Rover Discovery Sport: not the new Discovery

McGovern stressed that although the Discovery Sport replaces the Freelander, it is not the Freelander replacement. “We will not replace Freelander. This car stretches the appeal more broadly – it’s a more universal car.”

The final Freelanders are rolling into dealer showrooms now.

McGovern also stressed that the new Discovery Sport is not the new Discovery. “There is a new, bigger Discovery coming in the not too distant future. How close the Discovery Vision Concept [shown at the New York Motor Show] is to the real one… it will be interesting for you to see.”

The Range Rover product expansion isn’t quite complete yet either, teased McGovern, showing a graphic with one empty product space next to the Range Rover Sport.

It was labelled Special Operations and personalisation’: Is Land Rover set to launch a bespoke model series to compete with Overfinch, Project Kahn and other tuner Range Rovers? “Watch this space…”‘