A long-overdue replacement for the Land Rover LR4 will debut in just a few weeks at the Paris Motor Show, where it will reprise a name that Americans haven't seen in more than a decade: Land Rover Discovery.
True, Land Rover dealers have a smaller model called the Discovery Sport, but the SUV set to bow in France at the end of this month is a larger three-row SUV cut in the same vein as the Discoverys—not to mention the LR3 and LR4—that preceded it.
2018 Land Rover Discovery
A little background: in 2005, Land Rover dropped the Discovery nameplate for certain markets (including the U.S. and Canada) in favor of the alphanumeric LR3, which was later substantially refreshed and renamed LR4. The Discovery badged carried over in most markets, which will make this latest debut the fifth-generation Discovery.
Here's where it gets a little more complicated: A few years ago, Land Rover decided that it will focus on a two-prong lineup with the Discovery umbrella for its lower-priced models and the Range Rover umbrella for its more style-oriented, luxurious offerings. That's not to say that any Land Rover will be quite as utilitarian as the original Discovery that debuted for Europe back in 1989. That Discovery was available in a three-door model and could be ordered with decidedly work-oriented features like a panel van configuration and a hose-out interior.
1989 Land Rover Discovery
In late 2014, the automaker unveiled its three-row Discovery Sport to replace the Freelander/LR2 and to serve as the gateway to its Discovery lineup. Although larger than the Freelander, the Discovery Sport is smaller than the new Discovery.
Not much is known just yet about the fifth-generation Discovery, although the teaser images that Land Rover has released indicate that it will shed some of the boxiness that has identified the Discovery line since 1989. Its flared fenders give it a much more aggressive stance with at least the appearance of less ground clearance than the chunky Discoverys of yore. Don't look for the commercial model that solidified the Discovery as a trusted farmer's tool nearly 30 years ago; the latest model will be fairly decadent and will square off against the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, the BMW X5, and the Volvo XC90.
The Discovery Sport, to give some perspective, competes with the Volvo XC60 and the BMW X3.
Stay tuned as we look to bring you more about the 2018 Land Rover Discovery.