Land Rover is set to radically reinvent the Discovery as a part of its rapidly growing electrification programme with a view to separate it from the Defender and re-establish the Discovery nameplate as an important part of its line-up.
- Next-gen Discovery to spawn a new sub-brand
- Discovery EV to be shown in 2025
- All Land Rovers will have an EV model by 2030
Land Rover Discovery sales declining in recent years
The Discovery has traditionally been a significant model for the SUV maker and one of the brand’s most popular models. However, the popularity of the Discovery has waned in recent years, and it is now one of the lowest selling models in Land Rover's line-up. Plus, the new, eight-seat Defender 130 further threatens the seven-seat Discovery's business case.
New Land Rover Discovery to focus on electrification
Hinting at the priorities for the Discovery’s replacement, ex-Jaguar Land Rover CEO Thierry Bollore – who recently stepped down – had suggested to our sister publication Autocar UK that the model’s historical strong points of practicality and rugged dependability would be brought to the fore in a bid to carve out a more clearly defined niche.
It is unlikely that Bollore’s departure will dramatically change the product roadmap, and his remarks point to the next version, the ‘Discovery 6’, forming a core part of a planned new model onslaught over the coming years, which will dramatically overhaul Land Rover’s range with a focus on electrification and forge Land Rover’s image as a ‘modern luxury’ brand.
By 2026, there will be six Land Rover EVs on sale. Just four years later, 60 percent of the brand’s sales will be electric and every model in the company’s showrooms will be offered with an EV option.
Discovery likely to be a sub-brand like Range Rover
Land Rover has said not all of its name plates will be carried through to the electric era – it has yet to hint at plans for a Velar EV, for example – but Bolloré was bullish about the Discovery’s prospects. While speaking to Autocar UK, he implied the desire to reaffirm the Discovery name as a brand in its own right, like the Range Rover.
Interestingly, JLR’s recent announcement that Formula E partner Wolfspeed will supply silicon carbide semiconductors for its road-going EVs mentioned a ‘next-generation’ electrified Discovery specifically, alongside Defender and Range Rover models.
New Land Rover Discovery could be based on the MLA architecture
The Discovery Sport already serves as a smaller (and far more popular) derivative of its full-sized namesake and is itself tipped for reinvention in 2024, when the Halewood site that makes it will be configured to build electric cars. The replacement for that car, and the closely related Range Rover Evoque, will move onto Land Rover’s new electric-biased EMA platform. However, a more natural fit for the seven-seat Discovery would be the MLA architecture that forms the basis of the new Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
This versatile, aluminium-intensive structure is well placed to endow the Discovery 6 with a compelling blend of refinement, spaciousness and off-road ability that has long since established the model as one of the most well-rounded SUVs on sale.
Stiffer, more aero efficient, and with better crash protection than the ‘D7u’ structure underneath, today’s Discovery provides the ingredients for a thoroughly modernised and more competitive Discovery, while also crucially providing the necessary space for a seven-seat layout.
New Land Rover Discovery will be available in multiple powertrains
Like the Range Rovers, the Discovery’s replacement can be expected to be launched with a choice of combustion and plug-in hybrid powertrains. But there won’t be a diesel for the first time in Discovery’s history as Land Rover is committed to phasing out that option across the line-up by 2026.
A top-drawer performance option with BMW’s 4.4-litre V8 is also unlikely, given the Discovery’s more overt mass-market positioning than the Range Rover pair. However, the familiar 3.0-litre mild-hybrid six-cylinder petrol is compatible with the new platform and is likely to be carried over.
New Discovery EV to be shown in 2025
When it comes to the pure EV model, which is likely to be shown in 2025 after the combustion car, Land Rover will be targeting the latest rivals in the large EV SUV segment like the newly launched Volvo EX90.
Long-distance touring will be a priority for big Land Rover models, so an official range in the region of 500km is likely. And, given that even the Land Rover’s new PHEVs can charge at 50kW, the pure EVs are expected to offer among the most rapid top-up times.
Advanced connectivity will also be a priority for Land Rover models launched after 2025. JLR has partnered with American software giant Nvidia to co-develop a new (and bespoke) software stack that majors on self-driving capabilities – the likes of park assist, augmented reality driving aids and occupant monitoring – while introducing a new source of revenue in the form of over-the-air upgrades and downloadable features.