Land Rover is readying a revolution in the heart of its range. This SUV test mule is the new ‘baby Discovery’ – which replaces the current Freelander in late 2014.
The rebranding exercise leaves headroom in the range for a larger Discovery 4-replacing SUV, and differentiates Land Rover’s models from the ever-expanding Range Rover line-up.
What do we know about this new baby Land Rover Discovery?
It’s larger than the current Freelander – Land Rover’s thinking is the five-door Evoque will vacuum up the city crossover sales, allowing the new ‘baby Disco’ to grow up. Styling wise, this mule has a less boxy profile than the Freelander, thanks to its more rakish rear window. Headlight and taillight clusters slice cut into the car’s flanks, continuing cues established with the Evoque and since transferred to the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
Underneath, the baby Discovery sits on the Evoque’s steel chassis. Meanwhile, the eventual replacement for the current Discovery 4 will be aluminium-based, like the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport.
The baby Discovery will also share powertrain set-ups with the trendy Evoque for the early part of its life, offering four-cylinder turbodiesel and petrol engines, front- or four-wheel drive, and a nine-speed automatic gearbox.
Later in the car’s life cycle, it’ll benefit from Jaguar Land Rover’s new family of British-built engines, which will be made at the company’s brand new £500m manufacturing facility in Wolverhampton.
It’s thought that unlike the Range Rover Evoque, the Freelander-replacing baby Disco will offer both five- and seven-seater versions. The larger Discovery model is set to be a seven-seater as standard.
Prices for the new baby Discovery are expected to rise by around £2000 against those of the outgoing Freelander. A basic front-driver should set you back around £25,000, while a range-topper is will cost around £40,000. That compares favourably to the £29k-£45k Evoque five-door range – if you can live without a Range Rover badge...
>> Is rebranding the Discovery line-up the right move for Land Rover? Add your thoughts in the comments below