Washington DC - This week I visited Jaguar Land Rover’s display booth at the 2015 Washington Auto Show. All of the current US line was on display, including new 2015 models Discovery Sport, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Sport SVR.
Existing models on display included the Range Rover Full Size, Range Rover Evoque Four door, and the LR4. Sadly absent were the new diesel-engined Range Rover and Range Rover Sport destined to show up on these shores for the 2016 model year.
Given the lack of the diesel models, my attention shifted to the Discovery Sport, being that it’s a completely new vehicle, as opposed to an evolution of an existing model.
The baby Disco cuts a tough, yet sleek-looking profile that has more in common with the Range Rover Sport/Evoque line than the big-brother Discovery, the LR4. The 4 doors and nearly 108 inch wheelbase is among the shortest of the current Land Rover line but still provides for ample interior space for both cargo and passengers. The vehicle strikes an aggressive pose and looks like its ready to take on tough terrain even in the posh surroundings of the DC Convention Center.
In what seems to be the trend with the Discovery Sport model, the interior, with it’s partial leather upholstery and 60/40 fold down second-row seats, provides equal parts utility and comfort. The noticeable lack of a shifter is line with current trends and provides for easy one-button control to help the driver keep his or her attention focused on the road.
It's interesting that Land Rover decided to bring back the Discovery name after a 10 year hiatus from the US market. Certainly the last decade’s models have not had the reliability issues that led to that change with the introduction of the LR3 in 2005. One of the reps at the show did indicate that the LR4 is due to be replaced soon and that the new model will also again be titled as a Discovery.
Also of note at the show this year was the Range Rover Sport SVR, looking poised up on a raised platform in the center of the display. While I’m not sure how the SVR’s road-oriented performance abilities figure into the Land Rover ethos, it certainly is an impressive machine, and I look forward to the opportunity to get one down off the platform and out for a test drive. If they’ll let me.
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