It has been said, amongst those whose opinions may be biased, that Land Rover doesn’t build “real off roaders” any more. I, for one, beg to differ with that notion. While it is true that we won’t ever likely see a new vehicle from Land Rover or anyone else with the rugged simplicity, ease of maintenance, and straightforward utility offered by the Defender and Series vehicles, Land Rover has shown us over and over again that, despite outward appearances dominated by sweeping lines, low profile tires, and plastic trim, the company has remained dedicated to building vehicles whose off-pavement abilities go beyond those offered “out of the box” by most other manufacturers. Their R&D shops continually seek to create unique features that exist for only one purpose, and that is to get you to and from your destination, regardless of what kind of surface must be traversed along the way. Within reason of course.
Just in case you’re really dying to own a $70,000 SUV to take bashing through the woods, but weren’t convinced by Land Rover’s launch campaign for the new Discovery that showed it clambering up rocky inclines balanced on 3 wheels and churning through mud and snow, we have some news that may help you.
As if to answer their critics directly, JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations group has revealed they are developing an “SVX” version of the new Discovery. SVO chief John Edwards provided little information, saying only that “I can’t tell you what the SV version of the Discovery will be like, but in my mind, it will be in between Paris Dakar and Camel Trophy. Somewhere in there is a product waiting to get out.”
Speculation in the automotive media and subtle hints from JLR sources indicate a possible late 2017 or early 2018 introduction for the SVX model. If experience can be used as any guide, expect power and gearing improvements, a heavy-duty package including locking differentials, some underbody protection, and possibly larger tires.
It will be interesting to see if such a development can win back the hearts and minds of owners who, despite a decade or more of much-improved reliability, economy, and off-road versatility, don’t feel that the current Land Rover line-up includes a vehicle they would have along on a trip to the back of beyond.
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