SUVs

Land Rover's next Discovery is a Parisian tease

Land Rover shows the face of its new Discovery SUV ahead of its Paris Motor Show debut, and it looks to be the last puzzle piece in the company's lineup.

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As a bit of design, today's Land Rover's LR4 -- or Discovery, as it's called in the UK and Australia -- has held up really well. In fact, I'd argue its stepped roof and rectilinear aesthetic has earned the right to wear that most-coveted (but oft-abused term) "iconic." Good thing, as it's been around a long while. The current generation has been blazing aristocratic trails since late 2009, but in truth, the look dates back to 2004's LR3. That's an eternity in car years.

In the intervening years, Land Rover has completely overhauled the rest of its model range, imbuing its products with a much more aerodynamic look, leaving the LR4 to stand out in showrooms like a jagged chunk of obsidian in a stream of current-worn river rocks.

Judging by this teaser image just released by Land Rover, that "odd man out" time for Land Rover's 7-seat SUV is nearly over. Instead, the next Discovery looks far more rounded and in-line with the British company's current design language, copping a slightly more aggressive visage than the less-expensive Discovery Sport model. Interestingly, its face looks an awful lot like the one on the Discovery Vision Concept revealed back in 2014 at the New York Auto Show, a vehicle that up until now we all assumed was the precursor to the production 2015 Discovery Sport.

2017 Land Rover Discovery - visage

The Disco trades in its predecessor's chiseled look for more aerodynamic and familial lines.

Land Rover

Based on this photo alone, the next Discovery looks plenty handsome, but until the rest of its design is revealed, it won't be clear whether the new model is visually distinct enough from other members of the Land Rover family.

Interestingly, there's no mention of "LR4" in the North American press release, suggesting that the new generation will dispense with the alphanumeric silliness and once again be called Discovery (a moniker that the rest of the world always held on to, anyway). That name change would align with long-circulating rumors, and would be very good news in my book, as few names feel as evocative and fitting for a go-anywhere SUV. For me, "LR4" always felt generic and personality-free, as if the name had been plucked out of a Best Buy circular of Labor Day Sale refrigerators.

Precious few details have been released thus far, but Land Rover promises that the new Disco will debut on September 28 at the Paris Motor Show, and it will go on sale in the US mid next year. Naturally, the Roadshow team will be on hand in full force to bring you a closer look at this key new model.