Land Rover wants to expand its base of buyers and more aggressively attack the full-size SUV market with the all-new Discovery -- a larger, roomier and more fuel-efficient replacement for the LR4 sold in the U.S. since 2009.
The Discovery was introduced Wednesday at the Paris show and will go on sale in mid-2017 in the U.S. with a starting price of $50,985, including destination.
It’s expected to provide another boost to a brand already benefiting from the boom in SUV sales and demand in the U.S. With U.S. deliveries up 15 percent to 48,754 through August, Land Rover is one of the hottest brands in a market that has cooled considerably this year after six straight years of industry gains.
The fifth-generation Discovery -- the name used for years in the rest of the world -- adopts Land Rover’s new full-size, lightweight architecture, making the vehicle 1,000 pounds lighter than the outgoing model.
“We truly believe the result is a radical departure in design that will introduce the Discovery family to a new, wider customer base,” said Gerry McGovern, chief designer for Land Rover.
Except for the Range Rover line, the LR4 was the top-selling Land Rover model in the U.S. last year, with sales of 9,031, just above the Discovery Sport, with 2015 U.S. deliveries of 7,611.
In the United States, the Discovery will be available with 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline and diesel engines. The gasoline powerplant has 340 hp, and the diesel turbocharged engine has 254 hp.
Land Rover didn’t release estimated fuel economy ratings for the Discovery, but it is expected to top the 15 mpg city, 19 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined of the 2016 LR4 equipped with a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine.
With a length of 195.7 inches, the Discovery is 5.5 inches longer and 1.6 inches lower than the outgoing LR4. The 115.1-inch wheelbase is 1.5 inches longer to improve interior room. The Discovery is 87.4 inches wide and 72.7 inches tall.
It has a ground clearance of 11.1 inches -- up 1.7 inches from the LR4.
The redesigned Discovery will come standard with five seats, with optional seating for seven. The rear seats are arranged in a stadium position whereby each row is positioned higher than the one in front. The second- and third-row seats can be folded flat -- even remotely with the Land Rover InControl smart phone app.
At the time of launch, a limited edition of 529 models for the United States will be available with exclusive interior and exterior trim.
Air suspension is optional and lowers the ride height by up to 1.57 inches to allow easier entry and exit from the vehicle.
The Discovery comes standard with an infotainment system with a touch screen and an optional large 10-inch screen.
Land Rover said it added storage and convenience items such as a hook in the front passenger footwell to secure shopping bags.
The Discovery has the newest generation of Land Rover’s all-terrain system for various road surfaces -- it can also be put into an automatic mode. It is also available with a host of semi-autonomous driving features.