The design goal for the Discovery 3 was simple. To produce a modern vehicle that offered maximum cabin space and versatility, and would be instantly recognisable as a Land Rover.
According to Land Rover’s design director Geoff Upex: "The Discovery 3 is a vehicle derived from its purpose. Everything you see has been done for a reason. It is functional design, not decoration.
"The vehicle is designed from the inside out. The Discovery 3 had to be great for passengers and the driver. It had to have a Command driving position, for better visibility and safety. It had to have rear ‘stadium seating’ for superb passenger visibility. This vehicle can take you almost anywhere, so it’s important to enjoy the view."
Upex describes it as product design, rather than car styling. "Car styling dates quickly. Look at old movies, and more than anything else, the cars date them. But truly functional design does not date."
Upex also describes the Discovery 3 as ‘a work of conviction’. "We were very single-minded in what we wanted. Look at an early sketch of the Discovery 3, and the design has not changed. That is always a sign of good design."
Modern But True To Lineage
Although modern and clearly 21st century, the Discovery 3 is true to Land Rover heritage. It is very geometric, very clean sided, like the original 1948 Land Rover (which evolved into the current Defender).
"Land Rover design is all about clean lines, simple and contemporary surfaces," says Upex. "Straight, geometric styling does not date, and gives visibility advantages, especially for off-roading and parking."
The iconic Discovery stepped roof provides airiness and space, increasing passenger headroom and comfort. This is a key reason why even the rear-most seats, in the seven-seat version, are generous enough for 95th percentile adults. The high roof and wide doors help cabin egress and ingress too. Other time-honoured Land Rover features are also retained, including the clamshell bonnet and the short front overhang (which helps ground clearance when off road).