It takes courage to change the face of the Middle East’s favourite car, the Land Rover, but that’s exactly what has happened with the all-new Discovery and, to be fair, for some, it’s taking a little while to accept and embrace. The new, radically different looking Land Rover Discovery has polarised opinion among Emiratis and Middle East off-roading geeks as it has shed its rugged, boxy, high-riding look with the wide-opening single tailgate for this far more sleeker, lower and rounded shape. If you think this is a shock, wait till they go after the untouchable Land Rover Defender next year, but let’s leave that for another day.
For now though, the Discovery gets the biggest overhaul in its 28-year history both cosmetically and, thanks to a brace of new electronic driver and off-road aids, under the skin as well. From front on, it now has the characteristic Range Rover nose and even diehard fans are begrudgingly accepting this. However things change once the eye moves past the C-Pillar and around to the rear where it’s decidedly softer and has carried over probably one trait from the earlier iterations: the stepped hipline around the back. Reflected as an off-set licence plate positioning, it gives the impression of wearing an eye patch and for the OCD-affected out there, the lack of symmetry is a little hard to take.
However you could also argue that Land Rover owners aren’t so vain and have attached so much loyalty to the brand because of what it can do and not what it looks like.