The striking design of Land Rover’s Discovery was the result of countless hours spent experimenting with ideas and materials, a few of which are pretty surprising.
We discover how walking boots, virtual dogs and even children’s toys had a hand in the design of the versatile SUV.
Seven full-size seats are a key feature in the Discovery, but fitting them into the vehicle was a design challenge. Unlike most designs, the planning for this ingenious feature didn’t begin with a blank sheet of paper, but with an empty area of office floor.
Using props, Land Rover engineers began to lay out possible seating configurations using office chairs.
Fitting seven full-size adult seats into a car less than 16.5 feet long was a challenge, but one that started with a simple brainstorm. While a few people may have been deprived of their seats for a short while, they will know it was worth it when they sit in the Discovery for the first time.
The Land Rover development team always take great care in ensuring vehicles are spacious enough for everyone on board, and that consideration isn’t limited only to people who travel in the vehicle, man’s best friend got a look in too.
While working on an earlier model of Discovery, the team behind the car design listed things that owners would likely carry in their vehicle, and if they have one at home, were asked to measure it. The dimensions of everything they captured, from dogs to surf boards were then used to create a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of each item so it could be virtually tested.
Justin Cole, a Senior Engineer at Land Rover, had a 66 pound Labrador called Sam who became the model for the CAD dog. Being a popular breed, Sam’s computer generated model was used to test that there was a comfortable amount of space, sitting and standing, for any dog going along for the ride.
Dan Dehheny is a Land Rover engineer who is deeply ingrained in testing the vehicles, and this includes real world testing.
Dan defines what the critical dimensions of the new vehicle should be for optimum capability and feeds this into the virtual model. However, when this is done, Dan puts on his boots and begins real world testing.
Jumping out of the vehicle onto some of the harshest conditions on the planet, Dan and his boots have experienced everything from the snowy terrains of North Sweden to the sands of Dubai. There is one terrain, however, that Dan doesn’t need to travel for — the nearby Land Rover Experience centre at Eastnor Castle. “We don’t need to travel for mud,” Dan says. “We have plenty of that at home.”
A ‘value’ of Discovery design is knowing that the vehicle is as happy in the country as it is in the city, much like the people on board. This is why being able to keep everything you want to store in the vehicle out of sight is so important.
The Discovery is the most versatile yet and has ingenious storage solutions throughout. What better way to test their capacity than with children’s toys?
Invited to help with the testing, a Land Rover employee brought in her two sons who were armed with all the things they would take on a long car ride. After arriving, they quickly jumped into the full-size mock-up of the vehicle’s cabin and began finding places for everything they had brought with them.
With a storage box in the main central armrest, an ingenious storage compartment behind the air conditioning and up to nine USB ports across the three rows, the boys were soon satisfied that all of their belongings were safely stored and even happier that they could charge their electronics on the go.
DISCOVER THE MOST VERSATILE SUV YET
Form, function and finesse come together in one of our most compelling vehicles to date. The exterior design is a revolutionary re-imagining of Land Rover Discovery for the next generation and the interior introduces a new approach to maximising available space.
Simply choose a model to start creating a Land Rover that’s right for you. You can admire your build from all angles and revisit it at any time. When you’re ready you can share your configuration with your friends or with your local retailer.