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The Land Rover Discovery's Rear End Is Bizarrely Asymmetrical

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author photo by Doug DeMuro March 2017

Here's something about the new Land Rover Discovery you probably wouldn't have realized until you were behind it in traffic: The tailgate is asymmetrical. Seriously, look at that picture above, and tell me that's not one of the strangest design decisions you've ever seen.

Here's what we have: On top, there's a normal tailgate appearance, and a normal "DISCOVERY" badge, and a normal window, and everything looks completely as you'd expect. Same goes for the bottom, and for the sides, which include the brake lights. Everything looks normal. Rational. Reasonable. There's nothing unusual here.

And then you look at the middle of the tailgate, where the license plate goes, and you're confronted with it: The license plate is off to the side, and the tailgate has this weird asymmetrical horizontal curve across its bottom half. This is incredibly strange. It makes absolutely no sense. And yet here it is.

Interestingly, I think I know how this asymmetrical shape came to be. When the Land Rover Discovery first came out in the late 1980s, it had a tire on the back, and the license plate was off to the side. The Discovery kept this look through 2004, when it was redesigned to become the LR3 in the U.S. and the Discovery 3 everywhere else. At that point, it lost the rear-mounted tire, but it kept the license plate on the side -- largely because the window did this cool thing where it reached down for extra visibility. So, even though the tire wasn't there, it still worked. You can see exactly what I mean here:

Well, now they've ditched both the tire and the little window reach-down thing, which means the entire back of the car is symmetrical, and normal, except for the middle of the tailgate. Where it was initially functional (on the first Discovery) and then stylish (on the LR3 and LR4), now it just looks strange. The purpose behind the asymmetry is gone, and now the Discovery is just left with a weird-looking rear end.

Aside from all this rear-end business, I happen to love the look of the new Discovery -- and I think Land Rover has done an excellent job modernizing it along with the brand's latest design language. As long as I'm not sitting behind it in traffic.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Land Rover Discovery's Rear End Is Bizarrely Asymmetrical - Autotrader