Currently reading: We design a Land Rover for 2014
Steve Cropley designs his vision of the next-generation Land Rover

Could a layman create a credible Land Rover for the next generation? To discover the truth, the company’s bosses ‘lent’ me a couple of their most creative men to attempt the task, working as if they were producing a new model according to a client’s instructions.

Chief designer Ollie le Grice and designer Florian Dobe first gave me a half-hour questionnaire, focusing on usage (towing, comfort, great on-road performance, carrying capacity and space, reasonably hard-core off-roading ability).

See the pics of Steve Cropley designing his future Land Rover

They asked what I’d like the design to avoid (aggressiveness, heaviness). On design style, I asked for the elegant simplicity of Apple’s products and the integrity and manufacturing precision of Rolex.

It seemed a very tall order to me, but within a week they had initial visuals to show. These depicted a more modern, somewhat less monolithic Discovery-style vehicle, still with the square back and split tailgate I wanted, but with a new expression of the side vents and new rear shoulders to express the modernity I wanted.

Cutaway side sills helped emphasise lightness (much of a future SUV’s acceptability will depend, I believe, on how it looks). After some argument over tyres with an unacceptably low profile and some rapid mods to the things I felt needed changing, Ollie and I submitted our design to design director Gerry McGovern for appraisal. He didn’t spare our feelings.

“I think it’s a bit overstyled,” he said. “I don’t think it’s functional enough, although some of the details are nice. But the face of the car seems too generic. It needs to look more positively like a Land Rover; to echo its roots more. It looks quite nice, but you really can’t tell what it is.”

Once he’d said these things, I could instantly see the sense of them. This SUV could indeed have been something other than a Landie, yet Landies have always been very distinctive. I felt rather apologetic about having led Ollie and Florian into a position where they’d had to take both barrels of McGovern’s critical shotgun.

“No problem,” said Ollie, with something like a grin. “This is how things go sometimes. You want your work to be chosen, so you have to take criticism on the chin and adapt as quickly as you can. It’s all part of being a designer.”

Steve Cropley

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Peter Cavellini 15 March 2010

Re: We design a Land Rover for 2014

Just like we let loose BMW with the MINI look what we ended up with a car we were led to believe was going to be another icon, trouble is it's an expensive icon and it's rapidly being caught up by the French and the Italians, so please don't mess with the Landie what your suggesting is sacriledge.

Will86 15 March 2010

Re: We design a Land Rover for 2014

The front looks very much like the LRX, yet it was described as too generic?

Not a bad attempt Steve, though I'm not sure about the rear side windows.

Symanski 15 March 2010

Re: We design a Land Rover for 2014

Suburban Untility Vehicle!

Honestly with all the bumps these local councils insist we should suffer it's no wonder that the 4x4 has been so popular in our towns and cities. If someone does a really good crossover where it can take the family, and be chunky like a 4x4, it will be a winner. Off road ability isn't required.