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The Land Rover Discovery Vision concept has been unveiled ahead of the New York Auto Show, a preview of the next Discovery – which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year – as well as the design language of the new Discovery family, which includes the replacement of the current Freelander.

Looking much more dynamic than the utilitarian, boxy design of the current car, the Discovery Vision takes some styling cues from the Range Rover line, such as the front grille design and the head- and tail light shapes, but presented in a cleaner fashion. The C-pillar is slanted, rather than upright on the current Discovery, and is blacked out at the top to give the illusion of a floating roof.

Some key Discovery cues have also been retained, including the stepped roof as well as an evolution of the Discovery’s split tailgate – there is now just a powered single-piece unit, but there is also a deployable rear sill step which can double as seating. On its own, the step can be fitted with a bike or ski rack.

Suicide doors open the Discovery Vision up to its interior, upholstered in washable and water- and oil-repellant Foglizzo leather. The seats fold flat or slide forwards and back across the wood veneer floor via the touchscreen menu, enabling the seven-seater SUV to be configured into anything the user desires, even a four-seat “limousine” mode.

The infotainment system is accessible to every occupant through a large screen on the centre console as well as screens on the seat backs, even allowing video calls between passengers. Augmented reality is realised through Smart Glass, which projects information across the entire glasshouse, such as the terrain under the bonnet.

Continuing the theme of high tech, the car utilises lasers in some new and interesting ways. Apart from the laser-powered headlights – which feature intelligent object tracking and automatic beam dipping – the technology is also used to project visible markings, symbols and imagery onto ground surfaces to aid driving through tight spaces.

Lasers also scan the terrain ahead, creating a contour map that can be used to chart out a path through the All-Terrain Coach guidance system, as well as the depth of a body of water even before the car goes through it, alerting the driver of the feasibility of wading through.

The Discovery Vision can even drive itself. Well, sort of. All-Terrain Progress Control enables semi-automated driving at a steady speed through a variety of terrain, while Remote Control Drive allows drivers to control the car at very slow speeds without actually being seated in it. Land Rover are claiming a number of benefits for the latter in particular, including coupling to a trailer as well as external spotting during extreme off-roading.