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First drive: Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.

First drive: Land Rover Discovery
New Land Rover Discovery is the complete all-rounder.

 



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Land Rover Discovery

4 4 4 4 4

All-new Land Rover Discovery builds on the strengths of its predecessor, and brings a few new tricks to the party.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Land Rover Discovery 2.0 SD4 HSE Luxury
Price: from 43,495 on-the-road (62,695 as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Body style: seven-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 171g/km
Combined economy: 43.5mpg
Top speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 8.3 seconds
Power: 240hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 500Nm at 1,500rpm

What's this?

The fifth generation Land Rover Discovery. All-new, too; from the monocoque aluminium structure to the introduction of a four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, Land Rover's most capable family hauler has been re-invented for 2017. Don't fret though; Land Rover's not gone too far off its usual route with it, focusing heavily on the space and practicality, which is why all UK cars come with seven very accommodating seats. To that it's upped the technology and connectivity, retaining its utter off-road dominance and heading upmarket in interior ambience and equipment, while also bringing a new, slipperier look to the once boxy icon.

Outwardly it's still recognisably Discovery, only the familiar elements like the stepped roof are complemented by some Range Rover design cues. Likewise, and somewhat unsurprisingly, there's more than a hint of Discovery Sport in its looks. It's largely successful, too; certainly the surfacing, shut lines and detailing are very classy, though the ability to swallow seven adults convincingly does give it a rather Kardashian backside. Adding the optional Dynamic Pack or Black Pack to the styling mix ups the appeal, thanks to a contrasting roof, dark wheels, badge deletion and some smart grille elements in the front bumper.

Technology's up, so there's the ability to fold all those seats remotely via your smartphone app and as many as nine USB sockets to charge stuff (as well as four more 12v sockets) meaning you'll be in demand when your pal's phones are running on empty. You can option a 3G WIFI hotspot, too, indicating that the Discovery is fully equipped for a modern, connected life. The interior quality takes a sizeable leap into Range Rover territory, though some of the plastics lower down the cabin feel a bit low rent.

The touchscreen operation of all the infotainment remains a bit clunky against the best of its rivals and at times ponderously slow, while the Meridian premium audio in the HSE version lacks the sort ear-tickling crispness and stadium-filling punch of rivals' upmarket stereo systems. We're nit-picking, as the Discovery has improved to the extent that it feels at least two generations ahead of the car it replaces, even if some rivals' infotainment systems are more intuitively navigated and operationally superior in some areas.

Trim choices span the familiar S, SE, HSE and HSE Luxury, and there's a 22,000 difference between them. SE comes with all the essentials and a few luxuries; HSE ups the tech significantly to include keyless entry, rear-view camera, heated rear seats and greater connectivity; while HSE Luxury adds a lot of stuff you could realistically live without, though will probably want in the showroom...

How does it drive?

Absolutely nothing will touch the Discovery off-road, at least nothing that's able to carry seven in luxurious comfort. Apparently it's Land Rover's most capable vehicle off-road, bettering even the old Defender in the mire. We've no reason to doubt that, it shrugging off any terrain with a simple twist of its Terrain Response knob, the disdain it treats any habitat with born of its capacity to absolutely conquer it. Underneath, the standard air suspension, various differentials, transfer cases and complex four-wheel-drive systems divvy out the appropriate drive to where it's needed, and the list of off-road acronyms is an alphabet spaghetti of terrain-defying capability, though their actual operation is a paragon of simplicity.

However able it is in your chosen environment, the majority will never turn a wheel in more mud than a winter road or scale anything more Himalayan than a sleeping policeman. It's reassuring to know it can, though. On the road, Land Rover has stuck to the Disco's winning formula of comfort and ease, rather than deferring to any pretence of sporting appeal. It steers deftly enough then, though the body roll is certain to limit your enthusiasm in a bend before it approaches anything like the limits of its grip. The air suspension is largely comfortable, only the patter of sharp ridges upsetting its otherwise impressive composure.

The all-new aluminium structure sees the Discovery shift as much as 450kg over its predecessor, which is an incredible amount. It's allowed Land Rover to downsize the entry-level diesel engine to a 240hp four-cylinder twin-turbocharged Ingenium unit. It's offered elsewhere in 180hp form, which is likely to struggle, as, while it's mostly smooth in 240hp guise, ask for anything above merely brisk progress and the four-cylinder's revs rise to the detriment of refinement - and there's not a marked increase in progress. Peg back your expectations and the four-cylinder diesel hauls along the still over two-tonne Discovery with respectable, if never scintillating, pace and refinement. A large part of that smoothness is attributable to the eight-speed automatic transmission's excellent shift quality and speed. Choose the V6 turbodiesel and you'll gain 18hp and add 100Nm of torque to the 500Nm of the four-cylinder, but the additional pace it brings isn't so distinct to make it the default choice. Indeed, its refinement at lower revs isn't as impressive as the four-cylinder's.

Verdict

The Discovery has been brought bang up to date, with an all-new look and greater technology mated to the same massive space, utility and practicality, fine road manners and incredible off-road ability. It's a shame that the new engine line-up at introduction cannot match the best of its rivals: Audi offers a V6 turbodiesel with more power and less emissions than the Discovery's new four-cylinder unit, for example. The interior lacks some of the final polish that marks out the best of its competition, too, but even so it's difficult not to see the new car as a triumph. Land Rover already has 4,000 pre-orders in the UK and over 20,000 globally. Those buyers won't be disappointed.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

5 5 5 5 5 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

3 3 3 3 3 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 15 Feb 2017









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2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.

2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.2017 Land Rover Discovery. Image by Land Rover.








 

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