A Voyage Of Discovery - A Week With Land Rover's Finest
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The Land Rover Discovery has been a familiar sight on our roads since 1989 and their appeal has been undimmed despite a distinct move upmarket in recent years.
Sales for the previous generation Discovery 4 have continued to remain strong and Land Rover is clearly hoping that buyers will fall in love with the all-new version.
Out goes the boxy shape and in comes a softer, more rounded look with clear design influences from the Range Rover Sport.
Despite a more 'lifestyle' look, Land Rover is clear that the new Discovery will be as capable and versatile as ever, with seating for seven full-sized adults and go-anywhere capabilities.
The latest Discovery has been on a diet, with lightweight aluminium construction saving 480kg. This has allowed Land Rover to fit new four cylinder Ingenium engines without compromising performance.
The UK will not get the base 178bhp unit, instead we will have to 'make do' with a 237bhp engine, good enough to sprint to 60mph in 8 seconds.
More familiar is the smooth-operating 3.0-litre V6 diesel boasting 254bhp and it is this model that I have been testing, in top spec HSE Luxury trim.
The engine is smooth, refined and powerful and combined with the slick eight-speed automatic gearbox delivers brisk performance in any situation. Those who regularly carry a full complement of passengers or who tow will be well advised to pay the extra for this engine.
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At the UK launch event earlier this year, I was better able to push the Discovery to its limits off road and once again it shone. Most owners will use a small percentage of its capabilities I suspect.
Of more interest to most owners is on-road capability. Refinement is top notch, with just a little wind noise at motorway speeds to disturb the calm of the cabin. The ride errs towards comfort rather than handling and on challenging moorland roads, there is a tad more body roll than is ideal. A more gentle approach is the order of the day.
I would avoid the optional 21-inch alloy wheels - very smart but they do little to enhance the Discovery's low speed ride quality. Less is more...
The combined fuel economy figure is quoted as 39.2mpg. On test I recorded a little over 27mpg overall, with a gentle motorway drive yielding just over 30mpg.
Existing Discovery owners will find the interior has been finely tuned in key areas and is as comfortable and accommodating as ever. Seven supportive seats come as standard and access to the rearmost is better than ever.
Storage compartments abound and up to 2,406 litres of luggage space is available. Download an app to your smartphone and you can fold the seats remotely in preparation for the load to be carried.
Up to nine USB ports and four charging points combine with an in-car 3G WiFi hotspot to ensure all on board can be connected electronically to the outside world.
The driver enjoys a commanding driving position, with clear dials, big buttons and a generally user-friendly cockpit.
Buying into the Discovery lifestyle does not come cheap. Prices start at £43,495, with my top spec HSE Luxury model costing a heady £64,195.
The price is unlikely to deter would-be buyers, who were queuing up in their droves to buy even before the first demonstrators hit the showrooms.
Few buyers head to the showrooms looking to buy with cash, so a range of attractive finance packages are available from Land Rover. With a customer deposit of £10,000 for an 'S' model, monthly payments can be as low as £462. Fancy the HSE luxury and have the same deposit? Well, expect to part with £754 per month.
The new Land Rover Discovery is a hard car to fault. Some have criticised the softer new look, but if memory serves me correctly the more angular Discovery 3 courted controversy. Other than the offset rear number plate, I like it.
Larger families will continue to enjoy the spacious and practical interior and the hunting, shooting and fishing set will marvel at the increased abilities to get them even further off the beaten track in safety and comfort.
In town where many Discoveries are destined to spend their days, the smart new look will also appeal.
Pop down to your local friendly Land Rover dealer and take a voyage of Discovery yourself. You will doubtless be impressed by what is surely one of the world's most striking and capable cars.
Land Rover Discovery Td6 HSE Luxury
Price £64,195 (£75,570 including options)
Corris Grey Paint (£830)
21" Diamond Turned Alloy Wheels (£520)
Head-up Display (£1,035)
3.0-litre Td6 - 258PS
Eight-speed automatic transmission
0 to 60mph in 7.7 seconds
Top speed 130mph
Combined economy 39.2mpg
Emissions - 189g/km CO2
Premium quality interior
Full seating for seven adults
Best-in-class towing capacity - 3,500kg
900mm wading depth
5* Euro NCAP safety rating
A Voyage Of Discovery - A Week With Land Rover's Finest, 24th July 2017, 10:30 AM