The latest incarnation of Land Rover’s Discovery combines a radical exterior design with a highly versatile 7-seat interior. The result is a revolutionary family SUV that brings new levels of sophistication, desirability and capability to the Discovery family.
The Discovery’s dramatic design represents a radical departure from previous models but retains established Discovery DNA. The trademark stepped roof and highly visible C-pillar are inspired by Discovery models of the past and distinguish the premium execution of the new Discovery. The C-pillar design in particular gives the profile more drama and creates a design cue for the whole Discovery family.
Elegant side fender vents incorporate a horizontal, blade-like treatment that flows into the V-grooved feature line, another strong cue of the Discovery family. While the tailgate design has changed, an asymmetric licence plate recess provides a visual link to Discovery models of the past, while Land Rover’s innovative new powered inner tailgate delivers enhanced functionality.
The clever solution includes an additional fold-down panel inside the boot that fits snugly against the tailgate when shut, and can be used to retain luggage when the tailgate is opened, or folded down to provide event seating and easy access to the generous load area.
Design and engineering teams have produced a seven-seat interior that provides improved space and versatility by careful analysis and optimisation of every aspect of its design.
The new Discovery is 141mm longer, but is both narrower and lower than before. The wheelbase has increased by 38mm, creating generous cabin space, while the compact design of the advanced integral-link rear suspension system minimises body intrusion.
The second-row of seats slide forward and backwards by 160mm, allowing passengers to optimise luggage space and rear legroom as required, as well as improving access to the third row.
The rearmost seats have been designed to accommodate 95th percentile adults, with comfort assured in every seat, something that we put to the test with a full load on an early morning game drive.
The range comprises S, SE, HSE and HSE Luxury derivatives, with an optional Black Design Pack available on all but S variants. Comprehensively equipped S models feature 19-inch alloy wheels, 4-mode Terrain Response and 2-zone manual climate control.
All SE models feature air suspension, automatic climate control and upgraded audio, while HSE trim provides leather upholstery, satellite navigation, 20-inch alloy wheels and LED headlamps.
Top of the range HSE Luxury derivatives include Windsor Leather upholstery, 21-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof as standard, among a host of advanced convenience and safety features.
The Dynamic Design Pack provides for a greater personalisation on HSE and HSE Luxury models, and includes a host of design enhancements.
In an industry first, the Discovery now features Intelligent Seat Fold Technology that allows the seats in rows two and three to be configured via switches in the luggage area, a switchpack located on the C-pillar, the main touchscreen display, or Land Rover’s InControl Remote Smartphone app.
The Activity Key is designed as a durable wristband and allows owners to lock and unlock the vehicle without the need to carry a conventional key.
The Discovery is available with InControl Touch Pro, which provides greater connectivity than ever before including access to a range of apps through the updated 10-inch high-resolution touchscreen display.
For enhanced connectivity, InControl Touch Pro Services includes 3G Wi-Fi connectivity for up to eight devices. InControl Apps also allow owners to use selected apps from their smartphone on the 10-inch touchscreen, while Bluetooth is standard throughout the range.
The Discovery is powered by a selection of 6-cylinder diesel and petrol engines. Delivering enhanced fuel economy and CO2 emissions, these engines offer the strong torque output customers expect from vehicles wearing the Discovery badge.
All engines are paired with a smooth-shifting 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox, that can be controlled manually by using the steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles to provide ultimate flexibility.
Wearing a Td6 badge is 3,0-litre V6 diesel engine that produces 190kW and 600Nm. This single turbo engine offers improved refinement and efficiency with a 7,8 litre/100km fuel consumption claim, while it completes the 0-100km/h sprint in 8,1 seconds.
Under the bonnet of the Si6 is a supercharged, 3,0-litre V6 boasting 250kW and 450Nm, powering the Discovery to 100km/h in 7,1 seconds while using 11,5 litres/100km.
Providing a more composed driving experience was a key focus for the engineering team, and this has been achieved by using a combination of technological innovations, including advanced suspension architecture and the latest generation speed-dependant electric power-assisted steering.
Away from the urban jungle, the Discovery’s all-terrain ability makes it one of the most capable vehicles ever to wear a Land Rover badge.
Key to achieving the perfect balance between composure and comfort is Land Rover’s choice of advanced suspension layout. This vital ingredient in the quest for optimised ride quality comprises wide-spaced double-wishbone front suspension and an integral link rear set-up.
The result is a cushioned and relaxing ride over uneven surfaces with greater poise in dynamic situations. Air suspension delivers even greater comfort and offers a wide range of adjustment for the ultimate in convenience and capability.
Exceptional ground clearance of 283mm, combined with an approach angle of up to 34 degrees, a breakover angle of 27,5 degrees, a departure angle of 30 degrees and a wading depth of 900mm ensure that the Discovery is able to climb up, over and down the most extreme obstacles. Wheel articulation of 500mm and complemented by advanced air suspension, gives customers even greater confidence and capability when negotiating arduous and undulating surfaces.
The Discovery is fitted with Land Rover’s innovative ALL-Terrain Progress Control technology that allows the driver to set a crawl speed ranging from 2km/h up to 30km/h allowing the driver to concentrate on steering the vehicle and negotiating difficult terrain while the technology controls engine and braking functions.
Furthermore the Discovery is fitted with Terrain Response 2 technology, which automatically monitors the driving conditions to ensure the vehicle is primed to cope with a range of surfaces such as Grass, Gravel and Snow, Mud and Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl.
The intuitive system optimises vehicle settings such as throttle mapping, steering responses, suspension set-up and traction control.
Additional all-terrain technologies include Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control, Electronic Traction Control, Roll Stability Control and Wade Sensing.
Paired with the vehicle’s class-leading towing capacity of up to 3 500kg, Advanced Tow Assist helps to carry out difficult reversing manoeuvres using the rotary Terrain Response 2 controller. The industry-first Trailer Light Test is another example of technology-enhancing convenience.
The Discovery is offered with an Electrically Deployable Towbar, and once that has been deployed, Hitch Assist makes it easier to hook up using the surround cameras.
Driver convenience and confidence is heightened with the combination of active safety systems and an array of advanced driver assistance features. These include Park assist, Blind spot monitoring, Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic High Beam, Driver Condition Monitor, HD Surround Camera System, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist.
The new Land Rover Discovery is jam-packed with technology that helps to make the lives of the driver and passengers easier and more comfortable. But under the skin it is still a Land Rover, and engineers have managed to combine these two elements to ensure that the Discovery remains the overlanding benchmark by which others are measured. – Reuben van Niekerk