“More, more, more” is the promise for the All New Land Rover Discovery 5.
Neil Lyndon and daughter enjoy the ride in the All-New Land Rover Discovery HSE
This means more ability on-road and off-road; more luxury; more equipment and (it goes without saying) more digits on the customer’s final bill and more of that screw-you snootiness which is so much coveted by the motorist stuck up in the heights of a Discovery’s commanding driving position.
Every one of the seven seats in the new Disco is, according to Land Rover, “the best seat in the house” – with even the two in the back raised like stadium seats to give a clear all-round view and fitted with seat warmers and USB points.
To achieve that elevation the body of the All New Discovery climbs like a Sherpa slogging up Everest from a snout like the Evoque to a massive, bulky tail which is – whisper this – most reminiscent of the SsangYong Rhodius (you know, the one that looks as if an enthusiast working in his garden shed has tacked an SUV back on a saloon body).
Gerry McGovern, Design Director for Land Rover, is not known for bashful timidity either in his personal presentation or in the cars he designs; but with the All New Discovery, he has exceeded even his own record for brashness. Having thrown a whole shebang of bling at the bodywork – including forward C-pillars, double chromed exhaust tailpipes, rear roof spoiler, and 21-inch alloy wheels. Instead of the split tailgate favoured by horsey people at point-to-points, there’s now an electrically powered platform that can seat a row of bottoms weighing a total of up to 300kg. Any suggestion the Discovery ever carried of spartan restraint has, therefore, been heaved right out of the electric sunroof and “privacy glass” windows.
In normal conditions of ownership, it might take you a month to work through all the complications and complexities of the Discovery’s infotainment set-up, but it was subjected to an unexpectedly detailed and rigorous test during the recent launch event in Scotland.
My 11-year-old daughter’s school was closed for the day, so I had to take her with me for the Land Rover’s event.
Sitting in the middle row of seats, she naturally wanted to take full advantage of the television system with screens mounted in the front head restraints and make the most of the 14-speaker Meridian sound system while charging her smartphone through the 12v charging points.
The PR lady from Land Rover who was travelling with us had her work cut out to get the whole system working to Susanna’s satisfaction; but once our girl had donned the wireless headphones and got her Spotify running, we heard no more from her for hours. The route we drove was through Perthshire’s Highlands on a day of sublime sunshine enjoying a cabin that rates as good as any manufacturer’s for luxury and efficiency.
“My stars, this car is good on the road!”The new all-aluminium monocoque with air suspension as standard provides near roll-free cornering in the version we tested. That may be because we only drove the two-litre Sd4 diesel version which is markedly lighter than other, larger engines in the range; but it also delivers a terrific belt of power. Nearly 250 bhp and 500Nm of torque or pulling power from such a compact engine puts this Discovery close to Volvo’s XC90 for power and efficiency.
Where the Volvo can’t hold a candle to the Discovery, however, is off-road – in which department the Disco is actually better even than a Defender. The new car’s more advanced Terrain Response settings allow the Disco to chug up a slope so steep the driver can see nothing but bonnet while doing nothing with his feet but steering by watching the wheels on the all-round cameras. The Disco can do more off-road on its own than most SUVs could manage with Bear Grylls knocking himself at the wheel. As extras, there’s now a wade sensing device which will show you how close you are to flooding the engine bay and an electrically deployable tow-bar that helps to give the Disco towing capacity of more than 3.5 tonnes.
No question, then, that the new Disco is an astonishing piece of kit. The only serious reservations remain over the design and – that old chestnut – L-R’s notorious unreliability.
Car reviewed: Land Rover Discovery Sd4 HSE Luxury (Automatic) – Base Price On the road £62,695, price as tested £73,835 0-60mph 8.0 secs Top speed 121mph limited Fuel Economy combined 43.5mpg CO2 emissions 189g/km Engine 2.0L Sd4 diesel Max Power 240hp Torque 500Nm@1500rpm Transmission 8-speed auto with 4WD
More on and off-road ability than ever
The ultimate spacious seven-seater
Powerful and efficient engine
Can get pricey
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