If you ever find yourself stranded in the wild outdoors, better hope you’re in Land Rover’s brand new Discovery. This lumbering SUV has been the quintessential all-terrain, never-say-die vehicle since it first saw light in 1989. Four generations later, the simple brute has quite remarkably evolved with the times, transforming into the lighter, more aesthetically pleasing (read: sleeker) version we now see here.
It’s strange to know that despite its much off-roading potential, this vehicle would now look more at home on Fifth Avenue than on the Rubicon Trail, and that’s what Design Chief Gerry McGovern had in mind all along. “Land Rover is going through a transformation,” he muses. About time it did, because SUVs aren’t exclusively reserved for going through dirt anymore. The new Discovery remains an authentic, three-row, seven-seater brimming with British sensibility, but targeted at the more discerning, comfort-centric driver.
As such, you can expect a ride that now feels less like a truck, and more like a car. Upgrades under the skin include a lighter 85 percent aluminium monocoque construction, which results in a massive 480kg weight loss despite still using steel subframes for added strength. Off-terrain performance is still very much the core DNA of this SUV, and Land Rover takes this very seriously. It’s even sent the Discovery for testing under some of the harshest conditions possible around the world.
Entry and departure angles, as well as ground clearance are as good as its predecessors, and works with the latest Terrain Response system to provide a reliable ride. Should you find yourself in the unpleasant situation of being at the edge of a precariously steep slope, the Hill Descent Control will kick in to apply the brakes to all four wheels as you inch down to safety.
Behind the second row of seats, 1,137 litres of space will easily fit your golf clubs, trekking essentials, five dogs and a cooler full of beer. More space can be made available via the Intelligent Seat Fold , a mechanism that helps stow your seats into oblivion seamlessly. Each of the seven seats are also full-sized, and the stepped roof provides greater headroom at the back, so the shortest person will no longer have to be relegated behind.
The SUV’s powered by Jaguar Land Rover’s trusty six-cylinder diesel engine, which should prove even more efficient after the car’s major fat-trimming. Mated with the ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, you’ll get a good 254 horses running alongside you throughout whatever adventures you may seek.
(All images: Jaguar Land Rover)