The Land Rover Discovery: a “tour de force” in the SUV market

The Land Rover Discovery is a "tour de force" in the 7-seat SUV market

The new generation Land Rover Discovery is an SUV with impressive capability and technology, affording drivers form, function and exemplary levels of finesse

The Land Rover Discovery combines an all-new design with a versatile full-size seven-seat interior, and the result is an impressive up-market family SUV that makes for a compelling option in its market segment.

The Land Rover Discovery is a marked difference in design from the four previous generations, with a distinctive stepped roofline and C-pillar design, contoured wheel arches, a more modern, rounded profile, a one-piece powered tailgate as well as a contoured rear spoiler. These add visual appeal as well as practical benefits, including improved aerodynamics, optimal rear visibility, more space for loading and unloading luggage (with a total load volume of 1,231 litres behind the second-row seats) as well as better room for occupants (including the rearmost seats which have been designed to accommodate 95th percentile adults (males at 1.90m tall)).

On the inside, Land Rover describes the Discovery as a “tour de force of modern design and quality materials” and there are plenty of nice touches for both driver and passengers. These include the largest ever glass area for a Land Rover roof, twin electric sun blinds for shade and privacy when required, an uncluttered central console design a unique “intelligent seat fold function” (which can even be adjusted remotely using a smartphone) as well as a total of up to six 12V sockets and seven USB charging points. So expect no complaints from children about flat batteries for their iPads.

With Land Rover pedigree, the Discovery is not only a brilliant SUV to live with on a daily basis, but tough as coffin nails when put to the test. A programme of virtual testing procedures (including extreme events such as sand dune impacts) was completed before a physical prototype was even created. Following this, Land Rover’s engineers set about completing more than 35,000 individual tests across all components and systems using physical prototypes. This involved taking the Discovery to the most unforgiving locations on earth, from the extreme heat and dust of the Middle East to the frigid temperatures of the Arctic Circle.

“Land Rover describes the Discovery as a ‘tour de force of modern design and quality materials'”

The Land Rover Discovery is also packed to the brim with technological goodies, including a 10-inch central touchscreen digital television capability as standard across all models, 4G Wi-Fi connectivity for up to eight devices, an advanced satellite navigation system with a live ETA function which can inform friends and colleagues of the driver’s whereabouts and automatically send updates with accurate arrival times and even a smartphone app which allows the owner to track the vehicle if stolen. It even comes with a battery-less “activity key” which is a durable wristband key that can replace the conventional key fob required for locking the vehicle.

Under the hood, the Land Rover Discovery is powered by a selection of efficient four- and six-cylinder diesel and petrol engines, which generate anything from 240KW to 340KW of power and 430Nm to 700Nm of torque. All engines are paired with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox (which is controlled using a nifty rotary gearshift controller that rises from the centre console) and this can be controlled manually by using the steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles to provide the ultimate flexibility.

All engines also feature stop/start with smart regenerative charging used across petrol and diesel powertrains. These features are supported by ECO Data, which allows drivers to see real-time fuel economy data on the central touchscreen display. The intelligent system can even provide driving tips on how to further improve efficiency.

As expected, the Land Rover Discovery also comes with a bucket load of safety features, including an autonomous emergency braking system, a host of advanced driver assistance systems, blind spot assist and adaptive cruise control.

Priced from a respectable $66,450 all the way up to $116,800, the Land Rover Discovery is an impressive package and one that offers a lot of bang for buck up against more expensive competitors.