Driving the new Discovery

Yeah I’m back and hey I am driving yet another SUV. But this thing I’m driving has actual heritage and I have to admit that I do reserve a special place for Land Rover in my heart.

Here we go. I was lucky enough to be one of the first members of the press to get an early test drive. My first impressions were;

holy crap this thing is huge, how the hell can I get it out of the showroom in reverse without denting it and murdering three members of the staff in the process?

Well I had to give it a go. Boom. Just like the Tardis, it is bigger on the inside. It’s HUGE! (that’s what she said).  The seats are massive, and you get a hell of a lot of leg room, head room, thumb room, and whatever the hell room. It’s a yank’s dream come true.

The interior is exquisite. There is a balance between comfort and luxury that just takes this generation of Discovery to the next level. You get crafted leather seats, a split panoramic roof, heated seats and steering, a Meridian DTS sound system, an optional real wood finish, and naturally, lots and lots of gadgets.

The feel you get when driving this car can only be described as predominant… Why you ask? Simple; on the road the Discovery feels like it owns every thing around it. It catches people’s attention with it’s Evoque design cues and its massive size.  The engine I got to test was the 3.0 liter HSE V6 diesel engine, which compared to its predecessor it’s pretty much identical in every way. You get 340Bhp and does 0-60 in a little bit over 8 seconds.

Trottle response is decent, though you do get some serious turbo lag, which decreases when shifting to sports mode, or as I call it, fun mode. The steering feels tactile and nippy, and I did find maneuvering this beast pretty easy.

This edition of the Discovery got a 480kg weight reduction, making it the lightest Discovery yet. It still does weight a hefty 2.1 tonnes, and be as it may, the engine doesn’t feel as if it is carrying that particular load.

The strong point of the Discovery is its performance off-road. The team behind the project claim that this is the most advanced and best performing off road vehicle JLR ever produced. You get a ground clearance of 280mm, a turning angle of 500mm, and a wading depth of 900mm. You get the new Terrain Response 2 system, which is JLR’s state of the art off road system. The car in fact is capable of dynamically adjusting each and every driving aspect of the vehicle in order to best perform in the given conditions. Unfortunately I could not try the vehicle offroad, however on paper it does sound impressive compared to the other vehicles in the same market.

Looking at the current and near future’s product line by Land Rover, you can clearly see what JLR has in mind for the brand. They are simply capitalizing on the success of the Evoque and adapting its strong points across the line, whilst also keeping in mind the heritage of their longest running models. No wonder this new Land Rover brand has made massive sales gains in the American markets. I just hope that the upcoming Velar is up to par with what we saw lately.

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