Driven - July 2017

New Look and More Tech – All New Discovery Driven

All New Discovery Driven

All new Land Rover Discovery

The saying “don’t fix what’s not broken” went completely out the window with Land Rover’s design team when they were constructing the All New Discovery. We’re so used to the car’s iconic tall and boxy shape, it was a huge surprise when the new one launched and looked like the lovechild of a Range Rover Sport and a Discovery 4. So much so, there has been a huge outcry of differing opinions on social media. Some say that the car isn’t appealing, whilst others have embraced the new design language. I am on the fence at the moment as there are some elements which I like and others that puzzle me. Take, for instance, the front end, personally I think it looks great. Modern and quite pretty are the words I would use. The rear was nearly there for me but it’s the silliest thing that irks me, the number plate. The previous Discovery’s made use of a square number plate, placed to the side of the car. This looked fine but now they’ve substituted it with a standard size number plate, but still placed to the side of the car and it now looks skew to me. My eyes simply can’t adjust.

Another thing all consumers will have to adjust to, is the pricing of modern large SUV’s in general. This new Discovery starts at R992 540 for a 3.0 TDV6 S. If you want more kit, be prepared to be spending around R1.1 – R1.3 million. As expensive as this seems, this is on par with the German competition, some of which only offer five seats instead of seven.   

Going back to the new Discovery’s looks, overall the design is really not bad, but it’s a massive departure from the old car. The interior is a lovely place in which to be, roomy, of high quality and did I mention roomy? Yes the new Discovery is not short on space, but has the Discovery ever been? Not really. Besides the finishes, the infotainment system is similar to that found in modern JLR products, only better. The All New Discovery also comes loaded with technology, ranging from a seat folding app to a waterproof bracelet that acts as the vehicle’s key, so you can engage in sports and lock the main key in the car. The list goes on but an article on all the tech the car has will give you the full breakdown. What’s most important is the question you’ve been wondering since the car was first revealed with softer looks. Can it still hold its own in the rough stuff? Judging by our drive, we can confirm that the car’s Hyde Park aesthetics don’t mean it’s not afraid to get dirty.

Our launch drive route included a variety of activities including standard highway driving and rough gravel roads, as well a semi intense off-road course. The latter included going off-road whilst towing a trailer and treading some deep water. With a ground clearance of 283 mm and a wading depth of 900 mm, the large vehicle can get into some interesting angles and basically swim too. Towing can be a pain for most, but the new Discovery makes it an easier task with Tow Assist which integrates the rear view camera for easy latching. Thereafter, the vehicles air suspension is able to raise and drop onto the hitch, making the job capable for a single person to do.   

All new Land Rover Discovery

What this means is that the versatility of the car remains and is further amplified in the model. You would have no problem taking your new Discovery into remote areas. Off road systems like Hill descent control and All Terrain Progress Control basically do all the work for you, taking the nervousness of going off-road away. The ladder frame has also be done away with and replaced by a Monocoque construction, meaning that the car is lighter on its feet. This can be felt on the road as there is no sluggishness in its power delivery in both the petrol and diesel variants. The former is a sweet sounding 3.0 Supercharged V6 which produces 250 kW, whilst the 3.0 diesel is all about torque of which it produces 600 N.m. An 8-Speed Auto gearbox supplies drive to all four wheels in a seamless manner.  The way the car feels on gravel is very impressive, even at speed, you don’t feel like a visit to the chiropractor will be necessary afterwards. Instead, the optional massaging seats in the 3.0 TDV6 HSE Luxury we drove made this experience more comfortable.

All new Land Rover Discovery

Our experience of the all new Discovery has made us realise the need for manufacturers to please two parties in this segment. On the one hand, you have die hard Land Rover fans that have trusted this brand to take them to various places around the world. This camp may be sceptical of the design but impressed by the car’s capabilities. As an off road vehicle, it does what you would need it to do, and then some. On the other hand, you have the city SUV owners who want aesthetics and creature comforts. The peculiar design will resonate with this market as Evoque owners and even Range Rover owners may look at the new Discovery as their next car. In the higher spec variants such as the HSE Lux or the First Edition, you can have a great number of features in the car. The downside is pricing as a First Edition will set you back just under R1.5 million. Our pick would be the 3.0 TDV6 HSE, at approximately R1.25 mil, it’s is in the middle in terms of pricing and comes with some good features too. In conclusion, the new Discovery has managed to blend two worlds successfully, giving us an adventure ready package with quirky aesthetics. Who knows, maybe we’ll get over the rear in the end.

All New Discovery Pricing in South Africa

All New Discovery  S – R980,000

All New Discovery SE –  R1,109,250

All New Discovery HSE – R1,223,000

All New Discovery HSE Luxury – R1,314,000

All New Discovery  First Edition – R1,440,000

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