In our annual motoring feature, leading manufacturers and dealers put forward their contenders for the challenge of best in class. express reviews and gives a gay perspective on this new model. The vehicle is at, or near, the top of its class, whether that be in terms of value for money, appearance, performance or sheer desirability!
A true Icon
Way back in 1989 Land Rover released the award winning first generation Discovery to challenge Japanese offerings of the time. Fast forward to 2017 and the fifth generation all-new Discovery has landed on our shores. In the period between these icons have had their complete share of coal face duties from dragging high end livestock across paddocks to rugby mud-soaked kids being delivered back home to carefully transporting the Christmas stock of Billecart-Salmon clinking away for the much needed break at the beach house.
The test Discovery reviewed here is the top HSE Luxury model which has all the latest technology and creature comforts more akin to that of the luxurious Range Rovers – which is certainly no bad thing. Unlike the previous Discovery much of the interior is softly wrapped in super soft leather so soothing to the touch. Interestingly all this luxury drapes down to the high water mark of the vehicle allowing the tougher materials to take the knocks lower down after a hard day at the beach. The driving seat position is supremely comfortable with a not so gimmicky individual seat heating or cooling function adjustable via the central control screen imperiously named ‘InControl Touch Pro’. Unlike many other manufacturers’ offerings, the screen offers fast response with simple & logical menus covering all the usual systems including voice command and wifi hotspot. Around the cabin there are a multitude of storage compartments, including a rather neat fridge within the centre console. One almost secret hiding place is behind the ventilation controls panel that would likely survive even the most ardent of tyrannical vehicle searches. To keep the riff-raff in the back subdued, individual screens mounted into the headrests can play independent television stations or films, with Bluetooth headphones located within a velvet pouch nestled in the door pockets. Truly indulgent!
Grunt wise there are two offerings in the engine department, a V6 diesel turbo or a supercharged petrol V6. The diesel tested is refined, efficient and makes a decent sound. When you put your foot down the nose rises up, more so when the suspension has been raised to its full and softer ride height. Great fun Jeeves!
Looking from outside the new Discovery’s shape shows it’s lineage from the old model but it has clearly been modernised from the earlier block shapes used. Gone are the wheel over-fenders, the square edges and jutting end-pieces. What we have here is a new view on where Land Rover will take new models in the future, a softer more organic shape. Much of this design success can be attributed to Gerry McGovern, someone who clearly understands the true DNA of Land Rover and what makes a true icon. One difference from old is that this new Discovery is no longer here to poach buyers from Japanese offerings but stands by itself in a market segment it created itself. This is the mark of a true icon!
Vehicle supplied by Land Rover New Zealand