The most practical car I’ve ever experienced
Back in 2014 I was lucky enough to attend an expedition in the Land Rover Discovery that took us through Zambia and across in to Botswana. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my entire life and a memory I hold very dear. This week I got to do a mini version of this in the new Land Rover Discovery and I could not have been more excited.
It was an early morning flight to O.R. Tambo and a short drive to where the new Discoverys were waiting. It may have been around for 26 years and sold more than 1,2 million units, but this fifth-generation Discovery is a completely new vehicle! It is also a whopping 480 kg lighter.
First showcased in 2014, it is a radical departure for Land Rover’s most versatile SUV. With that said, it still pays homage to the models that came before it. It has the stepped roofline which identifies each of the four previous generations of Discovery. It also means that all seven seats can be occupied by an adult quite comfortably. We tested this on part of our 700km journey and were all left very impressed with the comfort experienced by all passengers. With that said, I was the only one to find the driver’s seat a bit uncomfortable on the long journey. I like to put this down to having a boney backside, but I fear I am only kidding myself here!
The cabin is filled to the brim with technology and I was left opened-mouthed at so much of it. There is even a smartphone app that allows you to configure the seats, switch the car on remotely, and a host of other impressive things…so convenient! The infotainment system can do just about everything barring making you a cup of coffee (but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next generation Discovery will be able to do this). You can do all the usual things you’d expect on such a system, but you can also perform some cool tricks such as flattening all the rear seats and unfold the tow bar.
Speaking of the tow bar, to hitch a trailer has never been easier. Gone are days of watching my Dad try and position the car perfectly only to get out and find he is not in the position he thought he was. And let’s not even speak about lowering and lifting the jockey wheel. Everything on the new Discovery is done with a camera and buttons. I think it took all of about 1 minute to line the car up and hitch the trailer. Impressed yet? You should be!
We headed in to Marakele Game Reserve which houses the Big 5 and some fun off-roading. The new Discovery now features Terrain Response 2 and is so easy to switch between high and low range, and in fact any off-roading system you require. I was hitting some high speeds (don’t tell Land Rover) on the gravel roads and the vehicle always felt in control and capable. Even when I went in to a sharp corner with too much “enthusiasm” I came out the other end with minimal sweat marks and the same pants on thanks to the Discovery taking control and correcting my mistake. We waded through water, went up and down some questionable mounds and even off-roaded with a trailer hitched to the back. I think it is safe to say that the new Discovery is as capable as ever, if not even more so. In case you were wondering, the ground clearance has been raised by 43 mm and now sits at 283 mm.
Some die-hard fans might be sad to hear that the split tailgate has been replaced by a single boot, but never fear my Disco-loving friends, you will find an electrically deployable tailgate that supports 300 kg. And you can enjoy up to 2 400-litres of boot space with all seats folded flat. If all seven seats are up you still get a generous 258-litres.
Something worth mentioning is how much storage is available in this vehicle. It is incredible! 45-litres worth of incredible. You can also get 9 USB ports and 6 12V ports.
The full range consists of S, SE, HSE, and HSE Luxury trim levels and you can choose between a 3,0 turbopetrol or 3,0 turbodiesel engine. Both engines are mated to a ZF 8-speed gearbox. Most people will opt for the diesel I imagine and will be impressed by just how quiet it is.
If you opt for the entry-level model you might consider it to be quite reasonable, but bear in mind you don’t get much in terms of standard features in this model. Once you starting heading up in to the more luxury models and if you dare to tick the options boxes, you may begin having trouble breathing.
I think the new Discovery is probably one of the most practical cars I have ever experienced (obviously if you are experiencing the HSE Luxury model). It drives better than its predecessor, is more capable and like I say, even more practical. It might not be the greatest value-for-money option, but it certainly won’t be a disappointment…unless something goes wrong with all that technology that is!
3.0 TDV6 S R980 000
3.0 V6 Supercharged S R1 018 500
3.0 TDV6 SE R1 109 250
3.0 V6 Supercharged SE R1 126 750
3.0 TDV6 HSE R1 223 000
3.0 V6 Supercharged HSE R1 240 500
3.0 TDV6 HSE Luxury R1 314 000
3.0 V6 Supercharged HSE Luxury R1 331 500
3.0 TDV6 First Edition R1 440 000
3.0 V6 Supercharged First Edition R1 457 500
Head over to our Facebook page for a full gallery of pics on the new Land Rover Discovery launch.