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The Land Rover Discovery – New Looks, Same Legend

The Land Rover Discovery is truly an icon under off-road enthusiasts and luxury SUV fans alike. The fifth-generation of this legendary car has changed up it looks, upgraded its tech, but kept its bad-ass attitude!

THE LOOKS

Exterior

The Discovery trades the old iconic boxy look for a new sleek and stylish exterior. It is much curvier than its predecessor and from certain angles, especially the front, looks very much like a Range Rover.

The test car I drove had an optional exterior pack added, which fitted the car with a few sporty-looking features. The dark grey 21-inch rims, which looks SO good, were also an added extra. The Discovery is big and bold with muscular exterior features – it looks strong… because it is!

Interior

On the inside is where luxury and practicality meet. The interior of the Discovery is finished with premium materials – mostly soft leather, stainless steel and wood panelling. The design consists of a series of horizontal and vertical lines as well as some circular controls in the middle console, keeping the interior clean and modern.

The inside is also kitted out with some pretty cool tech. You get a 10-inch touch screen with the Touch Pro infotainment system. The screen can also be used to control many of the car’s settings. The driver has a 12.3-inch digital display which mirrors some of the information on the middle touch screen, so they don’t have to take their eyes off the road. The layout of the digital driver display can be customized to the driver’s needs.

I have a thing for good-looking steering wheels and the Discovery has one of my all-time favourites. It is very stylish and has digital controls!

THE DRIVE

Engine

I tested the Discovery HSE TDV6 which has a powerful 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine with 190kW of power and 600Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox. Land Rover claims that the Discovery can go from 0–100 km/h in 8.1 seconds, which is pretty quick considering that this is a car that weighs more than 2-tons!

I was really impressed by how effortlessly the engine moves around this huge car. It never felt like the Discovery struggled in the slightest. This kind of power uses a lot of fuel though. Land Rover claims that the Discovery will average about 9.4l/100km driving in urban areas, but my average was around 10.8l/100km.

This power is not just there so you can intimidate people in the city though. The Discovery is famous for its impressive off-road capabilities and with an engine this powerful, it will have no problem taking on the toughest of terrains.

Ride

I think the best way to describe the ride would be luxurious. The power and smoothness create an incredibly comfortable drive. This is also thanks to the electronic air suspension, which smoothes out any bumps in the road. I’ve never enjoyed going over a speed bump more than when I was driving the Discovery.

Has someone ever told you that a car “doesn’t feel big” to drive? Well, the Discovery does feel very big to drive, which shouldn’t be too surprising. You do get used to it pretty quickly though and the parking sensors and reverse camera helps a lot! My test car even had parking assist, which parks the car semi-automatically. It didn’t work very well, but it was there.

I took the Discovery for some mild off-roading to see what all the fuss is about and it didn’t take very long for me to get it – it was as smooth on a gravel road as it was on the highway. You can select which terrain you are on with a pop-up dial in the middle console, which adapts the car’s height and power to give you the best performance on that terrain. I really liked this feature. It made me feel much more confident to drive off-road.

The Discovery has an array of driving features to make trips more enjoyable, especially long drives. Features that stood out for me was the adaptive cruise control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Warning.

THE FEATURES

The Discovery is filled with premium features. The test unit I had was fitted with a few optional extras, which made my driving experience a dream. Here are some of the highlights.

Touch Pro Infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

– Adaptive Cruise Control

– 360 Degree Parking Aid

– Blind Spot Assist

– Reverse traffic detection

– A/C Refrigerator in middle console (under armrest)

– Adaptive Headlamps with high beam assist*

– Lane Departure warning with Lane Keeping Assist*

– 7 x seats*

– Meridian Sound System*

– Powered tailgate*

(*optional extra)

PRICE

I knew the Discovery was an expensive car, but I was quite surprised about just how expensive. The Discovery HSE Td6 derivative is R1.36m before any extras. Sjoe. The test unit I drove was around R1.5m with all of its added extras.

So, I think you really have to be a die-hard Land Rover Discovery fan to be cool with putting that kind of money for a luxury SUV. Don’t get me wrong, it is an extremely luxurious car, it is very practical and has fantastic off-road capabilities, but it is pretty pricey when you compare it to other luxury SUV’s on the market.

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Martin Gouws
Martin Gouws

Car Editor

Martin is a TV production person and has been working in the Afrikaans TV industry for 5 years on a number of different productions. He also has a love for cars and has recently started doing his own video car reviews under the name HeyGouwsie! He has a natural creative streak and an eye for details which makes for a great combination.

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