I recently flew up to Johannesburg to drive the all new Land Rover Discovery. After a quick bite to eat and a briefing we teamed up with fellow journalists and headed out towards Limpopo. With stops along the way to test drive the off road capabilities as well as many km’s of road, we really got a feel for what the Discovery can do.
Here are some of my favourite features of the latest Discovery:
Back in the day, vehicles that were built for off road did not look at home when on the tar. This is not the case with the new Discovery. With a bold and sophisticated design, the new Discovery has a premium look when on the road, but once it gets dirty off road, the Discovery becomes the adventurer it is known to be.
Inside you will find a premium interior with leather seats, which can keep you warm as well as massage you. Whilst driving the seat suddenly started to massage me and it was very relaxing. I don’t think I enabled the feature but I wasn’t complaining! There is also an option for luxurious Windsor leather upholstery and natural oak veneers.
I like my Infotainment systems and the Discovery has a large 10 inch touch screen display with an easy to use interface. You can sync up to 35 apps from your smartphone to the infotainment system to use in the vehicle. There are up to 9 USB ports and 6 12v charging ports as well as data and HDMI ports which can be used to view content from a flash drive in the vehicle. There is a 14 piece sound system which sounds like you are sitting live with the band. There is also the option of rear seat displays which can either be controlled via the infotainment system or via a remote. The audio is then streamed to wireless headphones. You can also mirror a tablet on the rear seat display which is great for kids. With a built in 60GB SSD to store your music and multimedia, you will have enough content for any adventure.
There is loads of space in the new Discovery. You can comfortably seat 5 adults with 2 in the boot. At one point I landed up sitting in the boot for a few minutes and found that it is probably more suited to kids but it is more than possible for an adult to sit in the boot, maybe not someone my height. You can load up to 1231 litres but if you drop the seats in row 2 and 3, you can load a whopping 2500 litres! There is also compartments everywhere to store all your goods but my favourite compartment is one where you would never expect it to be. Behind the climate controls is a hidden compartment that is accessed by hitting the “open” button. I guess it would be more hidden if the word open was removed but still, I have never seen this panel drop to show a compartment. There is hidden storage in center console which can hold up to four iPads or 2 two litre drinking bottles. There are slots to hold your phones in the centre console. This is also something that I never seen before.
With 360 degree cameras, you can see all around the vehicle. This makes parking as well as navigating difficult terrains easier. Using the central display, you can view the cameras in different configurations.
Auto Access Height technology reduces the ride-height by up to 40mm as passengers prepare to enter or exit the vehicle. This is a great feature for those shorter passengers!
The Discovery also comes with the Activity Key wristband which I first saw in the Jaguar F-Pace. This cool tech allows you to leave your key in the vehicle and wear the wristband while you do activities such as surfing, running or mountain biking.
The Discovery can become a wireless hub by inserting a sim card into the car. You can then connect up to 8 devices to the cars WiFi for in car connectivity. Who doesn’t like on the road WiFi?!
Instead of having to manually reposition the second and third row seats, InControl Touch Pro Services allows you to reposition the seats with either the touch of a button in the boot, on the infotainment system or using the app on your phone. This is a very nifty feature as I know that folding seats manually is not only time consuming but tiring.
The tow bar is hidden and only appears when you push a button in the boot. Does this make the Discovery part transformer? You can tow a load. We towed 380KGs up steep rocky hills with no problems at all. In fact you can tow up to 3500KGs.
The new Discovery isn’t shy when it comes to power. The six cylinder diesel (with 190kW and 600Nm of torque) delivers a strong performance, pulling power and efficiency and the supercharged 3.0 V6 Petrol engine (250kW and 450Nm of torque) delivers relaxed performance and capability. On and off road, there is enough power for quick take offs, overtaking and getting over any obstacle.
While the new Discovery handles the road really well, it is the vehicle you buy to go off road. There is a range of off road driving technologies that allow even the most inexperienced driver to handle any sort of terrain. The multi-mode Terrain Response 2 system has a range of settings which tweaks the vehicle depending on the mode you have selected. If you are a beginner, you can even select the automatic mode and the Terrain Response system will automatically select the best setting for the current terrain.
When we took the Discovery with the trailer attached up a steep rocky hill, we activated the All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) system. The ATPC system maintains a crawl speed which can be chosen by the driver. So the vehicle will slowly move forwards at a set speed while the driver needs to only concentrate on steering. This is great if you don’t know how much accelerating is necessary to get over rocks.
What is this premium vehicle going to cost you? Starting at R980,000 for the Base model and up to R1,457,500 for the specked out model, this is not a cheap SUV but you get what you pay for and with the all new Discovery you get a lot.