Land Rover Discovery

28 Years ago, Land Rover released the first Discovery with resounding approval from enthusiasts worldwide. Over the years, the Disco – as it’s affectionately referred to – has seen brush ups and redesigns and in September 2016, Land Rover released the first appearance of the fifth generation Discovery and its departure from the iconic boxiness of its predecessors.

Land Rover's all-new Discovery while on the global media launch in southern Utah.

Land Rover’s all-new Discovery while on the global media launch in southern Utah.

Testing the all-new Discovery's Terrain Response 2 system in rock crawl mode. To say it works and works nicely is an understatement.

Testing the all-new Discovery’s Terrain Response 2 system in rock crawl mode. To say it works and works nicely is an understatement.

The all-new Land Rover Discovery, with its sleek design cues and utilization of technologies and materials including an aluminum monocoque frame with integrated composites and magnesium to lessen total weight by nearly 1,000lbs compared to the LR4, achieves the demands of today’s consumer market and is packed with capability and luxury for the discerning adventurer, whether on pavement or off-road. For starters, the U.S. version features two powertrain options including a gasoline-powered 3.0L Supercharged V6 and torquey smooth Td6 Diesel engine, both of which offer MPGs with mixed driving in the mid-20s. I was impressed with both engine options, especially with the Td6 as it’s extremely quiet and even at full throttle sounds more like a throaty gasoline-powered engine rather than a diesel. Plus, it has a wide powerband and gobs of torque when in low-range which is what you want when driving off-road.

Both powertrains are paired to an exceptionally smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox with various terrain settings from the Terrain Response 2 system for rock, snow, mud, sand, and selectable low-range with Land Rover’s award-winning air suspension . This system optimizes throttle sensitivity and gear change characteristics, and the All-Terrain Progress Control offers a level of autonomous driving by allowing the driver to set an off-road cruise control speed so the vehicle can focus on distributing torque at an even speed to each wheel, or as needed, under any terrain condition. It’s a functional feature that will appeal to inexperienced and experienced off-road drivers alike, and most likely be a topic of discussion for those intrigued by autonomous technology.

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Land Rover’s Td6 six-cylinder Diesel engine

The exterior of Land Rover’s all-new Discovery was completely redesigned with sleek lines and a bold one-piece tailgate, all of which is deceptively larger than its appearance particularly once you step inside. I like the updated design though I feel a bit of the Discovery’s mystique as a boxy safari-style vehicle has been lost a bit in the latest iteration of the vehicle. That said, its form and functionality are still worthy of the Discovery namesake.

Three rows feature a total of seven seats, all of which can be configured by the push of a button from an intelligently engineered panel in the rear cargo area. Additionally, the integration of a myriad of tech features including 9 USB ports throughout the cabin, six 12V power outlets along with an in-car 3G WiFI hotspot – usable for up to 8 devices – ensures all passengers are connected and devices fully-charged whether in the city or in the backcountry. To top it off, premium materials including luxurious Windsor leather and natural oak veneers offer an elegant, luxurious ambiance one would expect from Land Rover.

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The intuitive Terrain Response 2 system with turn dial knob, selectable low-range and air suspension height adjustment.

The rear cargo panel raises and lowers the second and third row seats as well as raises and lowers the lower tailgate which was designed as a seating area to change muddy boots, etc. The lower tailgate can support weights up to 600lbs.

The rear cargo panel raises and lowers the second and third row seats as well as raises and lowers the lower tailgate which was designed as a seating area to change muddy boots, etc. The lower tailgate can support weights up to 600lbs.

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21″ wheels aren’t my cup of tea but despite their large size and the low profile of the Goodyear Eagle F1 AT tires, the all-new Discovery handles any terrain with ease.

Snow testing the all-new Discovery and in this case, helping tow an 18-wheeler at altitude that had slid across the road in icy conditions.

Snow testing the all-new Discovery and in this case, helping tow an 18-wheeler at altitude that had slid across the road in icy conditions.

Land Rover’s All-New Discovery

First impressions of the all-new Land Rover Discovery are that it’s not only a comfortable and exceptionally capable vehicle, it’s a major accomplishment in maintaining the pedigree of the Discovery namesake. The all-new Discovery is deceptively larger than its exterior appearance suggests yet it’s every bit as capable in any terrain. I drove the vehicle through snow, ice, rock, mud, rain, sand and everything in-between – in both the gasoline-powered version and the six-cylinder diesel – and was pleasantly surprised with both power trains. The diesel version, which is available at a $2,000 premium, is worth the extra coin and with pricing starting at approximately $49,000 not including destination charges, the Discovery will appeal to the discerning driver whose appeal for luxury and functionality are at a premium.

A more detailed and thorough review of the all-new Land Rover Discovery will be featured in Issue 20 of OutdoorX4 Magazine due out in late March 2017

* OutdoorX4 Magazine Promoting responsible 4×4 adventure travel and outdoor recreation