Ian Lamming goes on a new voyage of Discovery.
THERE’S a glow on the hard-shoulder; well that’s not good, especially on the school run.
Sure enough, three lanes of traffic come to a sudden halt while plumes of black smoke rise into the air.
Fire engines appear from over the horizon and we are not going anywhere for some considerable time. A self-propelled crane has caught fire and fallen over and it is three hours before traffic starts moving again.
Not to worry, it’s not a problem, even for the nine-year-old in the passenger seat who is missing maths but happy because he is watching CBBC on the Discovery’s in-car television. Thanks Land Rover, genius idea – and so are the seats.
My friend has the previous model and came for coffee one morning with a big red welt on her forehead. She had been vacuuming her Discovery and pressed the spring-loaded release for the three rows of seats. One row had pinged back hitting her straight between the eyes and causing her to bite her tongue. Ouch!
No wonder then she loved the new Discovery’s electrically operated rears seats which rise and fall and fold away at the press of several buttons on the side of the boot lining. There’s another button to electrically operate the hide-away tow-bar and test the light sequence for when you are towing. I like this car, it makes life easy.
It is easy going in so many ways. Old Discovery looked and felt large of girth. It required a lot of forward thinking when braking, cornering and squeezing through gaps, bit like a lorry or bus.
New Discovery is longer and wider but feels smaller, wieldier, tauter and sharper. It rides better, handles the bends with aplomb and gives the driver more confidence. It looks good as well, more modern and aerodynamic but just as purposeful. On the road it grips well, off it it is an accomplished mud-plugger with lots of dial-in settings for ride, traction and gear ratios. It’s a proper Land Rover after all and that’s the strength of the brand.
Adjustments are all done easily from the driver’s seat with knobs and switches in the superb cabin. Land Rover can certainly design an interior and the Discovery is no exception. The touch screen is attractive and easy to navigate, the specification off the scale. I love the tailgate which is operated electrically, up and back down, on the key.
The 2.0 litre diesel is strong and refined walloping out 240bhp and 500Nm of torque at just 1,500rpm. That makes it a great vehicle with which to tow and a remarkably rapid one when you are not.
Being a relaxed mover, the Discovery is reasonably economical too. The book says 43.5 miles per gallon on the combined cycle. My mixed motoring saw it average 34.4 which gave it a good range of more than 580 miles. Not that it matters, really, when I would be just as happy sitting in the traffic jam watching the TV – and so would the boy.
Model: Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE Luxury
Engine: 2.0 litre, turbo diesel
Drivetrain: eight-speed auto
Top speed: 121mph
0-60mph: 8.0 secs
Miles per gallon 43.5 (combined):
CO2 (g/km): 189