DISCO FEVER (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
As ever, the Land Rover Discovery is the most practical and capable large SUV you could choose. Now the opposition has even more to fret about, courtesy of improvements to this fifth generation model. Jonathan Crouch reports
Ten Second Reviewword count: 93
There's nothing quite like a Land Rover Discovery and the improved version of this fifth generation model continues to offer the toughest, the most practical and the most capable choice in the large SUV sector. Enhancements include a smarter look, the adoption of MHEV mild hybrid engine technology and a much higher standard of media connectivity from the revised cabin. Yet the Discovery remains a supremely practical choice for up to seven adults and is an easy class-leader off the beaten track. In the large family SUV segment, there's nothing quite like it.
Backgroundword count: 124
Without the Discovery model line, it's doubtful whether the Land Rover brand would even exist today. Launched back in 1989, the original version merely bolted more spacious bodywork onto an aging Range Rover chassis, but the sales it generated were enough to save the company. They also financed a more sophisticated five cylinder air suspended model in 1998 at the same time as the company's engineers were busily beavering away at something much better, third generation Discovery3 of 2004 which was ultimately developed into the Discovery4 of 2009. It took a further eight years before this more unusually-styled fifth generation model arrived, a car now thoroughly enhanced with JLR's latest MHEV electrified engine tech and media features. Potentially then, lots to look forward to.
Driving Experienceword count: 291
There's still something very special about a place behind the wheel of a Discovery. In contrast to more car-like rivals, it's not a cockpit-like experience with all the controls angled towards you as they would be in, say a Range Rover Sport. No, this is different - a place of command: a place to do business with the elements, be they the snake-infested swamps of the rainy season in the Serengeti or the snarled-up traffic of a wet windy morning on the school run. This improved version of the fifth generation model gets a more capable Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system and Jaguar Land Rover's latest engine tech, all the units paired with a smooth and responsive ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. Only the entry-level P300 four cylinder 300hp petrol variant does without electrified assistance. Otherwise, the brand's 48V MHEV mild hybrid tech features across the line-up's remaining three 3.0-litre six cylinder powerplants. Most will want one of the diesels, either the D250, which has 570Nm of torque and 249PS; or the D300, which offers 650Nm of torque and 300hp. There's also a six cylinder petrol variant, the P360, with 500Nm of torque and 360hp. All variants get impressive towing capability, the diesel variants offering a class-leading 3,500kg braking towing total. Plus Land Rover has developed clever technology to make this towing ability more accessible. Advanced Tow Assist is an ingenious development which allows drivers to complete potentially difficult reversing manoeuvres when towing trailers, caravans and horseboxes with ease. As before, there's class-leading off road ability thanks to permanent 4WD and the standard 'Terrain Response' system. An optional Configurable Terrain Response set-up allows drivers to fine-tune the Discovery's throttle mapping, gearbox shift points, steering and suspension settings to suit their preferences and requirements.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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