Land Rover Discovery, test-driving the mighty family car.
Review and photography by Sam Clark
The Land Rover Discovery may not be the most exciting-looking tin on the shelf, but it does exactly what it says on the label.
My first love, at 3 years old, was a Land Rover. Even at that age, the uncompromising shape filled my young sences with adventure and wonder. On a family holiday at a farm in Devon, the farmer invited my Dad and I for a ride in his old mark ll. I can still hear the joyful tune of rattling metal and smell the intoxicating mix of oil fumes and perfume-de-farmyard. I could only catch glimpes of the field ahead over the dashboard as I was bounced pecariously up and down next to my dad on the soft foam seat framed with hard aluminium digging into the back of legs. That was it, I was completly smitten.
Maurice Walks had a dream to go anywhere, and his engineering still does
Too many years later I’m waiting to test a new Land Rover, a Discovery. The boxy vision of engineer and Rover Company Chairman, Maurice Wilks and his brother, Spencer, has grown in almost every copacity. The original Land Rover design, first penciled out by the brothers in the family farm in Wales, 1947, was a master-class in utilitarian form for function. The latest Discovery still holds some of the core Land Rover values. It can still make light work of a muddy field, although it’s now a much more luxurious experience. And it’s big, really very big. When you’re inside it seems, somehow, to be even bigger.
I eat hills for breakfast
The lofty driving position gives a somewhat detached connection to the world but the Discovery is really easy to drive. It’s well-proportioned and fits comfortably around the generous interior. You quickly acclimatise to its dimensions. Less than a mile in, I’m cruising around happily.
The drive is confident and very comfortable. It can wallow around corners at speed but actually feels surprisingly nimble around town. Overall, there is a real feeling this is a vehicle that could take you anywhere. It’s just begging to be filled full of kit, the family and several dogs and driven wherever the desire takes you. Preferably over some treacherous terrain just so it can show off how good it is!
Strong in force and fast in velocity
The New Discovery brings enhanced efficiency through its new straight-six Ingenium engines, available in petrol and diesel. Both feature a Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology system which harvests energy during deceleration. All the six-cylinder Discovery models feature Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, optimizing torque distribution for improved fuel economy without compromising off-road ability. The petrol engine incorporates advanced features such as a twin-scroll turbocharger and a 48-volt electric supercharger to eliminate turbo lag. All of which improves performance and fuel efficiency.
Basically, the Discovery has more than enough power to pick it up and propel it forward with a wonderfully pleasing force.
Is the Discovery the workhorse of the Land Rover family?
Since the Defender 110 stopped production, I think the Discovery could be new Land Rover workhorse. The small ones don’t count. Don’t get me started on the Velour. The Range Rover is undeniably fabulous but it’s become more luxury island than muddy boots. Although the new Defender has got rugged credentials, I’m finding it hard to see passed fashion statement. The Discovery seems to be the only one of these high society siblings that quietly gets on with the job.
The Wilks brothers utilitarian vision and I have both grown over the years, We’ve both gained a little around the middle, but I’m still in love.
Discover more about the Discovery on the Land Rover website
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