Over recent times, Land Rover has pushed itself from a 4X4 brand into one whose cars are some of the most highly regarded and sought-after around. The Discovery follows this trend, and with room for 7 adults and a standard spec including alloy wheels, air conditioning, electronic traction control, and park distance control, it can be yours with one of our Land Rover Discovery contract hire options.
The Discovery though, continues to have its own authentic appeal. In many ways, it’s the ultimate expression of the Land Rover brand.
There’s nothing quite like a Land Rover Discovery and not much comes close to matching the sheer capability of this fifth generation version. From behind the wheel, you get a great view of the road ahead and a real feeling of control that on tarmac you can properly exploit this time around. That’s thanks to significantly improved levels of agility made possible by the installation of the aluminium monocoque chassis the engineers have borrowed from the company’s two largest Range Rover models.
All Discoverys come with smooth 8-speed auto transmission, air suspension and a twin-speed gearbox with a low range setting for really tough off road work. Most drivers though, will be more interested in a 3. 5-tonne braked towing capability that’s massively greater than direct rivals can offer. Those competitors can deliver slightly better efficiency stats, but this Discovery has narrowed that gap, the 3. 0 Td6 variant able to manage 39. 2mpg on the combined cycle and 189g/km of CO2.
It doesn’t look like the kind of Discovery you’re probably used to seeing. It was never going to. The square, quite utilitarian-looking previous generation designs in this model line hardly ever featured on the wish lists of drivers buying sleeker, if less capable, 7-seat large SUVs. The front end is very much a development of the look we’re already familiar with from the smaller Discovery Sport model. Plus there’s a traditional Land Rover clamshell bonnet, and the stepped roofline and the prominent rear C-pillar are both apparently inspired by Discoverys of the past.
Time to take a seat inside. Once installed in the driver’s chair, you get a commanding a view of the road ahead that locates your eyeline several inches above where it would be in a German rival. In that respect, this car’s similar to its Range Rover Sport showroom stablemate, but the cabin (quite intentionally) lacks the purposeful driver positioning of that car and some of the sheer indulgence of its fixtures and fittings.
Right, let’s move rearwards. Each seat can slide back and forth – and you can recline the backrests too, all the adjustment being electrically-powered, provided you choose one of the plusher ‘HSE’ variants.
Time to take a seat in the third row. Space here is really very good by class standards, this being one of the only large 7-seat SUVs that really can take two full-sized adults with any real degree of comfort. The stepped roofline helps, making possible the so-called ‘stadium seating’ arrangement that sees the rear seats positioned higher up than those at the front, so you get a better view out.
Let’s finish by taking a look at the boot. It features a single-piece tailgate this time around, which means it can be power-operated with optional foot gesture control. Inside, some of the old model’s ‘tailgate picnic’-style functionality is retained thanks to the welcome electrically-deployable seat panel. When you push it back up, it helps secure luggage in place. Flatten the third row chairs – easy if you’ve got the electric rear seat folding option fitted – and a huge 1,137-litres of carrying capacity will be freed up. That rises further to a massive 2,406-litres of total capacity if you flatten the second row too.
The world takes on a different appearance from behind the wheel of a Land Rover Discovery. It always did and it still does. At the helm, you know you’re in a car that can take on just about anything, be that a seven-up trip to the Alps or a relaxing ride home on a wet and slippery winter’s night.
Thanks to a clever, classless feel that nothing else can quite replicate, it brings a wonderful authenticity to its market segment. Enough to make it the world’s ultimate family SUV? Well that depends on your perspective. Those who come to this segment in search of the genuine article will surely think so. One thing’s for certain though: there’s nothing else quite like it.