review: Colin Sharp | price from: R1 257 200

We had a Discovery 2 3.5-litre V8 as part of our Habitat fleet for some years. Acquired secondhand, it featured largely aluminium body panels, yet was by no means a lightweight. Although certain persons unkindly described it as ‘agricultural machinery’, those of us that used it enjoyed driving this tall, old SUV despite the fact that you could almost watch the fuel tank needle going south.

The 2017 Land Rover Discovery HSE Si6 is a very different concept. It features much of the high-echelon glitz of its larger peers in the Range Rover model collection; we had it for a week and really enjoyed the ride.

From the frontal elevation, this new Discovery presents a measure of sculpted elegance with a sporty flourish, especially with the right set of wheels; the optional Dynamic Design package goes further, adding smart black trim and larger wheels.

However, the rear elevation is very different. The old Discovery models featured a stepped-up aft end with ‘safari windows’ on the corners of the roof, but when applied to this more curvaceous profile the result is a bulbous rear of considerable proportions, yet somehow it works. Lastly, the quirky asymmetrical rear door is gone and replaced by a flip-up hatch.

Inside, there’s the same classically British treatment that has defined the brand’s signature for years. Black interiors are par for the course in 2018, but here Land Rover’s interior design team have added just the right amount of contrasting stitching to soft leather, plus piano black panels and satin alloy accents.

Fine leather seats are soft and accommodating up front, and though they’re flatter in the rear there’s enough passenger space for three adults abreast. Further back it gets tighter and more rigid, but the pair at this extremity are likely only used occasionally.

Discovery’s cockpit remains well thought-out and comprehensive. Steering wheel controls are large and logically positioned, and for off-roading the terrain response dial makes it easy to cycle through modes. Additionally, all of the Discovery’s five rear seats can be raised and lowered with the touch of a button in the rear, at the rear doors, or even with an app on a smartphone.

Land Rover’s InControl touchscreen system is vastly improved over its previous iteration, it features a widescreen design and faster processor, plus some of the most visually appealing graphics on any in-car system. The Discovery’s option list includes à la carte items such as 360-degree parking aid sensors and head-up display.

The standard powertrain in the Discovery is a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 mated to an 8-speed A/T with an optional sport mode and paddle shifters, and permanent AWD. This peach of a power plant has huge torque and provides smooth, relaxed driving, yet can be more sporty with the paddles in use.

For the full article see Habitat #263 January / February 2018


Newsletter Sign Up