Land Rover employed helicopters, a Bear, and a replica of the Tower Bridge – which used a Guinness-record-breaking 5,805,846 Lego bricks in its construction – to launch the Discovery. The Land Rover Discovery is the all-new replacement for the three-row SUV we called the LR4, before that LR3, and before that… Discovery.
The new seven-seat SUV is larger than the outgoing model; the wheelbase and overall length both increase, but the roofline is lower and it is slightly narrower. Gone is the exceedingly upright styling of the LR4; here is more curvaceous styling that looks much like a larger version of the Discovery Sport. Despite gaining size – enough that Land Rover claims even full-size adults will fit in the third row – the new Disco is expected to shed 450 kg from its curb weight. That’s largely thanks to a healthy injection of aluminum.
The new styling and the lighter weight should put a little more emphasis on the “sport” part of the sport utility equation, but as this is a Land Rover, it still has all the off-road goodies: 280 mm of ground clearance, the ability to ford through 900 mm of water and Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system that lets drivers configure the throttle, traction control and gearbox to suit the terrain underneath. Air suspension is available, there’s a real transfer case with low range, and available All-Terrain Progress Control is a cruise control for mud and snow.
Underhood options include three turbo-diesel engines and one gas. It’s not clear if we will get all of the diesels, but at least one of the trio is likely. The line starts with a 2.0L turbo-diesel four that makes 180 hp. Next is the Sd4 Ingenium that makes 240 hp and 370 lb-ft. The Td6 is a six-cylinder diesel that makes 258 hp and 442 lb-ft. Finally, the gas engine is a 340 hp supercharged 3.0L V6 that produces 331 lb-ft. All are paired with an eight-speed automatic.
Inside, Land Rover wants you to notice the massive amount of storage in compartments scattered around the cabin. There is a total of 14 L of storage in the dash, 127 L under the seats, with all the cubbies and console storage combined for a total of 171.8 L of space. That’s about half the space that an average compact car gives in the entire trunk. Total cargo capacity is a massive 2,500 L.
But the inside isn’t all practicality and cargo. There are also six 12 V sockets and up to nine USB ports… wait, that’s still practicality. Well, there are a lot of features. The rear seats are power-folding, which can be controlled via buttons in the vehicle – or a phone app. There’s an inner tailgate that slides out of the rear floor when the hatch is open, giving you somewhere to sit while you eat or change your boots.
The new interior maintains the Discovery’s stepped seating, meaning that rearmost passengers can see over the people in front. The roofline bumps up to maintain the same amount of headroom. There is a wide range of leather colours and higher-quality materials available. There are also natural wood veneers or metal trims available. There is an available 10-inch touchscreen, and a Meridian 14-speaker stereo. The system uses Land Rover’s newest InControl Touch Pro system for infotainment. All three rows of seats can be heated, with the first two rows having available ventilation.
There is a host of other new technology features as well. The waterproof Activity Key bracelet lets you safely leave the keys in the vehicle when you are swimming, running, or anything else where you don’t want the key getting wet or lost. The available LED headlights have five modes available for different driving areas: there are choices for town, country, highway, low visibility and high beam, and the clusters of LEDs operate differently for the varying conditions. A wade-sensing function tells the driver how deep the water they are fording is, and how close that is to submerging the vehicle. Tow Assist helps to reverse a trailer, and even helps with hook-up using the surround view cameras. The Discovery can even tell you what the trailer tongue weight is. Included in those safety features is emergency braking, adaptive cruise, hill-start assist, and self-parking for both parallel and perpendicular spaces.
The all-new Land Rover Discovery is scheduled to go on sale in Spring of 2017.
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