Cushy but ca­pa­ble fifth-gen Dis­cov­ery takes ver­sa­til­ity to a new level

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - DE­NIS DROPPA

SINCE its launch in 1989 the Land Rover Dis­cov­ery has blended hard­core of­froad abil­ity with lux­ury and com­fort. Ver­sion five, newly launched in South Africa this week, takes this ver­sa­til­ity con­cept to a new level.

Land Rover’s new SUV - avail­able with five or op­tion­ally seven seats joins the dig­i­tal age with up-to-date in­fo­tain­ment and con­nec­tiv­ity, pack­ages it in a more stream­lined and rad­i­cally lighter body, and has new tricks up its sleeve in­clud­ing fold­ing rear seats that can be con­trolled by a smart­phone.

The Dis­cov­ery’s more rounded and aero­dy­namic new styling is per­haps the most con­tro­ver­sial change as it’s lost the chunk­i­ness of its pre­de­ces­sors, and box­ier lines tend to con­vey more vis­ual tough­ness. But un­der that ‘softer’ ap­pear­ance is an SUV that’s more of­froad-ca­pa­ble than ever.

A short but tricky of­froad course at the Dis­cov­ery’s South African me­dia launch held in the Water­berg re­gion of Lim­popo this week con­firmed that this SUV re­tains the for­mi­da­ble all-ter­rain abil­ity of its pre­de­ces­sors and has im­proved in key ar­eas: the ground clear­ance has risen to 283mm (up 43mm) and the wad­ing depth to 900mm (a 200mm in­crease), while it can also ap­proach steeper an­gles than be­fore (it has a 34 de­gree ap­proach an­gle, 27.5 de­gree breakover an­gle and 30 de­gree de­par­ture an­gle).

Full time all-wheel drive, of­froad ABS brakes, and hill de­scent con­trol are all part of the stan­dard turf­tam­ing pack­age. There are four equip­ment grades Con­tin­ued on Page 3

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