New Discovery’s ride quality is a highlight
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and except for the entry-level Discovery S which comes with coil suspension and high range only, all other versions have height-adjustable air suspension and a two-speed transfer case with high and low range. Auto Access Height lowers the vehicle 40mm when you park to make it easier for driver and passengers to get in and out.
For extra money, diehard adventurers can opt for a number of additional offroad-enhancing features such a traction-improving active locking rear differential, an automatic crawl function that autonomously maintains a set speed with the driver only having to steer, a multi-mode Terrain Response 2 system that at a twist of a dial selects an offroad mode to suit various terrains, and a Surround Camera system which displays potentially unseen offroad hazards onto the dashboard monitor.
The new Discovery has been on a major diet, shedding up to 480kg of weight due to its monocoque body now being mostly constructed of aluminium instead of steel, giving it a notably nimbler feel and more spring in its step.
It’s an exceptionally refined vehicle, and both the petrol and diesel versions I drove delivered effortless performance with a hushed demeanour. The cushy ride quality is a particular highlight, and the big SUV glides with great comfort over rough gravel roads.
Having grown longer but slightly narrower and lower, the Discovery’s wheelbase has increased by 38mm, creating generous cabin space. The third row of seats isn’t just for young children but roomy enough for most adults. The interior’s become more luxurious and can be specced with a range of premium materials including Windsor leather upholstery and natural oak veneers.
The InControl Touch Pro infotainment system features a large 25cm touchscreen that reduces the number of switches on the centre console.
A world-first on the new Discovery is the Intelligent Seat Fold technology that allows the second- and third-row seats to be electrically folded using controls at the rear of the vehicle, the central touchscreen, or remotely via a smartphone app. It’s a R22 100 option.
With all the rear seats folded there’s a huge 2 500 litres of boot space, and a still very roomy 1 231 litres with the middle row in place, while the electric tailgate can be opened by a foot gesture. The vehicle has a workhorse-like towing capacity of 3 500kg, and a camera-based tow assist system is available that allows the driver to line up the tow hitch to the trailer without any outside human assistance.
A plethora of cabin storage spaces include a compartment behind the ventilation controls on the dash, and cleverly-designed slots in the centre console designed to take a pair of smartphones standing upright.
The Discovery’s equipped with up to nine USB ports allowing passengers in each row to power their smartphones or tablets simultaneously, and six 12-volt charging points and a 3G WiFi hotspot. InControl Touch Pro provides greater connectivity including access to a range of apps through a touchscreen display.
Dipping into the extensive (and expensive) options list gets you luxury features like heated and massaging seats and rear seat entertainment, or driver-assistance aids like adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist.
Also available is a waterproof Activity Key wristband that allows the more active Discovery owners to enjoy their hobbies without carrying a key fob. The waterproof wristband locks the vehicle and disables the ordinary key, which can be left safely inside.
The six-cylinder engine range is carried over from the old Discovery, in the form of a 3-litre turbodiesel with outputs of 190kW and 600Nm, and a 3-litre supercharged petrol wielding 250kW and 450Nm. Both are paired with an eight-speed auto gearbox.
A limited-run of 2400 ‘First Edition’ derivatives will be available globally (34 for South Africa) with exclusive features including unique etched map detailing on the aluminium trim for the doors and facia, unique badges, bold colour choices and a comprehensive list of standard equipment. PRICES: Discovery 3.0 TDV6 S - R992 540 Discovery 3.0 V6 Supercharged - R1 037 310 Discovery 3.0 TDV6 SE - R1 121 790 Discovery 3.0 V6 Supercharged SE - R1 145 560 Discovery 3.0 TDV6 HSE - R1 235 540 Discovery 3.0 V6 Supercharged HSE - R1 259 310 Discovery 3.0 TDV6 HSE Luxury - R1 326 540 Discovery 3.0 V6 Supercharged HSE Luxury - R1 350 310 Discovery 3.0 TDV6 First Edition - R1 452 540 Discovery 3.0 V6 Supercharged First Edition - R1 476 310
Includes 3 year/100 000km warranty, 5 year/100 000km maintenance plan, & 24-hour roadside assistance
Second and third seating rows can be folded via the touchscreen, switches in the boot or by smartphone app.