WE had a soft spot for the old Land Rover Discovery, so the new version certainly had a lot to live up to. Still, it succeeds to such an extent that we have no hesitation in placing it at the top of this SUV list.
The curvy new design might take some time to win fans, but the old model was also seen as an acquired taste early in its life. There’s no doubt that it has presence in any case.
That vast body hides a cavernous interior that can seat seven adults, while the quality of the cabin and the technology on board are so good that the Disco could easily wear a Range Rover badge.
The practical and classy interior combines Land Rover’s unsurpassed ability to create luxury cars that can head further off road than you’re likely to ever need to. The latest Discovery has a full suite of clever new features added to Land Rover’s Terrain Response system to let it climb mountains and ford streams, but it also manages to be a fantastically refined and cosseting cruiser on the road.
It’s up to 480kg lighter than the old car as well, which greatly benefits handling, performance and efficiency. It even allows the fitment of a four-cylinder diesel engine for the first time, so the Disco has a claimed average economy figure of more than 40mpg. There’s a gutsy V6 diesel on offer, too, for those who regularly carry heavy loads, tow caravans or just want the extra performance.
It’s more expensive than ever, granted, yet its breadth of ability and sheer class make cars such as the Range Rover Sport look a bit redundant. Given all this, it’s no wonder it’s Auto Express’s 2017 Car of the Year.
“The quality and tech on board are so good that the Disco could wear a Range Rover badge”
Price range: £43,995-£68,595 Our pick: 2.0 SD4 HSE (£59,595) Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl diesel, 240bhp Transmission: 8-spd auto, permanent 4WD Top speed: 121mph Economy: 43.5mpg CO2: 171g/km
Interior is finished in high-quality materials and has plenty of technology. You’re unlikely to feel short of space, either