Auto Express - - Winter Driving Special -

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

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