Mo­tor­ing

Shooting Gazette - - The Review -

It is tes­ta­ment to the es­teem in which the old Dis­cov­ery is held that no car I can think of had en­gen­dered as much hos­til­ity be­fore any­one had even driven it than Land rover’s fifth gen­er­a­tion SUV. As the owner of six Dis­cov­er­ies over the years, I’ll ad­mit I greeted de­signer Gerry mc­gov­ern’s procla­ma­tions of pre­mium this and lux­ury that with dis­may. When I first saw the show cars with their range rover front, rounded off slightly weird back and ivory leather in­te­ri­ors, my mood didn’t re­ally lift. the last ver­sion of the Dis­cov­ery was like a favourite old waxed jacket for me – worn ab­so­lutely any­where, not to ev­ery­one’s taste but adored nonethe­less.

So it was with a de­gree of trep­i­da­tion I walked out to the test Dis­cov­ery that was to be mine for the week. And first im­pres­sions weren’t favourable. I don’t es­pe­cially like the way it looks, but then I was re­minded I didn’t es­pe­cially like the way the Dis­cov­ery 3 looked when it was first launched. the in­side is much, much bet­ter. It is a very nice place to sit, with much more space in rows two and three than the old model, and an in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem that is more up to date than the sex­tant out of the sun­roof ver­sion we’d all grown to hate. It is light and airy, even for back seat pas­sen­gers, which is a far rarer com­mod­ity than you’d expect when chil­dren com­plain­ing of feel­ing sick be­cause they can’t see out is hardly the most pre­mium ex­pe­ri­ence imag­in­able.

the only neg­a­tives are mr mc­gov­ern’s ha­tred of knobs and but­tons has caused the key con­trols to be no longer all to be op­er­a­ble while wear­ing gloves and the own­ers of dog boxes would do well to check their old one fits into the boot. Oh, and the tail­gate isn’t now split but it does have a lit­tle shelf that folds down so you can still change into your wellies in com­fort.

Fire it up and the top of the range V6 diesel ver­sion I’d been lent set­tled into a muted ver­sion of the fa­mil­iar Dis­cov­ery tune and was no less wel­come for such. tak­ing ad­van­tage of the new more lightweight ar­chi­tec­ture, the Disco 5 is now avail­able with a four-cylin­der diesel too, which I tried very briefly and which is brisk enough and much more qui­etly in­stalled than it is in the rather rat­tly Dis­cov­ery Sport.

Once on the road it is re­as­sur­ingly Dis­cov­ery-like and still rides com­fort­ably, with plenty of re­lax­ing sta­bil­ity around the straight ahead but no pre­tence to sporti­ness. even though par­ent com­pany JLR has a fa­cil­ity at the Nür­bur­gring, I am pleased to say it doesn’t feel like this car has been any­where it.

Off-road, it has gained some wad­ing depth and, while its over­all ground clear­ance has dropped a frac­tion, my en­thu­si­as­tic test­ing showed it re­tains its ti­tle as Land rover’s, and there­fore the world’s, most com­pe­tent off-roader. even on the tyres it left the fac­tory on, it is in­cred­i­ble on the rough stuff and will get you fur­ther than any other gun­bus that doesn’t run on tracks. I hitched it up to one of our big trail­ers too, and it

hardly no­ticed it was there. With all its cam­eras and elec­tron­ics, it can even re­verse them for you so it’s even bet­ter than the old one there too.

If you think I’d started to warm to the new Disco, you’d be right. Off-road, it’s su­perb. tow­ing it’s su­perb. I did a long mo­tor­way jour­ney in it and it was quiet and com­fort­able. the sat­nav, fuel econ­omy and back seat space are much bet­ter than the old one. be­fore the week’s end I’d specced my­self a car. V6 diesel, muted colour and all black in­te­rior so as not to show the dirt. It might be a shiny new bar­bour right now, but I reckon I’ll grow to love it as much as the old one soon enough.

While the ex­te­rior isn't to ev­ery­ones' taste the SUV earns its keep once you're on/off the road.

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