You could call what Land Rover has done to the Discovery a metamorphosis. They have discarded the heavy older boxy shape, smoothed out the edges, and cast off a pile of weight to give us a more graceful car than anything that has preceded it.
Yet it will still rival and better the best off-road vehicles around, and will pull your house behind it if you wish.
It has been generating some debate amongst the traditionalists as to whether the changes are a good or a bad thing. Some drivers of the former models – no more than the now discontinued Defender – will bemoan the direction the Land Rover has taken with the loveable ‘Disco’.
To be fair, they may have a point but time moves on and the Land Rover fancy their chances of generating more sales across the world with this more modern, slender model.
Nostalgia aside, this is a smashing car in looks and ability. The test car, Discovery HSE with 2.0-litre engine and 8-speed automatic gearbox, is born and bred in the same design house as the Jaguar – also owned by Indian company, Tata – and is laced with interior qualities that are right up there with the top-class cars from their stable.
The leather is scrumptious, the switchgear and the controls are straight out of the Jaguar design labs and the electrically-adjusted seats are just outstanding.
I am also a big fan of what they do in terms of on-screen controls and the system that is offered to navigate it. Regulars will know from past rants in this column that I have issues with what some car companies are presenting us recently from a safety point of view. Full credit to Land Rover here for giving us a system that is well thought out and takes the safety of the user into account, making life behind the wheel much more reassuring.
While the new Discovery is more refined, you still need to pay attention to what you are at behind the wheel. It is certainly less cumbersome than the older version but still behaves like a giant 4×4 with high ground clearance and chunky big wheels, but because this car is up to 480kg lighter, you get a more nimble car than what has gone before.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.