Land Rover Discovery Review – ‘Disco’s Here

A short while ago I had the pleasure of attending the NZ launch of the all new Land Rover Discovery (5). Held at Boomrock in Wellington, it was an off road experience that gave e a big insight into how well the Land Rover Discovery could handle terrain that was far from urban, and surfaces other than (what many of them will only be driven on) tarmac – needless to say, the class-leading all-terrain capable ‘Disco’ was in its element there, playing in the mud.

With the ‘off road’ box ticked, I was of course keen to find out how it handled a more general life (aka mine), where family and chores, city commutes, school runs and maybe, if I’m lucky, the odd excursion – essentially a test far from the great outdoors and a long way away from adventure, but as I said before – possibly more of a reality for this vehicle.

I grabbed the keys and the activity key (I’ll get to that soon) to the HSE TD6. It’s very high up on the luxury 7 seater chart and came with many, and I mean MANY, driver pleasing accessories. It’s very well connected, lavish inside and out and houses more storage spaces and cubby holes than you can shake a stick at – or can fill for that matter.

The all new Discovery’s styling is familiar and yet more modern. A softer look to the bonnet and roofline, short front overhang, sleeker lighting, blades on the wings and a rising belt line all combine to clean up the SUV’s exterior flow. While inside, Windsor leather covers the seats, Gloss Black, Bright Aluminium, and Noble Plating adorn all the finishes.

The front two seats are really more armchairs. Not only are they comfortable but they have adjustable arms for you to rest your weary limbs on – these are valuable add on, especially since the centre console is so far away.  Now let me tell you about the rest of the seating configuration, it’s awesome. The front seats are electric and as such fully adjustable, I guess that’s a given in a vehicle of this luxury stature, however, it’s the other 5 seat that are certain to impress (well they did for me). You can drop all down (for 1,124L of luggage space), drop just the middle row, drop just one of the middle or back row, drop two from the middle and one from the back or vice versa – I think you get the point. Not only that, you can do it electronically via in-SUV switches, on the main touchscreen or outside via an App! The result (apart from it being a better game than frogger) simply means more versatility for stowage.

Talking of stowage, the shelf in the rear stops shopping from falling out and also doubles as a seat (this may not make reading sense but in practicality, it’s a great place to park your rear). There are storage places for the two people seated at the rear, areas and power for the middle row and compartments throughout the front (even a hidden one behind a dashboard fascia). My HSE even came with a chiller compartment in the centre console – told you it was flash!

And did I tell you about its tech? Kids (or the kid in my case) have the pleasure of watching rear headrest fitted TV, (the adults can too when parked). Meridian supplies the sounds and Land Rovers suite of infotainment is delivered by way of a 10” colour touchscreen. It has PARK ASSIST for parallel, exit and perpendicular parking. It’s got your boat covered with Towing assist (for up to 3,500kg). 360-degree camera for those tight city spots, Autonomous emergency braking, Adaptive cruise with queue assist, lane keep assist… I could go on, but let’s just say it has more assists than a professional footballer.

Taking this large SUV on the tight city roads is a bit of a squeeze initially, but it isn’t long before you settle into the rhythm. You are way up high so visibility is certainly not a problem and the electronic steering, air suspension and multitude of traction/stability controls ensure the 3.0 litre Td6 diesel engine delivers its 190kW/600Nm perfectly to the 4WD system and in turn, keeps the new Discovery well connected to the road – handy that. It’s a smooth comfortable ride albeit a little too forgiving.

From a daily driver point of view, the all new Discovery was a major hit with my family. My son varied his seating position each drive, opting for TV on longer runs and the remoteness of the very rear for short Mall trips. The wife tried her best to fill the stowage spaces (I’ll leave you to decide how) and while I chauffeured them both around the town and parked outside the office, I dreamt of faraway lands comfortable in the knowledge that if I ever decided to take it to the great outdoors (places where I could lock the keys in the SUV and rely on the ‘Activity Key’ wristband to gain access upon my return) the all new Discovery had my back.

To sum it all up, the Land Rover Discovery doesn’t just excel off road but happily embraces city life too. With its vast amount of stowage and storage areas, seating combinations, all terrain technology and rugged yet stylish good looks you could say that the ‘Dis goes’ everywhere!

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