Land Rover Discovery 2017 preview
A new Land Rover Discovery, and it has come a long way from the three-door 1989 original. The Discovery 5 goes on sale in 2017, continuing its predecessor's remit for seven seats, high quality and unrivalled go-anywhere capability. The new car is much lighter than before and hence more efficient, while it also promises to be even better to drive. Along with that, advanced technology will define the new Discovery.
What will its rivals be?
With a price point north of €60,000, the Discovery goes up against other large SUVs from premium car makers. Examples include the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLS and Volvo XC90. At a stretch, the Volkswagen Touareg could be included, though that only has five seats. Lower down the price ladder, but offering similar levels of space and practicality, are the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq. To choose one car from that lot that will make the Discovery's life hard, we'd take the Volvo XC90 with its high-tech interior, classy looks and efficient engine options.
Any tech info?
Loads, including Intelligent Seat Fold, which allows the owner to remotely alter the car's seating layout using a smartphone app. Probably of more real use, however, is Advanced Tow Assist, which a semi-autonomous system where the driver guides a towed load into a parking space using the rotary controller of the Terrain Response system and doesn't have to worry about steering corrections, etc. Very clever stuff. The rest of the car's occupants can make use of up to four 12-volt charging points, up to nine USB ports, a 17-speaker Meridian sound system, a Wi-Fi hotspot and Land Rover's latest InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with a 10-inch touchscreen.
What will the range be like?
Though it has yet to be confirmed, we expect every version of the Discovery sold in Ireland to feature seven seats and full-time four-wheel drive. Nonetheless, because of the weight reduction, Land Rover has managed to downsize the engine offering. The entry-level diesel engine will be a four-cylinder 2.0-litre unit producing 180hp and as low as 159g/km emissions in the Td4 model. The Sd4 gets a twin-turbocharged version of that engine with 240hp and there'll be a six-cylinder turbodiesel in the Td6 car. All feature an eight-speed automatic transmission.
We've already sat in the new Discovery and it's beautifully made inside, with some very clever storage solutions. Land Rover reckons it is better than ever off-road, which, admittedly, few need, but if it can marry that with enhanced on-road behaviour, then Land Rover could be onto a real winner.