Lighter and smarter, one of the best off-roaders
The Land Rover brand means different things to different people. Wealthy suburbanites associate the British automaker with elegant errand-runners. Adventure enthusiasts acknowledge the company’s off-road prowess. Neither group would dare associate with one another, yet each is validated in its interpretation of the Land Rover badge.
Once upon a time, Land Rover produced no-frills 4×4 vehicles. Before long, however, the automaker began honing in on an upscale SUV niche. Its authority in this segment has more than paid off in recent years. Luxury shoppers have outgrown the high-end sedan and now crave something of a more stilted variety. Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Maybach, and other ultra-premium brands are rushing to satisfy their customers, but Land Rover need only continue on its current trajectory.
Booming business is encouraging Land Rover to apply its premium positioning to more models, and the next vehicle in line is the Discovery. The company’s most capable product begins its fifth generation this year, touting a radically reworked platform, design, and feature set. It marks the most significant redesign in the Discovery’s 27-year history. Each body panel has been re-imagined, meaning the classic, boxy shape is now only a memory. A few key design cues linger, including the steeped roof, clamshell bonnet, and defined C-pillar. Apart from these accents, the Discovery may as well be an all-new product.
The production SUV’s rounded, chic exterior closely resembles the 2014 Discovery Vision Concept’s taught bodywork. LED headlights, side air inlets, and a narrow grille accentuate the Discovery’s smooth front fascia.
At the rear, the Discovery utilizes a single-piece tailgate, rear spoiler, and deep lower diffuser. Land Rover offers a Dynamic Design Pack that includes 21- or 22-inch gray satin wheels, a black or gray contrast roof, unique front and rear bumpers, and black accents for the grille, door handles, mirror caps, fender vents, and badging.
The manufacturer believes the design had to be a radical departure from previous generations, is now more relevant, and will attract new customers to the brand.
It’s logical to assume the Discovery’s softened physique matches a softened off-road demeanor. Indeed, the new Discovery is more refined on all types of terrain, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less capable. In fact, the fifth generation model can take you further off the beaten path than any production Land Rover.
The Discovery can bully a back road, but it can also coddle its customers. Taking a page from the upscale Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, the Discovery’s cabin is elegantly simple. Staple luxury car ingredients like brushed metals, soft leather surfaces, and wood grain trim will make the posh crowd feel at home, while advanced safety and convenience features are perfect for families.
Land Rover’s latest InControl systems are available across the Discovery trim range, and include a 10.0-inch touchscreen display with 60GB of storage and built-in apps, a smartphone app for remote control of the climate settings and seating configurations, a Wi-Fi hotspot that can pair with up to eight devices, and an emergency SOS system. The TouchPro infotainment system is equal parts user-friendly and sophisticated, with tile quadrants for navigation, media, vehicle settings, and weather that respond quickly to inputs.