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Land Rover Discovery
The Top Gear car review:Land Rover Discovery
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
If you’re stepping into a Disco 5 from a last-gen car, you simply won’t recognise the environment you’ve just found yourself in. It’s minimalist, there’s much wood and metal and very little plastic, and a large screen. In fact, it’s a Range Rover dashboard and seating position, unless you’re extremely nit-picky.
Which is both a good and bad thing, really. Sure, it’s an opulent surrounding, but we loved the old Disco’s big, chunky touch switchgear and bleak-but-bulletproof ambience. The new one feels almost inappropriate, like the car wants you to remove your muddy shoes before climbing aboard and put the wet, smelly dogs in a trailer rather than sully the boot’s luxuriant carpet.
Okay, let’s assume you like the Disco 5’s upmarket sweep, and can put up with the touchscreen - as per usual for Land Rover - not being the cleverest in terms of map resolution. You’ll not want for space, with all seven seats capable of seating adults. Second-row seats get 954mm of legroom and there’s 851mm in the far rear, and enough gap for real adults. It’s also versatile; you can individually fold each rearmost seat, and the second row has a 60/40 split, recline and load-through facility. Heated seats are available all the way through, and you can have headrest-mounted screens, or just opt for the optional iPad holders. Handy.
Folding the seats is more fiddly than it needs to be – Land Rover is very proud of the ability to flip and fold each one using a remote app, but a Volvo XC90’s simple mechanisms are quicker and more reliable. Watch out for the enormous doors – they’re a pain to open and shut carefully if there’s a gusty breeze. And out back, we find one of the new Discovery’s more controversial features, or lack thereof.
There’s no longer a split tailgate, for weight, crash structure and complication reasons. Land Rover says the replacement, a fold-out shelf, is capable of supporting up to 300kg, but it neither looks nor feels that tough, and we miss the old car’s simpler pop-out seat. Boot capacity is 258 litres in seven-seat mode, and a gigantic 2406 litres with all the rear seats stowed.