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Land Rover Discovery — long-term review

Is the Discovery still as rugged as the old one?

Specification:
Land Rover Discovery Td6 HSE Luxury
Engine:
2993cc, V6 turbodiesel, 4WD, 258bhp, 442lb ft
Claimed MPG:
39.2mpg, 189g/km CO2
Performance:
0–62mph in 7.7secs, 130mph
Weight:
2230kg
Price:
£66,595 OTR/ £77,970 as tested

Usefulness. That’s why we’ve got a Discovery. Because we always need a car on the feet that can handle stuff. So obviously it’s been pressed into service immediately – bikes and dogs seemed a reasonable place to start. First impressions? There’s an awful lot of tech to negotiate: the towbar whirs in and out electrically, the seats lift and drop via buttons as well. Or an app on your phone, apparently. Haven’t quite fathomed the drop-down seat fap that replaces the split tailgate yet – how it works or the role it plays. Sometimes it lowers when you open the boot; sometimes it doesn’t…

Plenty of time for that. Introductions, then. This is a Discovery in top-line trim – a Td6 HSE Luxury, which, I’m almost ashamed to admit, costs £66,595 before you’ve added any options. These stack up to a further £11,375 (TV £880, Park Assist £935, massage seats £870, console fridge £235, etc). You can live without just about all of these when you get keyless, a 14- speaker Meridian sound system, LED headlights, air suspension, four-zone climate, rear-seat screens and leather as standard. Bit cheeky of Land Rover to demand you pay £110 extra for a pair of 12v chargers in the second row, but if it helps keep the kids’ iPads charged…

The new Disco is simply expensive. Five years ago, prices started at £36,785. Now £45,895 is the entry ticket, and that’s for a 2.0-litre 4cyl diesel. Step one trim up, and that’s another six grand. Land Rover used to be the affordable, utilitarian alternative to the more luxurious, stylish Range Rover, but these days the two seem much more closely aligned.

Say what you like about the styling, but it’s done a good job of making the Disco look smaller than it actually is. Up close, you’re aware of how much sheet metal is involved and just how enormous the rear doors are. They’re colossal. Inside, despite the standard twin sunroofs, it’s nothing like as light and airy as the old one. I miss that. And I’m already fed up with jibes about the offset number plate. But what’s key is whether the Disco still has the rugged, family-friendly qualities we know and love. Time for some tests.

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