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Land Rover Discovery — long-term review

Disco earns its stripes. At last

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

For the first time, the Discovery has been working hard this month. That’s not to say it’s lived the life of Riley over the last few months: it’s carried people, driven off-road and so on, but each time, a caveat.

The electric seats make it a hassle to get anyone into row three, the 21-inch diamond turned wheels are too pristine to clout through clag, and the InControl TouchPro system is a disaster. I threw the last one in there because it needs mentioning. Again. Also fuel economy is almost exactly 3.5mpg worse than it says on the display (come on Land Rover, you’re better than that).

But on this? It shone. This was a five-day adventure to France. It began with a happy coincidence: just as I was thinking about giving the Nomad a proper adventure, Alpine said we could drive the new A110 in Provence. About 50 miles from Mont Ventoux. Cogs whirred, calls happened, something clicked and what transpired was me towing the Nomad to Provence, leaving car on trailer to be pored over by Alpine’s fascinated engineers and using the Disco as the support car for last month’s Alpine feature on the Col de Turini. Then returning the Alpine, picking up the trailer and heading to Mont Ventoux.

It wasn’t just that the Discovery towed effortlessly, it was that its behaviour gave me huge confidence in everything it did. It’s now wearing smaller wheels with Pirelli Scorpion winter tyres, plus the roof bars I mentioned last month. Together they give the car a different visual identity, and with it a less precious feel.

I know if we’d used Jack’s SQ7 or an XC90 to do the job, it would have coped. But the Discovery shone. It proved that at its heart it knows how to work hard. It was rigged with cameras, towed 800 miles in a single bound, was a mobile editing suite, emergency shelter when the mercury dipped to 15 below (heated steering wheel helped restore life to fingers numbed by Nomad or shutter pressing). It carried spare wheels, lighting rigs, axle stands. And for five days it just… did what it should do. Never buckled or complained. Stamped its authority on every situation. In other words, it’s a genuine Discovery. It gives me so much pleasure to be able to write that.

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