There is something almost unnerving about the off-roading capability of Land Rover’s latest Discovery, like the feeling of being in the presence of a supermodel. It is simply breath-taking.
Cocking its leg like a terrier on a fence post when crawling over rocks and boulders, its weight distribution and structural architecture mean that it is seemingly as comfortable on three wheels as it is four. It belittles gravity-defying gradients, maintaining control and composure far past that of its operator. And it does all this while being able to carry seven adults.
It even has time to consider the environment, with the award-winning twin-turbo Sd4 Ingenium four-cylinder diesel engine managing a fuel economy of 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 171g/km – a remarkable feat given that the Discovery’s late cousin, the Defender, was widely implicated as the sole cause of shrinking glaciers.
It belittles gravity-defying gradients, maintaining control and composure far past that of its operator
“This Discovery will offer customers the most complete all-round SUV package available anywhere today,” says Jaguar Land Rover UK Managing Director Jeremy Hicks. “The new vehicle takes absolutely everything that is great about Discovery – its design, its versatility, its go anywhere, do anything credentials – and builds on them to make it better in every way.”
While the Discovery is more than capable of excelling on and off the road, on the school-run or in the shooting field, it is only when pushed beyond the point of common sense that you realise what these vehicles are capable of, and how unfazed they are by mud, water, extreme angles and everyday physics. Little wonder the Discovery has attracted more than 1.2 million customers over the last 27 years.
As I raise the ground clearance to ford a surging stream – easily done given that it has a maximum wading depth of 900mm – I can’t help but muse on how many of these remarkable features will never be deployed by their owner, unaware that at the touch of a button they have the ability to drive the length of the Scottish Highlands as the crow flies, if they so wish. It is, by all accounts, a remarkable feat of engineering.
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