This Land Rover knows where it belongs
A relatively new phenomenon, the latest Land Rover Discovery has a pretty strong tradition. Disco has been on the market for 30 since that first as a slab-sided 4x4 filled the gap between the original Landy, then just reinvented as Defender, and the Range in 1989.
Series II pitched up in '98, the cool and even more squared-off Tonka Toy-like Discovery 3 came in ‘04 and that was replaced by the rather mute Disco 4, which hung around for a while. This fifth generation Discovery now keeps that cool and capable cool 4x4 tradition steaming on, even though it now takes the nameplate in a different direction.
From the rear, it’s still clearly a Disco, but the front end is pretty sleek and contemporary as Land Rover stems the tide between softer rivals like X5, Q8 and GLE, making this one sharper. Rest assured however, it’s still very much a Discovery.
Certainly a 4x4 at heart, while those so-called rivals are, as BMW calls it, Sport Activity Vehicles – pumped up all-wheel drive performance station wagons, perhaps more at home on the Nordscheife than tackling a seemingly impossible Amazon bog or Sahara sand drift. This thing will still churn on through all that as though it was not even there, where its newfangled car-like rivals may struggle and scratch themselves.
It’s the converse on the other hand however, as Disco still seems to be searching for mud on the road – it’s less dynamic on the turnpike or the col than that X5 or Cayenne, but when it finds that mud, nothing this luxurious or trick will come anywhere near — especially in this more downspec variant with smaller wheels and much more high profile rubber to work the gravel and mud even better.
The only difference this time around is that Discovery is just as cool and sophisticated, tech packed and capable and anything that dare call itself a rival. Never mind that it performs well and this diesel is surprisingly economical too — especially versus its albeit quicker, but for more gluttonous petrol kin.
All of which goes to prove that you still really cannot have your SUV cake and eat it - there will always be horses for courses and this mink & manure Disco certainly knows its place. - Michele Lupini
Images - Michele Lupini
ROAD TEST: Land Rover Discovery SE TD6
Engine: 190kW 500Nm 3-litre turbodiesel V6
Drive: 8-speed automatic 4x4
0-60km/h 3.57 sec
0-100km/h: 8.40 sec
0-160km/h 22.63 sec
400m: 16.0 sec @ 130km/h
80-120km/h: 6.23 sec
120-160 sec 10.72 sec
CO2: 168 g/km
Auto Bakkie Race has revised its Rating System to deliver a more versatile 1-10 score. Over the past few years, very few cars tested have ever scored less than 75% in our system and hardly any more than 95%. The ABR Rating works in a 1 to 10 system, where 1 represents a traditional score of 75% or less and 10 is 95% or more.
Auto Bakkie Race road tests all cars using state of the art Racelogic VBox test equipment, both at coastal altitude or at the Reef. All cars are tested starting at the same point on the same test road in all tests. Reef tests are differentiated by (1500m ASL). Where we have tested both sides, both sets of figures are published. Coastal acceleration data most often delivers quicker results die to the higher oxygen content of air at lower altitudes.