We Drive: The new Land Rover Discovery HSE TD6

Enhanced design and luxury for the HSE Land Rover Discovery…

We South Africans love our outdoor activities and for many of us it is a way of life. Mountain passes, forests, coastal towns and off-roading adventure is what makes us tick, and the vehicles we choose to get to our bucket-list destinations are of big importance. Yes, there are tonnes of crossovers and other SUVs in the local market that are now capable of tackling the odd bit of gravel or uneven terrain, but there are still those die-hard adventurers who want an SUV that is big on size, big on capability, yet still big on comfort and luxury.

We spent a week getting to know the new Land Rover Discovery HSE TD6 Automatic that comes with best-in-class comfort, tonnes of luxury features and of course, Land Rover’s stand-out spirit of adventure from its off-roading capabilities.

What you can expect from the new Discovery

The new Land Rover Discovery makes a big and bold appearance on the road with much bigger dimensions than its predecessor. A good looking front face that highlights its muscular build and sporty personality maintains its iconic Land Rover design, while styling at the rear is arguably less so. I find that styling at the back is somewhat heavier and that’s most likely due to the extra length that Land Rover has added to this 7-seater SUV.

The new Discovery’s cabin might not be as glam as the new Velar, but it still has loads of prestige! High quality finishes and luxury soft-touch surfaces all around complement its extremely comfortable seating, particularly upfront. There is excellent use of space for all passengers – I (and my passengers) were really impressed with the amount of leg and arm room in the middle row – I imagine that friends and families on long road trips would be quite happy settling in here. I love that the third row of seats is still comfortable for adults and doesn’t feel like its been an afterthought designed for small children.

There is also loads of storage space (which you’d expect from such a large SUV) and Land Rover has listened to its customers who might have found it predecessor somewhat lacking in sufficient storage space. It has two glove boxes – one where you’d expect it to be, with another just above it (I hadn’t realised it until a co-driver pointed it out), and a massive storage box between the seats. There are loads of other secret compartments in the cabin too. The front cup holders can slide inwards (when not in use) to reveal another storage compartment underneath it, while another hidden unit is built behind the aircon function unit to hide things like your wallet or cellphone.

Discovery’s connectivity comes in the form of a high-quality 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that features ‘Plug and Play’ using USB ports that act as additional storage for movies and music. Bluetooth and Navigation is standard on the HSE model and there are charging points for multiple devices. Using the USB ports to charge your phone is super effective – your phone fully charges at the same rate that it would if you charge it via its original phone charger.

More adventure

Now for the die-hard off-roaders, (and this is where the new Discovery excels), the new Discovery has Land Rover capability at its heart. Its optional Terrain Response 2 system monitors driving conditions and automatically selects the driving modes to give the best possible chassis and powertrain set up for the driving conditions. There is tonnes of power from its 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine which offers 190kW of power and 600Nm of torque (which is great for crawling over rocks and extreme conditions) while Land Rover claims a tow rating of 3 500 kg if you have an electrically deployed towbar fitted to your unit.

Also read: Rock climbing with Land Rover’s Explore mobile phone 

The HSE Luxury model comes with standard air suspension which enables you to lower or raise the vehicle’s height – which is great for loading and offloading heavy items, or in my case to avoid hitting the ceilings of parking lots! It also helps absorb all the lumps and bumps in the road.

Driving in every day conditions

Driving in small suburbs and congested cities can take some getting used to in the large SUV. It has a wide turning circle and can feel pretty bulky in parking lots and narrow roads, but once you’re used to it, it is easily managed and I suspect that those in the market for a large 7-seater SUV are probably not going to be spending a lot of time in the city. Despite its high ride height, it doesn’t feel as top-heavy as its predecessor and you get an excellent view of your surroundings with barely any blind spot. I suppose you could say that it feels a lot more like you’re driving a Range Rover. One certainly feels confident and safe wherever you drive in the new Discovery – other drivers tend to give you right of way in traffic as soon as they see you indicating to move into their lane. Bonus.

Conclusion and pricing

If you’re looking for a luxury 7-seater SUV with impressive off road capabilities and the Land Rover badge appeal, the Discovery is a worthy consideration, especially if off-roading is something you want to do more of in your own car.

The Land Rover Discovery starts at R985 700 for the base model, while our test unit (the HSE TD6 Automatic) is priced from R1 272 700.

Fuel efficiency: Claimed at 7.8-litres/100km.