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A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age
A Discovery for the digital age

A Discovery for the digital age

Chris Russon, 2017-03-27

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GOLF bags have been replaced by iPads as the standard unit of convenience when it comes to the all-new Land Rover Discovery.

The fifth generation of the world's most capable SUV is the Discovery for the digital age.

It's a car packed with technology making it the ultimate vehicle for modern families who need to stay connected.

So instead of relating practicality to the number of golf clubs that can be carried - and there's enough room in the new Discovery to cater for the final cut in any Open championship - it's all about travel with tablets.

There's space for four full-sized iPads in the centre console, special mounts for two more on the back of the front seats, 12-volt power sockets for everyone on board, no less than nine USB ports throughout the cabin and a Wi-Fi with sufficient clout to serve eight handheld devices.

That's on top of Land Rover's InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with its 10-inch high definition touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard, a smartphone docking station and two more display screens for passengers in the middle row of the new Discovery's seven seat layout.

The new Discovery takes connectivity on the go to a new level but the high tech armoury is not solely for personal entertainment.

The car is bristling with some of the most advanced vehicle systems ever seen and those include devices to aid performance in all circumstances.

Air suspension and advanced stability control systems make it the best handling Discovery to date and it corners with surprising composure.

Off road it remains a champion and is fitted with Land Rover's latest Terrain Response system which now automatically configures the vehicle for optimum traction whatever the conditions.

It also has what Land Rover calls All Terrain Progress Control - best thought of as a specialist cruise control which pulls the vehicle at safe speeds over hazardous surfaces. Engage it on a snow covered country road and all the driver has to do is steer.

Going through water the new Discovery can now handle depths of up to 900mm - that's almost halfway up the body - and for added safety there are sensors which show what's happening to the vehicle on the display screen.

The towing limit is now a class leading 3.5 tonnes and even that aspect of motoring has been given the techno treatment enabling the Discovery to hitch up almost by magic using a camera system as a guide.

Reversing with a trailer can be done semi-autonomously using the rear view cameras to show trajectory lines on the display screen and steering the vehicle via the rotary Terrain Response button rather than by turning the steering wheel.

It makes such manoeuvres a cinch, even for novices in the art of articulated driving.

As all round activity vehicles go the new Discovery is without peers - a seven seater decked out in luxury but with genuine go-anywhere ability.

And for serious outdoor enthusiasts the car can be specified with Jaguar Land Rover's Activity Key - a weatherproof wristband which allows the vehicle to be secured while you're out in the wilds. Another option is a head up display projecting the vehicle's speed and navigation information into the driver's line of sight.

Remote control functions not only include hands-free operation of the tailgate - now a single piece upward opening hatch - but also a downloadable App with a myriad of uses ranging from pinpointing the vehicle in a car park to checking the service status and even folding down the seats to make way for large loads.

The seats can also be dropped and put back into place via a control panel mounted at the side of the boot.

And in a nod to fans of the split tailgate of earlier Discovery models the new one has a fold out flap which deploys as the boot is opened to become a handy picnic bench or a seat under cover for putting on boots.

On a more conventional front not only is every one of the seven seats adult sized but luggage capacity ranges from supermini proportions of 258 litres with all seats in use to 1,137 litres as a five seater.

Drop all five rear seats and there's a massive 2,406 litres of space available - as big as a van and by my reckoning enough to carry nearly 1,500 iPads.

Onboard storage includes a chilled centre console, a double glovebox and even a hidden compartment behind the air conditioning controls in the dashboard.

This has to be the most complete family vehicle ever to be seen and already more than 25,000 people have ordered one.

Most are going for the 2.0-litre, 240 horsepower diesel Sd4 version powered by Land Rover's homegrown Ingenium engine and priced from £43,495 to £62,695 in top grade HSE Luxury trim.

It's good for 0 to 60 in eight seconds, tops out at 121mph comes with a super smooth eight speed automatic gearbox and has an official fuel return of 43.5mpg with emissions of 189g/km.

We tried it on and off the road around Land Rover's legendary proving ground at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, saw an average of 37 to the gallon and every aspect impressed.

It betters the flagship Range Rover of not so many years ago and puts Land Rover SUVs at the top of the pile.

With the car built at Land Rover's factory in Solihull, the engines produced in Wolverhampton and the technology all developed in the UK it bodes very well for British engineering as Brexit gets under way.

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