WITH a backdrop of some of America's wildest scenery Land Rover has launched the all new Discovery.
Dubbed the cool car for cool families, the fifth generation of the legendary off-roader is as high tech as it's heavy duty.
In the historic lands of the Navajo Nation, Land Rover's latest SUV journeyed through spectacular canyons in the Zion National Park in southern Utah, crossed deserts in Arizona and climbed to snowfields on the Kaibab Plateau almost 10,000 feet above sea level.
It was a 400 mile expedition typical of any Land Rover but in the new Discovery done with a remarkable degree of comfort whatever the terrain.
The new Discovery has to be the finest adventure vehicle in the world and takes the model's 27-year-old legend to a new level.
You have to cast your mind back to the original of 1989, then regarded as a game changer, to see how amazing this vehicle has become.
Longer, narrower and lower than before, the new Discovery retains classic style traits such as the stepped roofline but is now a full seven seater, has a one piece tailgate and can tow up to 3.5 tonnes.
It has more ground clearance, can wade through 900mm of water and with air suspension standard across the range the ride height can be varied through 135mm with a wheel articulation of an incredible half a meter.
No other family vehicle can match it and the new Discovery has an armoury of clever electronics to make it even more capable.
Land Rover's latest Terrain Response system flatters even the most inexperienced of off-road drivers while the new model is also fitted with All Terrain Progress Control which automatically pulls it through the harshest of conditions.
Luggage space is massive ranging for 1,137 to 2,406 litres and even with all seven seats in play there is as much space as you get in an average supermini.
All five rear seats have Isofix child seat fittings, are power operated on top grade models and can even be folded away by remote control from a smartphone App.
The tailgate is electronic, there is a retractable picnic seat that can take the weight of two adults and a plethora of storage spaces throughout the cabin.
Even the ‘curry hook' - a touch of Land Rover ingenuity going back two decades to hold a bag securely in the front passenger footwell - is now telescopic.
And for the modern family where connectivity on the go is a must, there are no less than nine USB ports serving all three seating areas, four 12-volt power sockets and a Wi-Fi hook up for up to eight devices.
If ever a car had the lot then this is it and the Discovery is now blurring the Land Rover lines blending limousine luxury with everyday practicality.
Interior refinement and comfort is top class, the ride much improved on and off the road and the new Discovery can be had with a choice of three engines - two diesel and one petrol.
In the UK the line up will kick off with a 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine developing 240ps which is enough to give the lightweight new Discovery (it weighs in 480kg less than before) plenty of performance and much better fuel economy.
Crossing the flatlands surrounded by the Grand Staircase Escalante in the wildest parts of the Wild West we recorded an impressive average of 46 to the gallon, exceeding the official fuel figure of 43.5mpg without effort.
The Ingenium engine has emissions of 171g/km and will be available right across the new Discovery range priced from Â£43,495 to Â£62,695 - similar prices to the Mk 4 model.
The other diesel used in the new Discovery is a development of the tried and tested Td6 V6 engine with 258ps on tap. It feels more refined and gutsy but proved thirstier returning an average of 28mpg on our drive compared to the official rating of 39.2.
The quickest - and most expensive - of the lot is the V6 petrol variant which is priced from Â£52,495 and tops out at Â£65,695 in HSE Luxury trim.
With a 0 to 60 time of 6.9 seconds it has plenty of performance but comes in at just 26mpg with emissions of 256g/km. We saw 19mpg overall and just eight to the gallon while doing some dune bashing.
Yet that is what has always made the Discovery so incredible - a vehicle which can handle everything, switching from motorway cruising to crossing the desert at the push of a button.
All have eight speed auto boxes allied to a full set of low ratio gears and even the 2.0-litre SD4 Ingenium Discovery can make 0 to 60 in eight seconds.
This is a car which can morph from all terrain master to luxury steed in a way the Discovery has never done before.
Such is the lure of this new Disco diva that already 4,000 have signed up in Britain, 20,000 across the world - and that's before any have driven it. If our American adventure is anything to go by, they're on to a winner.