ONCE upon a time the Land Rover Discovery was considered a poor man's Range Rover. Not these days.
With current prices - and the degree of luxury - overlapping the Range Rover Sport, the big SUV has its own identity and its own loyal following.
The Discovery 5 combines limo-like refinement with the rugged go-anywhere capability of a military vehicle, despite a slight decrease in ground clearance.
For the majority of owners, its four-wheel-drive endeavours will be of purely academic interest. Of more significance will be its driveability on country lanes, A-roads and motorways or just pottering around town.
And it is here that the new model introduced earlier this year really comes into its own. Lighter and stiffer, it has nimbleness that had previously been out of reach to the large seven-seater.
The ride achieves a near-perfect compromise between firm damping and good absorption of bumps and potholes. Nothing short of a bomber carter is likely to unsettle it.
And despite its tall stance, cornering is relatively roll-free and precise with piles of grip. A tight steering rack with plenty of road-feel helps add to the Discovery's dynamic ability.
There is a choice of engines but cream of the crop is the 3.0 turbo-diesel TD6. With its smooth flow of power, wide torque band and muted mechanical noise it is the ideal partner to civilised, long distance luxury transport.
An eight-speed automatic gearbox makes easy work of heavy traffic situation and on the open road when you can press on the changes are fluid and barely noticeable.
You don't buy a large car like a Discovery unless space is important to you. And the latest model gives you just that - in spade loads.
Passenger room is generous up front, and more surprisingly the two rear rows of seats also provide realistically spacious accommodation. Unlike some rivals, full-sized adults can sit comfortably in the final row.
The sumptuous, leather covered seats are large and generally comfortable but I felt the squabs of those in the front were a tad short for a long-legged driver or passenger.
Luggage room is cavernous with two seat rows occupied and of plantecnicon proportions when the second row is folded down.
With a price tag of more than £64,000 for the HSE Luxury version, you have a right to expect a high level of equipment...and you get just that.
Heated front seats, electric sliding sunroof, surround camera system and full climate control are all standard features.
But there are still extras to be had, and head-up driver's display will set you back Â£1,035 while adding heated rear seats will cost another Â£535.
For such a large vehicle with a good turn of speed - 62mph comes up in less than eight seconds - economy is reasonably good. My average over 500 miles was 34mpg, which corresponds with official combined average of 39.2mpg.