By Mike Torpey on 2017-12-02 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Land Rover Discovery
Td6 HSE Luxury
THE perfect all-round family car may once have been a mid-size hatchback from a volume manufacturer, but times have changed.
There's a new principal on the podium and it's cool, connected and - with all the high class extras added on - quite costly.
Enter the new fifth generation Land Rover Discovery, arguably the best vehicle yet to emerge from the Solihull stable and as adept cruising the lanes and motorways of Britain as it is squelching through mud and clambering over rocks.
But while the latest Disco has enough hardware to interest NASA, the traditional stuff may not now necessarily be the model's greatest selling point.
That's because the Discovery has gone digital in a major way, now coming choc-a-block with a dizzying amount of digital tech for the modern family on the move.
That means room for four iPads in the centre console, mounts for two more on the back of the front seats, 12-volt power sockets for everyone on board, nine USB ports and enough Wi-Fi to connect eight handheld devices.
And if that's still not enough then there's the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with 10-inch touchscreen in the dash, another pair of screens for middle row passengers and a smartphone docking station.
Lower slung and longer than before, the new Discovery is now a full seven seater, can tow up to 3.5 tonnes, has more ground clearance and can wade through 900mm of water.
Each of the seven seats can accommodate an adult and luggage capacity ranges from a limited 258 litres with all the seats in use to 1,137 litres as a five seater. Drop the lot though and a cavernous 2,406 litres opens up.
Buyers have a choice of a 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel engine developing 240bhp and the tested Td6 V6 unit with 258bhp on tap. There's also a fiery V6 petrol variant.
The six-cylinder diesel works extremely well in a vehicle that's so smooth it feels like you're floating through molten Galaxy (the chocolate one that is).
This really is a superb car to drive, and with slinky movie star looks it's a far cry from the more boxy Discos of old.
Solid performance is assured, the eight-speed automatic transmission seamless and over the course of 300 miles of mixed urban, motorway and mountain driving the Land Rover returned a reasonable 30.2 miles per gallon.
Go for the top notch HSE Luxury trim, with its associated tab of £64,195, and you can stretch out for a massage in Espresso Latte coloured perforated leather seats with ivory panelling plus a lengthy list of standard goodies.
They include a chilled centre console, a double glovebox and even a hidden compartment behind the air-con controls in the dashboard.
Ideal for a drive into the rough stuff - where the Disco's Terrain Response system now automatically sets up the vehicle for optimum traction.
It also has specialist cruise control which pulls the vehicle at safe speeds over hazardous surfaces, to the point that on a snow covered road all the driver has to do is steer.
Land Rover Discovery Td6 HSE Luxury
Mechanical: 258bhp, 3.0-litre 6-cylinder turbodiesel engine driving four wheels via eight-speed automatic transmission
Max Speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 7.7 seconds
Combined MPG: 39.2
Insurance Group: 42
C02 emissions: 189g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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