Land Rover Discovery

Td6 HSE Auto

Land Rover Discovery, front static 2
Land Rover Discovery, side static
Land Rover Discovery, rear static
Land Rover Discovery, side static 2
Land Rover Discovery, front static 2
Land Rover Discovery, dashboard
Land Rover Discovery, dash detail
Land Rover Discovery, boot 2
Land Rover Discovery, boot 3
Land Rover Discovery, rear seats
Land Rover Discovery, front seats
Land Rover Discovery, boot

THERE must be a factory somewhere working flat out making small electric motors for Land Rover, there are so many of them hidden all over the latest Discovery.

This vast - and properly spacious full seven seater SUV - really doesn't want an owner to expend energy operating anything on this 2.2 tonnes giant.

Buyers of posher motors expect the front seats to whirr away at their command but finding the middle row does too is a surprise.

But it's as nothing to the now-you-see-them, now-you-don't antics of the two adult-sized seats in row three. A real case of automotive one upmanship (and one downmanship too, of course).

Add in a powered tailgate and even a (powered, of course) panel that folds down to make a two-person perch under an opened boot and there are enough motors to make an electrician jealous.

That the resulting car is rather a lot lighter than the Discovery that went before - and is mourned by many for its handsomely honest looks - is something of an achievement, with lots of added aluminium helping out.

Still feels big and chunky, though. Wider and heavier than a Range Rover but more versatile too, thanks to that third row of seats.

It does seems to shrink around you as the miles mount and you gain confidence in placing its extremities in tight spots. Sitting up high lets you plan ahead as well as peer into otherwise hidden front gardens as you pass.

It really is all about space in this new Discovery, with enough hidden cubbies to keep border security busy for hours. Fold down rows two and three seats and the resulting boot space wouldn't shame a delivery van.

Not that there's anything even vaguely van-like about driving a Discovery, whose diesel engine sinks into a distant hum at any speed and propels the car with a proper shove if provoked.

A dash reading of 36mpg after a varied 500 miles was, I reckon, a very decent result considering the bulk the V6 engine has to move along, via a smooth shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Sophisticated air suspension can be raised for off-road work (but, you guess, hardly ever will be) and does a good job of smoothing out the bumps on a typical British road surface.

The big alloy wheels patter a bit on rougher surfaces but it's still 'a car you could go along way in,' as the Navigator-in-Chief put it.

While you're en route there will be time to take in the plethora of standard fittings that come with HSE trim in a Disco. They range from a crisply drawn sat nav system via 380 watts of Meridian sound to leather trim, rear view camera, panoramic sunroof and a tailgate opened with a well placed kick gesture beneath the rear of the car.

FAST FACTS

Land Rover Discovery Td6 HSE Auto

Price: £61,335

Mechanical: 254bhp, 2,993cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 8.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 39.2

Insurance Group: 41

C02 emissions: 189g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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