LAND Rover's luxury seven-seater Discovery line-up has gained a little extra momentum with the introduction of a powerful 306ps diesel-driven version designed to deliver outstanding performance combined with impressive economy.
Powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre diesel engine with a mighty 700Nm of torque the Discovery can complete a 0-60mph sprint in just 7.0 seconds and tops out at 130mph which is pretty impressive for a full-sized, three-row, seven seat SUV with unparalleled off-road ability and a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.
Land Rover has an ‘Above and Beyond' strapline and everything about the latest fifth generation Discovery compliments that slogan.
It may not look quite as imposing as the previous generation model did with its distinctive square rear end and split tailgate, but the latest Discovery is more powerful, more capable off-road, more comfortable and boasts all the latest on-board technology you could possibly wish for.
The vehicle looks sportier than its predecessor with the likes of a black contrast roof with black roof rails, panoramic sunroof, 21-inch gloss black alloy wheels, privacy glass, a dark coloured grille, a gloss black tailgate finisher, body-coloured door handles and Brunel Discovery script on the bonnet and tailgate.
It is more dynamic and athletically-styled and that old split tailgate has been replaced by a single opening with a rather clever fold-out bench that makes a handy perch for a coffee break.
The latest model has also shed the pounds weighing 480kg less than Discovery 4 models and that means improved performance and more frugal running costs. It can achieve a combined 28.3 to 31.6mpg with carbon emissions of 206g/km based on the new more stringent WLTP ratings.
Move inside and the interior is beautifully designed. Our test car, in range-topping HSE Luxury trim, featured Windsor leather seats with 16-way power adjustment, along with the likes of a 14-speaker Meridian surround sound system, a rear seat entertainment system with individual screens, a heated steering wheel, electrically reclining rear seats, powered third row seats, a 10-inch touchscreen plus plenty more besides. And, at last, Land Rover has fitted Apple CarPlay to its vehicles for full smartphone connectivity.
When it comes to performance, the Discovery ticks all the boxes. Despite its size, it's deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre around town with the Park Assist proving handy when squeezing into a parking space.
It's also a car that instantly responds with bursts of power for overtaking out on the B roads. It's happy cruising along eating up the motorway miles or powering through the country lanes where it fires through the beautifully timed eight-speed automatic gearbox. The road holding is assured and any signs of body sway are barely noticeable.
The Discovery is an incredibly comfortable vehicle that offers all the luxury expected from a premium full-sized SUV that's combined with every bit of Land Rover 4x4 expertise.
This is a car that will get you from A to B no matter what Mother Nature throws in your path. It can wade through water up to 900mm deep, lean at death defying angles, boasts 283mm ground clearance and features the company's Terrain Response 2 system which automatically makes off-roading a simple process even for inexperienced drivers.
Obviously, a family SUV needs to be practical and the Discovery is just that. The second and third rows of seats can be controlled at the press of a button (including dropping headrests for clearer visibility) and the storage options are impressive with a boot capacity ranging from 258 to 2,406 litres.
There's a good-sized double glovebox, cup holders, a central storage box and a hidden compartment behind the climate control console.
The Discovery is also one of the safest models on the fleet and the new SD6 version features some new systems including Clear Exit Detection which alerts the driver and passengers if vehicles, cyclists or other hazards are approaching from behind when exiting the vehicle.
In addition, the adaptive cruise control now includes Stop & Go to keep the car a predetermined distance behind the car in front. It can bring the Discovery to a complete standstill in heavy traffic and then move off again when things get moving again provided it's within three seconds.
These are just a couple of the seemingly endless list of safety features and driver aids on board the Discovery to help protect occupants and prevent accidents occurring in the first place.
After clocking up a few hundred miles in the Discovery, I concluded that it's a vehicle that's very difficult to find fault with.
Yes, the price of what was traditionally considered a workhorse has definitely crept up. Our model was £70,405 (£77,170 with options). But these days, the Discovery is a fully blown luxury SUV with all the very best off-road know-how thrown in making it one incredible all-rounder.