WITH staycations very much the norm at the moment having the right vehicle for a week-long break at the coast has never been more important.
And that is definitely the case if there are two adults, one energetic cockerpoo, all the necessary holiday stuff, plus an inflatable kayak to transport.
Thankfully, I was driving the latest Land Rover Discovery costing £67,290 (£75,120 with options) and although the rear two seats in this seven-seater were not needed on this occasion, the huge boot was and it was packed to the brim.
Powering the vehicle was Land Rover's 3.0-litre diesel Ingenium engine feature 48-volt mild hybrid technology for added efficiency. With 300PS and 650Nm of torque, the performance figures are impressive with a 0-62mph sprint time of 6.5 seconds and top speed of 130mph.
According to official figures, under stricter WLTP testing, the Discovery can deliver a combined 33.9mpg with carbon emissions from 218g/km.
When approached from any angle, the Discovery looks indestructible with its chunky new-look bumpers, a more distinctive grille, LED headlight clusters with signature daytime running lights and LED rear lights. There is a black contrast roof, privacy glass, 21-inch alloys and lots of R-Dynamic badging.
The interior is bright, spacious and very modern in its layout with a wealth of on-board technology to explore. Getting comfy is a simple process with 14-way powered front seats that offer excellent levels of support. In addition, seats in rows one, two and three can be heated.
The main focal point is the new 11.4-inch Pivi Pro infotainment screen which is faster than its predecessor and also receives over-the-air software updates to stay bang up to date.
Creature comforts are plentiful and include the likes of full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, sat nav with 3D mapping, 4G wi-fi hotspot with connection points for up to eight devices, a pitch perfect sound system and a 12.3-inch interactive driver display screen behind the steering wheel.
When it comes to performance, the Discovery is a beautiful cruiser that eats up the motorway miles for fun. It is well balanced through the country lanes with nicely weighted steering along with a well-timed gearbox.
There are steering wheel mounted paddles for added driver engagement along with drive modes called Eco and Comfort, along with off-road settings for Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud ruts, Sand, Rock crawl, Wade and Configurable. The gear lever can also be switched across to introduce a Sport mode too which livens up the responses even further.
The driver visibility is good, and it's a bonus that the head rests in the second row can be folded forward when not in use to offer a clear view through the rear screen. Another bonus is the elevated driving position, especially when navigating narrow country lanes, as it offers a good view over the hedgerows to spot oncoming vehicles.
Storage options are excellent with a boot that can swallow 258 litres of kit with seven seats occupied. This increases to a whopping 2,485 litres if just the front seats are in use. And there are plenty of storage compartments scattered throughout the vehicle, including cup holders, door bins, a deep central cubby box, a twin glovebox, a wireless charging pad that was a £300 option, plus a secret compartment that is tucked away behind the climate control panel.
When you factor in the comprehensive list of safety features on the Discovery, which helped it achieve a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and its undeniable off-road prowess, this really is the ideal companion for any adventure at the coast.