The new Land Rover Discovery was last night unveiled ahead of the Paris Motor Show 2016. Recombu Cars was there – here are 10 things you need to know about the new SUV.
Motoring journalists at the Paris Motor Show currently have their eyes on the new Land Rover Discovery, but its first glimpse was offered in Birmingham – not far from where it has produced its vehicles since 1949, in fact.
The event was suitably Jaguar Land Rover, as in, very grand and very surreal. It was bizarre enough watching adventurer and all-round nutter Bear Grylls descend from a helicopter, let alone the fact he then slid down a rope from a Guinness World Record-breaking Lego structure of London Bridge made from more than 5,800,000 individual bricks.
Luckily the new Discovery itself is more interested in being practical than ridiculous. So we thought what better way to celebrate its launch than by giving you 10 of the more interesting (we hope) facts about it.
1) More than a quarter of a century went into it
27. That is how many years the Discovery name has been going, believe it or not. Back in 1987, company bigwigs gave the go-ahead to something called ‘Project Jay’, which resulted in the Land Rover Discovery 1 two years later. Since then, we have seen various facelifts, re-jigs and revamps, including the legendary Camel edition, bringing us to the fifth-generation Discovery and a total of more than 1.2 million sales worldwide.
2) The development time was lengthy
Obviously a company that prides itself on off-road vehicles spends a lot of time proving to the world its vehicles are up for the task. No wonder, then, the new Discovery saw 35,000 components tested and was driven more than 1 million miles across more than 20 countries, with 294 development vehicles used along the way. The lowest temperature it was subjected to was –35 degrees Celsius in snowy Sweden, while the highest was 50 degrees Celsius in Dubai. British weather should, therefore, be an absolute doddle in comparison.
3) Technological convenience was a big focus
Car manufacturers like to outdo each other in the technology stakes and so can you blame Land Rover for making the new Discovery quite so gadget friendly? The fact is, with 4G WiFI for up to eight devices, up to nine USB charging ports, up to six 12v sockets, dual-view 10-inch display, Apple Watch and Android Wear connectivity in the form of an app and the ability to make an automatic SOS call in the event of a crash, few cars are as tech savvy. Shame the new Discovery won’t remind you to bring along a charging cable, though. Meanwhile the new Activity Key fob used to enter and exit the car without keys is a wristband that can go underwater up to 30 metres so there is no need to worry about breaking it if you fall in your swimming pool after a night on Tom Collins (the drink).
4) You can control it with a smart watch
Speaking of technology, one of the coolest features of the seven-seater Land Rover Discovery is the ability to control it with a smart watch. Not James Bond level of control where you can drive it round a car park while evading bad guys, but you can at least adjust the seats before you even get in the vehicle, as well as check the fuel level, lock and unlock the doors and even find where it is located in a car park – just in case you forgot where you left it.
5) There is a Discovery First Edition model
The first 2,400 customers (600 in the UK) who want a really well-specced Discovery can go for the First Edition model, which comes with bespoke details such as aluminium trim on the dashboard, 21-inch alloy wheels, contrast roof and a unique motif in the form of an etched map to celebrate its British design and engineering credentials. It is more pricey, as we will get to in a minute, but once gone that will be it.
6) Personalisation is a big thing
Having a bog-standard paint job is no longer enough for customers. Instead, the new Discover comes with a range of personalisation options including 18 exterior colours (Namib Orange is easily the loudest), 14 alloy wheel designs (up to 22 inches in size and there is an aero wheel for reducing drag), seven material finishes for the interior and five interior colour combinations such as Ebony and Glacier. So at least the chance of your car looking identical to another is minimised.
7) It has a frugal side
Big off-roaders are never going to win you any eco-minded friends, but at least the new Discovery tries to keep Mother Nature somewhat happy. Thanks to the 2.0-litre Ingenium Td4 with 180PS, it can manage up to 47.1mpg (so the company claims) and CO2 emissions of 159g/km. By using 85 per cent aluminium for the monocoque, Land Rover was able to save 480kg, making it stronger and more economical. But for those who just want to see the world melt, you can go for a less frugal 340PS Si6 V6 petrol that manages 26mpg and CO2 emissions of 254g/km. You evil polar bear killer, you.
8) It can off-road with the best of them
You may only ever drive up a kerb but it is nice to know you could wade through water 900mm in depth, drive down a very steep gravel hill or in snow – all achieved with Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system and without you having to touch a single button. For the really tricky stuff, the new Discovery can be specced with a Twin-Speed transmission that features an electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch that provides a torque biasing function (100 per cent to the front and rear if needed) and a centre differential lock. Think lots and lots of grip exactly when you need it.
9) It can tow, tow, tow your boat
One way to justify a big SUV is if you ever have to tow anything because it is a strong point. In the case of the Discovery Sport, it can pull 3,500kg (even as much as 3,720kg in its NAS specification), which in technical terms is ‘a big trailer’. The tow bar is hidden away when out of use and is deployable using a button. When in use, there is an Advanced Tow Assist mode for helping you perform tricky reversing manoeuvres (and avoid a pesky jack knife situation). No need to even worry about the steering – it does all that for you.
10) It costs this much
An entry-level Discovery S costs £43,495, rising to £62,695 for the top-spec HSE Luxury. The new Discover First Edition costs £68,295 and for that you get the 258PS TD6 automatic diesel capable of 39.2mpg, 130mph top speed and 443lb/ft of torque. The new Discovery will go on sale in the spring of 2017 so plenty of time for us to test whether it really is ‘the best family SUV in the world’.