Hello Land Rover Discovery
One of the vehicle brands I've always liked the idea of owning is Land Rover. Despite being a big fan of the Jeep Wrangler, in particular the TJ generation that I had many years ago, I have always been attracted to the iconic adventure/exploration image of Land Rover worldwide, something not shared by any other brand. What has always put me off is their other reputation, that of reliability or rather a lack of it. However some research suggested that all may not be what it seems when comparing the current vehicles to those even 10 years ago, despite what Internet commenters may think.
We ended up at the Land Rover dealership after initially trying out both a Volvo and an Audi. For various reasons we didn't pull the trigger on either and as we would be passing the Land Rover dealership on the way home it seemed reasonable to stop by.
Given these are expensive vehicles we initially tried out a Range Rover Evoque, the smallest vehicle they make but still a $60k purchase if you go crazy with the options list. I'd always liked the styling of the Evoque which looked like something from the future wen it initially launched, and with the 2nd generation now being available we decided to take one for a drive. I was however a little disappointed in the experience for a vehicle wearing the Range Rover badge, the ride quality was poor and the 4 cylinder turbocharged engine had significant lag off the line and sounded unrefined, characteristics shared by all such engines in my experience. The cargo space was also poor for the price, barely better than the Kia Soul we already had.
The salesman suggested we may want to try the Range Rover Velar as it would solve the space problem, but given it is simply a longer version of the Evoque the other issues remain. Being a larger vehicle the price also increases accordingly pushing over $65k easily so I passed on that.
I then noticed the current generation Land Rover Discovery, previous iterations of which I've always liked. This 5th incarnation is very different to the ones that came before it however. Gone were the flat surfaces and in came the curves, looking to all the world like most other SUV's out on the market. But I fell in love with the look of the front with its wide arches, wrap around lights and air intakes. It looks seriously wide and imposing. The rear is quite controversial featuring an offset licence plate, but I rather liked it. I wasn't so sure that the styling flowed correctly from the front to the back, it was almost like it was designed by different teams, but the only questionable part was the rear 3/4's which looked somewhat bulbous. You soon forget about this when you look inside however where the changes are even more drastic. Gone is the plasticky and square interior of the old model and in is an interior that wouldn't look out of place in any high end luxury car. The designers had clearly raided the Range Rover parts bin for practically everything they could get their hands on. Leather all over the dash and door cards, real metal accents, piano black finishes, ventilated and massaging seats, a screen instead of dash gauges, it just doesn't end. The Discovery has moved upmarket in a big way, it's practically a cut price Range Rover.
Opening the rear liftgate and you're faced with a cavernous cargo area, electrically folding seats (with even a third row) that all fold properly flat. And there is plenty of thoughtful storage throughout the cabin with an upper as well as lower glovebox, deep center console storage (optionally refrigerated), an additional hidden and deep storage area under the cupholders, a hidden area behind the dashboard HVAC controls, massive door bins for large bottles. You also get large door bins in the second row which can also make use of an upper and lower storage pocket on the back of the front seats, and even the third row gets hidden storage areas at shoulder height. There are bag hooks everywhere and additional net storage pockets plus the usual items like a sunglasses holder and visible storage cubby's in the dash.
is delivered in spades with excellent sound deadening, sound and UV
filtering glass as well as air ride suspension, electrically adjustable
seats in the first two rows, heated seats in all 3 rows with cooling
seats in the first two. All three rows also get their own air vents with
the second row getting independent adjustment for each side (so 4-zone
climate). The front row also gets massaging and memory options. Almost
everything can be electrically adjusted on the front seats, even the
headrests and how tightly the bolsters grip you. The only missing
adjustment I'd like to see is an extending front cushion. The airline
style adjustable wings on the headrests are a nice additional touch
though. There are some additional convenience features like a rear inner
tailgate that folds down and is carpeted so a nice seat for tailgating,
plus the vehicle will lower itself automatically to make getting in and
out easier (often a problem with SUV's) as well as for loading cargo
A diesel engine is available but we opted for the gas which is a 3.0L V6 with a supercharger generating 340HP and 332lbft of torque. Fuel economy is only 16 city, 21 highway but anecdotally we were seeing figures 2-3mpg better than that. In return for this thirst for (premium) fuel you can get to 60mpg in 6.9 seconds on your way to a top speed of 130mph. Those numbers are not amazing but that wasn't Land Rover's target for this vehicle, unlike its competitors though you can tow up to 8,200lbs which is better than anything other than a pickup truck (or pickup truck based SUV) and it comes with trailer stability control amongst other helpful towing features.
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