When you buy yourself a new jacket, it’s nice to know that it’s capable of keeping you warm in dry in the most extreme of conditions. Even if the likelihood of us ever being in need of that kind of protection from the elements it’s almost seen as a benchmark for quality. If some arctic explorer thinks that a certain coat is good enough for their expedition then it’s certainly going to be good enough for a walk with the dogs round the local park right?
When it comes to cars I think a lot of us go by that same logic, we like to know that the car we drive has been built to withstand a whole manor of extreme situations but in reality our biggest concerns are likely to be whether (or not) there will be enough room in the back for the inevitable trip to Ikea that often get out of hand. I think it is one of the reasons that we seem to be favouring much larger cars more now than ever before.
The fifth generation Land Rover Discovery has just been launched and is billed (not surprisingly) as their best yet. Last week I was invited down to the very picturesque Herefordshire countryside where I was handed the keys by Land Rover to one of the new Discovery’s and tasked with putting the beautiful beast well and truly through its paces.
How does it look?
The new incarnation of the popular Land Rover Discovery model comes with a slightly softer look than before with more rounded corners and more refined chassis. Due to its size though it still maintains the presence and wow factor that we associate with a Discovery. To the rear the cars number plate is offset from the centre which I will admit looks a little odd at first but it something that I seemed to warm to the more it caught my eye.
The interior has definitely come up a notch (or three) from the previous model and this time seems to have a far more luxurious feel to it. For the first time ever all of the cars seats (even those right at the very back) offer all the ‘luxury’ functions like a heated seat option. There’s also plenty of places to charge up your devices with a whopping 9 USB ports and 6 12V charging points dotted around the vehicle, and with built-in Wi-Fi capable of running 8 devices at once that’s good news.
The only thing that I didn’t really like inside the car was the display on the Sat Nav/entertainment screen. Don’t get my wrong it works perfectly well but I found the display a little fussy and dated looking. I would have preferred if this had been a little more ‘clean’.
Going Off Road
For the days drive the base was Eastnor Castle, the home of the Land Rover Experience. A fantastic centre where you can try out some of the Land Rover range on over 60 miles of track across 5000 acres. The sprawling facility has been created with these cars in mind and provides a mixed selection of challenging course and drives to not only test the cars but also the drivers.
I’d never went properly off-road before so was really looking forward to hitting some of the (beginner to intermediate) tracks. At first impression some of them seemed pretty daunting but with the Discovery placed into auto mode the car does most of the driving for you leaving you to control just the steering and try to avoid hitting any trees or obstacles! Even on some of Eastnors steepest and muddiest slopes the car’s control as it made its way up and down was quite remarkable.
When it comes to facing the challenge of flooded roads you can increase the ride height of the car to give you some extra clearance too. The display screen will also let you know the water level and advise of how high you can safely go without causing any damage.
It may be quite unlikely that most of us would face any of these extreme conditions in everyday life but just to know the car can deal with them with such ease is pretty cool. Just in case!
The all-new Discovery is priced from £43,995