The redesigned Land Rover Discovery for 2017 is the fifth generation of the midsize luxury SUV from the British carmaker, omitting the numeric suffix of the previous two versions.
Seating for five is standard, with accommodations for seven full size adults possible with an optional two-position third row.
Four models are available: SE, HSE, HSE luxury, and first edition. Prices range from $49,990-$58,950, with lots of packages and options available.
A 340-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged gasoline V-6 engine is available for all models, and a 254-horsepower 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 is offered for the HSE and the HSE luxury models. Selecting the diesel engine increases the base price by $2,000.
All models have an eight-speed automatic transmission with all-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case with active locking center differential, terrain response, and dynamic stability control.
Terrain response helps the driver customize the vehicle’s systems to match the demands of the terrain – everyday, grass/gravel/snow, mud and ruts, sand, and rock crawl – using a knob on the center console. Dynamic stability control includes cornering brake control, hill descent control, gradient acceleration control, and hill launch assist.
Discovery is distinguished by an Atlas grille (two silver honeycomb bars, offset Land Rover badge) with glossy narvik black surround, body-color door handles with Noble (silver) surrounds, LED headlights with LED signature and auto high beam assist, signature high-line taillights, and “DISCOVERY” script on the hood and tailgate.
Beneath the tailgate badge, the license frame and the oval Land Rover badge are offset to the left and right, respectively. Power folding, heated door mirrors feature Discovery silhouette approach/puddle lights.
The LED headlight signature sweeps from high to low across the lower headlight housing, for a wide-eyed look. The taillights sit high on the tailgate and rear quarter, flush with the body, surrounded by gloss black, which crosses the tailgate to join the taillights. The lights are horizontal with red lights surrounding white backup/signal lights.
Gloss Black trims the rear spoiler, A, B, and D pillars, the shark fin antenna, the edge of the mirror housing and the mirror arm, the silver DISCOVERY branded faux vents on the front quarters, the headlight surround, and the roof rails ($400).
My Discovery was a gorgeous namib orange ($1,495) HSE luxury with black lower body cladding, and the diesel engine (EPA rated 21 mpg city/26 highway/23 combined), wearing 20-inch 10 split-spoke wheels (silver-painted, alternate thick and thin).
A full-size spare with a tool kit was included for $440. The interior was nimbus gray/espresso windsor leather. It had gray seats with orange piping and perforated seating and backrest, headliner, dash face, upper door panels, and large rectangular steering wheel airbag cover, with natural shadow oak trim on the mid door panels and across the upper dash, brushed aluminum on the sides of the center stack, and gloss black on the air vents, control panel, and center console.
Configurable ambient lighting (controls tucked away in an obscure folder) with five color choices added a luxurious touch.
Discovery is available in 18 beautiful colors – two standard solid, 10 metallic (aintree green, near black; montalcino red, deep) for $650, and six premium metallic (namib orange burnt; farallon black, blue/black) for $1,495.
Five wheel styles are available, in 20- to 22-inch for up to $2,400 extra.
Four interior color combinations are available, with or without massage function for the front seats. Trim is also available in brushed aluminum, natural charcoal oak, and high gloss charcoal oak ($600).
Heated first- and second-row seats are standard, with cooling also available for the front seats.
The two-position third-row seat was included, and the second- and third-row seats were power foldable, for multiple passenger and cargo arrangements. Intelligent seat fold allows the seats to be configured using the 10-inch touch screen, or by using buttons in the cargo area, or the InControl remote app using a smartphone. Headrests could also be dropped from the driver’s seat.
InControl is also used for calls, media and navigation, climate control (three-zone), and driver settings for the latest in seamless, intuitive connectivity.
The touch screen features intuitive touch, pinch, and swipe, 2-D or 3-D maps, and voice prompts using natural speaking commands. The home screen is customizable, and includes Gracenote album art.
InControl remote and protect allows the user to check fuel levels remotely, find the vehicle in a crowded parking lot, record journey details, and check that a window hasn’t been left open. InControl will automatically notify emergency services in case of an accident, or they can be notified manually.
The navigation, though a little too complex for intuitive use (I couldn’t find the volume control) had interesting features such as a choice of accent, language, and gender for the guiding voice, and language keyboards.
Touch Pro Navigation will actually suggest nearby parking as you approach your destination and, with a click, add it to your route and finish with walking directions if needed.
Loading was easy thanks to a powered gesture-operated tailgate and a button in the cargo area that lowered the loading deck about two inches. A power inner tailgate (a button on the cargo side wall) helped contain items near the rear and leveled the cargo floor for tailgating or seating (drive-in movie, picnic on the beach). A loadspace retention net ($100) was available to help secure items as well.
My Discovery had lots of options, including a Rover tow package ($650), front center console cooler compartment ($350), head up display ($950), and loadspace cover ($150).
A rear seat entertainment package ($2,270) featured two eight-inch screens in the back of the front headrests, two WhiteFire digital headphones, USB port, and remote control.
The 360 parking aid ($275) provided views to both front sides, the rear and from the top to make maneuvering in tight spaces and near low objects easier. Vision assist ($1,000) provided LED headlights with LED signature, auto high-beam assist, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, and surround camera.
Autonomous emergency braking ($125) and the Drive Pro package ($2,350) with adaptive cruise control with queue assist, intelligent emergency braking, intelligent speed limiter, traffic sign recognition, lane keep assist, blind spot assist, reverse traffic detect, and driver condition monitor made my Discovery nearly collision proof. That allow for maintaining safe driving distance, applying brakes when needed (that happened!), helping maintain the correct lane, and alerting me when I needed a break.
Park assist ($800) helped avoid parking accidents by guiding my Discovery into a parking spot while I controlled only speed and braking.
The capability plus package ($1,250) with all terrain progress control, terrain response 2 (first time for Discovery), and active rear locking differential take a lot of the stress out of off-roading by helping maintain a steady speed in challenging conditions and automatically selecting the correct driving mode.
An activity key – actually a waterproof wrist band, $400 – will lock and unlock the Discovery, allowing the wearer to leave the key fob safely locked, and inactivated, inside the vehicle while enjoying a range of activities, including swimming. A hidden cubby behind the climate controls was a perfect spot to store the fob while using the activity key.
My tester had a two-panel sunroof with power blinds, 825-watt Meridian sound system with 16 speakers (technology that tailors audio to varied cabin surfaces), satellite radio, HD radio, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, heated washer jets, front and rear fog lights, front and rear towing hooks, winged front headrests (think airplane headrest), an upper secondary glovebox with 12-volt charger, multiple charges from front to cargo, a bag hook on the side of the console, bag hooks in the cargo area, and face-level vents on the B pillars.
Access to the third row was gained by folding and sliding the second row. The third row seat was close to the floor, with a good 34.1 inches of legroom, compared to 37.6 –inches in the second row.
My Discovery was plush, versatile, fun-to-drive -- with a slight Land Rover swagger, attractive inside and out, and very well equipped (due in part to $13,005 in options).
Total delivered price, including $800 destination charges, was $79,950.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com.