By Anele Zondo (@neythebae_sa)
The new Discovery has arrived in South Africa and I attended the second phase of the launch at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit. This was my first car launch and what a great start!
The new shape
Before I get into, I want to start with the new design and body change. My take is, unlike most things, with cars, it should be love at first sight (Ed – some cars grow on you like the Citroen C4 Cactus that is no longer offered in South Africa). It was the opposite with the Discovery for me. The new look feels like a blend of a Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz GLE. I am not a fan of the rounder back. I questioned the Land Rover instructors about the change and (almost as if sensing my pain) the response was, “it will grow on you”. And, that it did. I was a true convert by the end of the day (Ed – you see).
The new Discovery enjoys a new aluminium body instead of a steel frame donned by previous models. This manages to shell a whopping 480 kilograms off the car. The result is a lighter, more fuel efficient and agile product.
The Driving Course
I experienced the car in 3 driving phases: off-road; on-road and obstacle driving.
Taking the beautiful beast off-road felt like I was living the dream of a traveller adventurist. I am talking about up to 127 degrees side slope driving, and up to 45 degrees steep slope driving (in smart driving mode, touching no paddles, just steering and braking).
On Road Driving
The Discovery is very smooth and luxurious and can trick you into thinking you are in a luxurious sedan rather than the capable off–roader that it is. The new drive train benefits from more responsive braking and quick acceleration. The car’s self-parallel parking technology will spare you many blushes with fate.
Being one of the most capable SUVs on offer, this car will make you feel like you can take on anything that the road throws at you. Yes, even mini-bus taxi drivers.
Interior and Specs
The steering wheel is thin and actually feels good on the hands. Being at the pinnacle of automotive luxury, Land Rover did not disappoint with the interior design. The Land Rover comes with cool new features too like an App designed to control your car no matter how far away you are from it.
In terms of comfort, the driver and the front passenger seem to have been prioritised. There’s a bit of a gap in comfort between the front seats and the rest of the other rows. Perhaps not a Land Rover thing but the consequences of 7 seat convenience. The electronically controlled seating configuration means the car can easily be transformed into a seven seater.
Engines and pricing
Two 3 litre V6 engines are available in the Discovery line up. These include (i) a supercharged petrol with 250kW of power and 450Nm torque, and (ii) a turbo diesel with 190kW of power and substantial 600Nm of torque. Both engines employ an automatic gearbox. The Discovery 3.0 Litre Td6 Diesel retails from R980,000 whilst the 3.0L Si6 Petrol retails from R1,018,500.
I liked the hands free parallel parking, new technology and improved fuel efficiency. I did not like the small boot space when the last row of seats is up and, although it grew on me eventually, I did not like the new shape.