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LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SE SD4

When the new Land Rover Discovery made its debut in 2016, it replaced a 14-year-old icon with a car that proved, yet again, to be as powerful, luxurious, and capable as its forebears. While these adjectives all aptly describe the new Discovery, Land Rover now adds ‘affordable’ and ‘value-packed’ to the Discovery’s vocabulary with the introduction of a 2.0-litre Ingenium turbodiesel engine as an entry-point to the range. Bernie Hellberg Jr reports.

As a motoring journalist, I tend to measure the passing of time in the space between new car launches and range enhancements. It was “just the other day” that Land Rover introduced the new Discovery to South Africa, yet here we are, four years later, and its almost time for the car to get a bit of a make-over. Wow.

Yet, if we’ve learnt anything from Land Rover’s track record for stretching a car’s useful lifespan as long as they do, it’s clear that these guys know how to keep fans happy and buyers coming back again, and again.

Land Rover’s latest addition to the Disco family is one such arrow in the brand’s quiver, and it’s aimed squarely at a market that seeks all the virtues of the Discovery nameplate, albeit in a slightly cheaper, yet still marvellously capable package.

WHAT’S IN, WHAT’S OUT

Land Rover Discovery

Based on models with SE trim, the 2.0 SD4 still has all the standard spec that you could need – including LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a 10-speaker Enhanced Sound System, Terrain Response, 12-way adjustable leather seats, and InControl Touch Navigation with Apple CarPlay. It also has the unmistakable Discovery design, and the ability to take you over almost any terrain. Still, it should use much less fuel and is bursting with the latest safety kit.

If you were lucky enough to lay your hands on one of the 50 enhanced units that Land Rover introduced to celebrate the launch of the new engine (our tester was one), you received a sunroof, power inner-tailgate, roof rails, and keyless entry, on top of the standard equipment.

Land Rover Discovery

Inside, the Discovery benefits from third-row seating, a centre console cooler, ebony headlining, and USB ports in the second seating row.

Building on the strengths of its predecessor, the fifth-generation Discovery offers more space – enough for up to seven passengers – and there’s more headroom, too, even when all seven seats are in use. Same goes for boot space, which is comparable to a typical family hatchback even with all seats occupied. When the third row is folded out of use, the boot dwarfs that of most SUVs, even in the luxury segment.

GIVE IT HORNS

No Discovery is sluggish – and while this new Ingenium 2.0-litre turbodiesel proves it with a zero to 100 km/h time of 8.7 seconds, thanks to its 177 kW of power and 430 Nm of torque, there’s no escaping the height of nearly two metres, so you’ll experience a fair bit of body lean if you try hustling it through corners. However, this is something you’ll be used to if you’ve driven many large SUVs.

Meanwhile, the Terrain Response system and generous ground clearance maintain the entry-Disco’s serious off-road credentials.

Over the course of a week, the Discovery completed nearly 1,200 kilometres of daily commutes, some highway travel, and one out of town trip. Returning sub-7.0-l/100 km was only possible during longer highway stints, while we saw fuel consumption rise as high as 8.1-l/100 km when start/stopping. Considering the Disco’s almost three-tonne gross weight, and the fact that Land Rover pegs the SD4’s combined fuel consumption at 6.4-l/100 km, I was quite satisfied with the numbers it managed to return.

LAST WORD

Overall, the Discovery is a very desirable family SUV, and besides the strangely offset number plate and the imposing bulk of its rear, is one of the most attractive SUVs in its class. Land Rover must be commended for adding the SD4 engine option to the range to help keep brand fans in the fold despite ever-increasing vehicle prices. It’s a buyer’s market right now, and make no mistake; buyers are spoilt for choice in this segment; with compelling offerings such as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and Volvo XC90 being the only real competitors to Discovery right now.

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR | Images © LAND ROVER SA

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