The all-new 2017 Land Rover Discovery has been unveiled ahead of its debut at the 2016 Paris motor show, with the large SUV offering buyers the “the best family SUV in the world”.
It’s a big call from the British brand, but the existing Land Rover Discovery (and Discovery 4 as it was known earlier in its existence) had become renowned for being a benchmark vehicle in many regards.
The new-generation model – which retains a three-row, seven-seat layout – has seen a number of dramatic changes, including a shift to a new architecture that helps it save up to 480 kilograms over its hefty predecessor.
The aluminium monocoque underpinnings take the place of the existing ladder-frame steel chassis, while the new “integral link” rear suspension setup “delivers superior handling characteristics without compromising the superb ride comfort” of the Discovery.
The maximum ground clearance of the new-generation Discovery is a huge 283 millimetres, and increase of 43mm, and its wading capability has jumped by 200mm to a huge 900mm. The approach angle is 34 degrees, and the departure angle is 30deg, and the breakover angle is 27.5deg.
Air suspension is standard, and the car lowers itself by 40mm when you unclip your seatbelt and park to make getting in and out easier, and it can be lowered by a maximum of 60mm to aid loading. When it comes to raising the car, it can be lifted by 75mm to get you out of tough off-road situations.
The standard car doesn't come with high and low range, instead being offered with full-time all-wheel-drive.
You can can option it a two-speed transfer box if required, though the regular car has a single-speed transfer box that can provide a torque split of 42 per cent front and 58 per cent rear (the two-speed system offers a 50:50 split).
There’s Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system that is operated by a rotary controller, allowing different characteristics of engine, gearing and throttle response. The All-Terrain Progress Control system allows different crawl speeds to be chosen, too.
The Disco can tow up to 3500 kilograms, and there’s a clever system called Advanced Tow Assist that allows the driver to avoid the counter-steering that can easily catch you out.
You can guide the trailer using the rotary dial between the seats - so you don't have to worry about the steering wheel, just watch the screen, steer with the rotary dial and control the pedals, and trailer should go where you want it to. This system will debut on the 2017 Range Rover Sport and 2017 Range Rover from January next year. Sadly, Australia misses out on the electronically deployable hidden towbar, which doesn't pass Australian Design Rules (ADRs).
Under the bonnet there are diesel and petrol engines, including two new four-cylinder powerplants.
The first is the 2.0-litre Ingenium turbo diesel four-pot fitted to the Td4 models, which has 132kW of power and 430Nm of torque, with fuel use claimed at 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres.
Despite being the base engine, this one is said to be quicker from 0-100km/h than the existing TDV6 – the claim is 10.5 seconds, or 0.2sec faster than the existing V6 base engine.
There’s a more powerful four-cylinder, the twin-turbo 2.0-litre Sd4 drivetrain, which has 177kW of power and 500Nm of torque. It’s claimed to use 6.5L/100km. The extra power, torque and turbo help make this version 2.2sec faster from 0-100km/h: 8.3sec is the claim.
The high-spec diesel engine is the 3.0-litre Td6 six-cylinder, which has 190kW of power and 600Nm of torque. Fuel use is claimed at 7.2L/100km. It is claimed to be 1.3sec faster from 0-100km/h, too: now 8.1sec.
All models are fitted with eight-speed ZF automatic transmissions as standard, and all are four-wheel-drive.
As for the appearance of the new Discovery, it is said to be “revolutionary”, not evolutionary, with a “dynamic appearance with sophisticated surfaces”.
According to Land Rover the new model can accommodate seven full-sized adults despite the fact it is less than five metres long (4970mm), with the same 5+2 formation as we’ve come to expect.
If the passengers aren’t fully grown, there are four ISOFIX child-seat anchor points in the rear (two in the second row, and two in the third row).
Those rear seats can also be had with heating – yep, three rows of heating is available, while heating and cooling can be had in the front two rows – and the back seats can be operated by the touchscreen media system or by smartphone app, if you think that’s really necessary. There are 21 configurations for the seats, and the electronic controls means they take 14 seconds to operate.
On the topic of touchscreens, there’s a 10.0-inch InControl Touch Pro unit that helps rid the cockpit of a third of its existing buttons (it's likely to be offered in some models standard, but not all - and there's a version of this screen with Wi-Fi capability, too).
It also has sat-nav, Bluetooth and more. There's a screen with dual-view capability, too, so the front passenger can watch television and the driver won't see it, and therefore won't be distracted by it.
And if you’re and your family are USB charging addicts, you’ll be happy to know there are up to nine USB jacks available. There are six 12-volt outlets, too, and if you’re a fan of the Jaguar Activity Key wristband, it’s available on this car, too.
The cockpit and cargo area have been rethought for improved space and convenience, including a neat storage box behind the air-conditioning controls up front, and 1231 litres of space in the boot behind the second-row seats, and 2500L with the second-row down. The space with all seven seats up is claimed at 256L, which the brand claims is still enough for a golf bag or three cabin bags.
Some items that buyers of the current Discovery may miss include the split tailgate, which is now replaced by a single-piece tailgate made of composite materials, and is complemented by a electronically folding floor section - Land Rover says the load limit of that section is 300kg, so it should still be able to work as a picnic table, as did the existing hard section of boot floor.
The trio of glass roof sections are gone, too: there's only two in this generation of Discovery, but they're considerably larger.
There’ll be a First Edition model, limited to 2400 units, which will include special styling elements like etched map details in the aluminium trim on the doors and dash, as well as a range of styling differences (colours and badges) and lots of standard kit.
A Dynamic Design Pack (seen below) will be for those who want their Disco to look even more like a Range Rover Sport, with a contrast roof, different front and rear bumpers, leather interior trim and more.
Deliveries of the all-new Land Rover Discovery range will commence from July 2017.
The company will initially offer seven-seat models only, though a five-seater could be available at a later date (apparently less than 1 per cent of demand is for such a configuration).
There will be a range of models available, all of which will be diesel-powered. The demand for petrol models is so slim, the brand isn’t bothering.
That means we’ll see two four-cylinder diesel versions at the entry level to the range: the Td4 SE, which we know already will cost from $81,590 plus on-road costs; and the more powerful Sd4 SE.
Further up the range there’ll be a choice of TD6 SE and the flagship TD6 HSE. As is the current case, a range of options and packs will be available with the new Land Rover Discover range.
Click the Photos tab above for more images of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery.