Driven - May 2018

The Forest Whitaker of SUV’s – Land Rover Discovery Driven

New Land Drover Discovery Driven

There is much in common with the new Land Rover Discovery and Forest Whitaker. Well, the most obvious being the name Forest and the Discovery’s ability to traverse through forests with ease. Forest, as we all know is a phenomenal actor. Accolades such as an Academy award, a BAFTA, Golden Globe and more prove this. The same goes for the Land Rover Discovery. For years it’s won awards from various institutions. Whether it’s off-roading or for just being a good overall vehicle, the Discovery is a staple for those with adventure on their sights. Family appeal is something both Forest and the Discovery have in common, as he has four children – making the Discovery a perfect vehicle to fit them all in. The last attribute applies specifically to the All New Discovery, but we’ll talk about that just now.

Land Rover Discovery

Fixing what wasn’t broken.

Creating a new land Rover Discovery is not an easy thing to do, since the vehicle has a cult following. Generally, when this is the case, its fans don’t like too much change. From the original 1989 vehicle, to the fourth generation, the Discovery shared the same DNA, similar to how the Porsche 911 has kept the same lines. For the 5th generation, what did Land Rover do? They took the old Discovery and burned the designs. Square has been replaced with round. Hardcore has been substituted for soft. The result is a vehicle that has caused jaws to drop, some in a good way and others in a bad way. Honestly, I feel the new Discovery’s design success is very spec based. With the right wheels, the right line package and even the right colour choice, can mean the difference between a great looking Discovery and a weird looking Discovery.

Stepping inside a new Land Rover Discovery is our favourite aspect of the vehicle. Are we in a lounge? Is this a house? Truthfully speaking, being a 5ft7 male and driving this car, made me feel like a child in the driver’s seats. The sheer mass of the vehicle is noticeable. For those with procreation on their minds, like Mr. Whitaker – look no further. Unlike its rivals, the Discovery is not a very dynamic vehicle. You can feel its size in the corners, understandably so. Expecting this car to feel like it’s Range Rover siblings would be too much of an ask. Rather, comfort is where this vehicle outshines many. It’s ability to lock in the tar and go on and on and on is very impressive. Everything about this car screams “road trip”. Countless storage spaces in the cabin, comfortable seats and a third bench that can accommodate adults are some of the key features that make you want to go far in this vehicle.

Land Rover Discovery

 

The model we drove was the HSE Luxury which basically means it’s the fancy one. That fanciness does give you larger wheels, navigation, 3 zone climate control, extended leather package, surround camera, keyless entry and more as standard. Most importantly, the new Discovery comes chock full of safety equipment, a prerequisite of any vehicle in this league. Technology is something the car boasts and we loved demonstrating some aspect of it to inquisitive neighbours. One of those features was the electrically adjustable seats. At the rear of the vehicle, you’re able to adjust all five rear seats – laying some or all flat if need be, with a button. This can also be operated through an app, which allows you to control the seats from your phone.

Powering this vehicle is a 190kW/600N.m 3.0 diesel engine which uses an 8-speed automatic gearbox. This engine does well considering that the Discovery weighs around 3 tonnes. At times, it does feel like the vehicle is taking its time to get going but once it gets going, it does a fine job at maintaining that speed, especially on the highway.

The daily commute in a vehicle of this size may take some time to get used to if you’re coming from a standard sized SUV. Once you get the dimensions right, however, it gets easier and easier. Overall, the Discovery does well in the city but felt lonely to drive for someone like me who has no wife or kids. Those with family will enjoy not hearing the kids scream “stop touching me” as they’ll have more than enough space to themselves.

The final Forest feature.

So, what’s the last Forest Whitaker quality this car possesses? Well, one thing no one can dispute is Forests abilities, but watching him on screen can be distracting at times. Why? Because he has a noticeably droopy eye. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. The Land Rover Discovery shares a similar trait with its rear number plate positioning. The number plate holder is positioned to the left of the boot, which doesn’t look right. It’s something that cannot be unseen and is arguably the most annoying feature of the car. Unlike Forest, who was born like that, surely the LR designers must’ve felt that their internal symmetry gauges were beeping when signing that design off? Every Land Rover has indeed had an off-set number plate, but it was built for a square number plate. In the new Discovery, the number plate is horizontal and as a result just looks wrong. If there was one thing I’d change about the car, it would be that. I guess if Forest wanted to, he too could go for an eye lift, but he’s comfortable enough to not be phased by other’s opinions of him. Perhaps Land Rover feel the same way. They know their car is good, all we need to do is learn to deal with it…