Monday, 27 July 2015

REVIEW - Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury

The Land Rover Discovery is, in my opinion, one of the most under-rated cars on sale. This really has everything; luxury, refinement and a go-anywhere attitude. It has 7 seats and thanks to a recent facelift, some visual appeal too. I reviewed the HSE last year but secretly I always wanted a go in this model. The HSE Luxury sits at the top of the Discovery line-up, and as such it has the biggest list of equipment to boast. This is just as capable as every other Discovery, but the HSE Luxury accepts that the going isn’t always rough, so adds creature comforts for the daily drive too.

Looks – 10/10

The facelifted Discovery is very easy on the eye. There are some subtle yet effective touches that boost the premium image, such as the removal of the ‘Land Rover’ badge in favour of one simply saying ‘Discovery’. The new-look daytime running lights are striking, and are distinctive in a rear view mirror. The 20-inch two-tone wheels on the HSE lux don’t quite look like they’re designed with a field in mind, but they are nice. I like that everything is big and tough about the Discovery. The door handles are a handful, and the arches are bold. Then there’s the sheer height of the car (which I noticed when washing it!). If it was me, I’d opt for some privacy glass to complete the luxury aspect, and bear in mind that there’s a lot of glass in this car it would certainly look better for it.

Once you open one of those hefty doors you see why this model is branded as ‘Lux’. The carpets are thick, premium quality, and there is premium leather everywhere. I did think the colour combination of Arabica (brown) leather and Almond (cream) trim, but I do like the idea of a contrast. By having the cream on the dashboard and door cards the interior is light and airy. Saying that the three sunroofs do help let more light in as well. The HSE Lux gets the rear entertainment system which looks fantastic, as does the centre console and instrument panel. The multimedia screen is a touch-screen unit which sits nicely below the leather dashboard; one of my favourite features of the cabin. The rising gear selector is a nice touch, and the captain’s chairs make the driving seat look all the more appealing.

Handling/Performance – 9/10

There is only one choice of engine in the Discovery, but you don’t need any others. The supercharged diesel 3.0-litre SDV6 provides ample power, offering 255PS and a whopping 600Nm of torque. Even for a 2.5 tonne car this means 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 112mph. This wonderful engine is attached to an even better 8-speed ZF automatic transmission which is a delight. The ample ratios mean that power delivery is smooth but also that the revs are kept down on the motorway. There are paddles behind the wheel should you wish to change gear yourself, but I can’t see why you’d want to. The biggest thing that’s apparent is how quiet the Discovery is on the motorway. Within that 2.5 tonnes there must be a decent amount of soundproofing material, because once you shut the window the cabin is serene and you can talk in whispers.

The Discovery operates an air suspension system as you would find in Range Rover models. This means that once on the motorway the car hunkers down to become more stable, making the ride smoother. The suspension also absorbs bumps incredibly well, and this is one of the most comfortable cars I have ever driven. Through corners the Discovery shows its size, but I have to say that the lean isn’t as bad as you would expect. The steering is actually quite direct, and that big V6 diesel wants to pull you from one corner to the next. And because you don’t notice the bumps and potholes, you’ll soon realise you’re going faster down the A-road than you would have thought. This car really does go anywhere, and it’s a delight to drive wherever it does.

Economy – 8/10

Now I think you have to be realistic with your expectations of economy in a car such as this. For starters it weighs 2.5 tonnes, so it’s going to take a fair amount to get something that hefty motoring along at motorway speeds. Consider too that it has permanent 4WD and is an automatic, and you are probably fearing the worst. But I think the reality is rather good. You see Land Rover have fitted start/stop technology to the automatic gearbox and that helps a lot in traffic. It works rather well; re-starting the engine as soon as you move off the brake to set off. Combined fuel consumption is 35.3mpg, which I don’t think is too bad at all. And this is achievable in the real world, as I found after a long run to Beverley and back. The CO2 emissions of 213g/km put the Discovery in VED band K. Although the first year of £640 may seem steep, I think the £290 every year thereafter is not too bad at all for such a big, powerful car.

Practicality – 10/10

In the Discovery, Land Rover have a car that will literally conquer all. It will go anywhere, with anyone, and in any weather. For starters it has 7 seats. And don’t think there are two unusable, uncomfortable ones at the back, because you can get adults in them. Comfortably. The split rear tailgate is wonderful and doubles as a bench when you’re sat around or loading up. The selectable 4WD system with low range gearbox and different terrain modes- from ‘mud ruts’ to ‘sand’ and ‘snow’- give it immense go-anywhere ability. Then there are some of the options available. My test car came with the Vision Assist Pack (£1,000) which comprises adaptive front headlamps, cornering lamps, and best of all, surround cameras. That means 5 cameras. Yes, 5! There’s two up front to show you either way at a junction, one under each wing mirror to show the tyres in relation to kerbs and ruts, and one at the back for towing and reverse manoeuvres.

Fun – 8/10

I drive a lot of different cars and whilst there aren’t many bad cars out there, there also aren’t many I’d actually want to go out and buy. The Discovery falls in the latter category. It never failed to impress, and to me there was no compromise between off road ability and on road comfort and luxury. It took me the whole week I had it to learn how all the gadgets worked. But best of all I spent a lot of time travelling that week and experienced some horrendous traffic- bloody M60- but sat up high behind the wheel of the Discovery I didn’t care. I was in my own little palace on wheels. The air conditioning was set just so, there was a cold bottle of water in the cooled cubby box (£235 extra), and it was quiet and comfortable. And because of that I stayed calm, relaxed, and still enjoyed the drive. Hats off to the Discovery for that one.

Concluding Remarks

So that’s my week with the Discovery HSE Lux. The revised styling adds some small, high-quality touches to what is already a big, bold car. The engine and gearbox are perfect, and the Discovery is as great on the road as it is on a mountain. But best of all, from behind the wheel you wouldn’t know the difference between the two. I would love to own one of these, but I think I might be saving for some time. The HSE Lux starts at £59,965 on the road. Add the options fitted to my test car and the price becomes £63,395. This car certainly has the quality to justify the price tag. It will last a lifetime, and the residuals are good as well. But what I really like is that the Discovery somehow seems understated; it just goes about business quietly and extremely well. For more information visit your local dealer or log on to the Land Rover Website.

Total Score – 45/50

1 comment:

  1. Land Rover is a high performing adventurous vehicle that does not compromise on its physical outlook. It is perfect for consumers who wish to beat the off-road terrain while still maintaining a classy style. Its price tag is slightly above average though, but it is worth every penny looking at the super combo that it provides.