A new Discovery is a big deal for Land Rover. The Disco is the go-anywhere tool for a family that wants to spend all its time together at the top of a mountain. It has to be spacious, comfortable and able to scale more things than any other vehicle.
I'm in Utah making a film about the new Disco, and m'colleague Chris Paukert will be filling you all in with more detail later in the week, but I figured while I'm here it'd be silly not to put pen to paper.
First off, it's huge. With all of its rear seats down, there's nearly 2,500 liters of space in the back to play with. In real terms, that's most of an apartment move, if you're single and don't have too much furniture.
Land Rover also filled it with family-friendly cubby holes, so there's somewhere to put your phone, wallet, keys, headphones, passport, water bottles (in a refrigerator, actually), and there's even space for four full size iPads in the center console's hidden hole. You can charge all the things as well - you can have up to eight USB points to keep your gizmos at 100 percent.
I've had a quick blast off road on a sandy track. It was the kind of path that the vast majority of Disco owners wouldn't dream of actually turning a wheel on, but with the car's adjustable-for-any-condition-any-time Terrain Response switch set to "Sand," it took it like a champ. The car slid around a bit when I drove like a moron, but it was confidence-inspiringly good.
Land Rover also saw fit to send me down a super steep hill to demonstrate its Hill Descent Control mode. Simply press a button, point the car downhill and only bother to steer. The car didn't break a sweat, but I didn't stop screaming internally. I don't get on with steep hills.
Now, the engine. It's a 3.0-liter V6 diesel with 256 horses and a dizzying 443 pound-feet of torque. It promises a 0-62 time of 7.7 seconds and a top speed faster than you'll ever need. Because of extensive use of aluminum, Land Rover says it'll get 32.6 mpg, too.
It doesn't feel all that quick, however. You're not looking for a land-speed-record car when you buy a Discovery, but it's not the sprightliest dog in the pound. The 3.0-liter supercharged gas V6 comes with more power, less torque and a quicker 0-62 sprint by nearly a second.
While it isn't fast, it's damn quiet. On par with the much more expensive Range Rover, in fact, which is just what you want with five kids on board. You'll be able to hear cries of "Are we there yet?" at highway speeds.
I've got more time with the Discovery tomorrow and a film to make, but my gut's telling me it's one of the good ones, even if I think the back looks super strange. I mean... really? An offset plate? Ick.