Land Rover Discovery HSE Review

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What if you could combine excellent off-road dynamics with proper work-horse ability, while still being a modern, fashionable family-orientated  SUV? The Land Rover Discovery is the answer to that conundrum and during its week at Cars.co.za, there was a constant battle for the key fob.

Strong diesel engine

The Land Rover Discovery is no lightweight and tips the scales at 2.5 tons! With that much weight, there needs to be a powerful engine which can offer great performance both on and off road. The 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 blends economy with monster torque. How does 183 kW and 600 Nm grab you? There's a modern 8-speed gearbox from ZF putting that power to all four wheels too. The clever differential splits the power according to which wheel needs the most ensuring there's no loss of traction. Land Rover claims it'll consume almost 9l/100km, but let's be honest the Discovery is a big heavy vehicle and we were happy with 11l/100km on the trip computer.

Incredible 4x4 prowess

If you're after a serious 4x4 machine then look no further. Thanks to its clever electronics called Terrain Response, you simply tell the car what terrain you're on and it'll do the rest. When things get serious, there's low-range and you can raise the air suspension at the touch of a button. The Land Rover Discovery also features Wade Sensing, which assists with sonar as you drive through water. You can drive in water and streams of up to 70 cm in depth - truly incredible and not something I felt brave enough to try.

When the aforementioned air suspension is used, you're looking at 240 mm of ground clearance which is plenty when you want to conquer the wild. For those who find these numbers interesting, the Land Rover Discovery has an approach angle of 36.2° and a departure angle of 29.6°.

Interior and features

So we have an excessively powerful and rugged monster off-road vehicle here, what's the interior like? Despite its hardcore beast exterior, the Land Rover Discovery HSE boasts a luxury and refined interior that is quite similar to its Range Rover siblings. The vehicle can seat seven, or five with a generous boot. There are leather electronically adjustable seats all around and there are even arm rests for the driver and passenger.

If you can name it, the Land Rover Discovery HSE has it. Front and rear parking sensors, daytime running lights, cruise control, climate control for both the front and rear, keyless entry as well as multiple cameras. There's also wade sensing, blind spot monitoring, closing vehicle sensing, reverse traffic detection, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, Meridian premium audio and the list goes on. There's even a fridge built into the storage area located between the driver and passenger seats.

Ride quality

In the week that I had the Land Rover Discovery, I drove it mostly on tarmac and the ride quality is exceptional. The Discovery is smooth and showed refinement that many luxury premium cars could only dream of. If open-road comfort is what you desire in an SUV, then look no further. Just be careful when driving enthusiastically mind you, as the weight and size of the vehicle makes it quite top heavy. Sharp corners are best taken at slow speeds to avoid excessive body roll and lean.

Summary

The Land Rover Discovery is one of those cars that I find myself lusting after for many reasons. Not only is it a truly phenomenal offroader that flatters the average drive, it offers luxurious comfort and state-of-the-art features. The engine is exceptionally strong and it's not super thirsty as expected of a big SUV. You could have the HSE version at R952 800, but if you're cash strapped then the range starts around the R670 000 mark.

Second opinion

Land Rover's Discovery is the ultimate king of the road vehicle, its tremendous size and presence commands respect. The driver is cocooned away in luxury and an interior so large its boundaries require border posts. It's great off roader that tackles everything in front of it with ease. If you were to pick only one car to do everything for the rest of your life, it would probably be this. Or a Range Rover. -Ashley Oldfield

Land Rover Discovery HSE SDV6 quick specs

Price  R952 800
Engine  3-litre V6 turbodiesel
Power  183 kW
Torque  600 Nm
Transmission  Eight-speed automatic
Wheels  19-inch alloys
0-100km/h  9.3 seconds (claimed)
Fuel economy  8.8 l/100 km (claimed)
We like: . Outstanding off-road ability . Comprehensive specification . Excellent torque for towing / overtaking

We dislike: . The price

Also consider: Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Jeep Grand Cherokee Mitsubishi Pajero Lexus RX

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