Tested: Land Rover Discovery

The good reasons

Rotten luck. Bad karma. Call it what you want but I now believe that cars can also suffer from unbreakable curses; like this poor Land Rover Discovery we tested recently. Don’t worry, it didn’t break down or fall to pieces, it just suffered the same unfortunate fate that befell all previous Discovery’s we tested.

To keep this brief, we usually drive a car for a week, during which we’ll photograph it, subject it to various everyday tasks and possibly do some performance testing (0-100km/h, etc.). My complicated archive tells me that we only ever achieved one (1) of these three things with Disco’s – including this one.

I have to stress that this was never the cars’ faults but – if you’re a fellow believer – the wicked work of Mr Murphy who scrambled our schedules, drained camera batteries or dreamt up random interruptions. The net result is yet another Discovery that left us without deeper evaluation. Our humblest apologies, Land Rover.

It’s not all bad news though. So we never took dozens of carefully posed pics, nor did we test its ability to klap 100km/h or 400 meters. What we did instead was whiz about between work and home, high tea at the Nelly, the shops, a racetrack and lunch on a farm. Pretty much what every owner would do.

Speaking of owners, it’s only natural that one starts noticing other vehicles of the type you currently drive – and the boxy Discovery is extremely well represented in our regular stomping grounds. There are plenty of good reasons for this, starting with its incredible versatility.

Mum and Dad have active, outdoorsy lifestyles and the kids partake in all sorts of sports. Sometimes they bring a few mates, every month the dogs require a parlor visit and the road to your in-law’s mountain cottage is a rutted mess. What you want, nay, what you need, is a seven-seater Land Rover Discovery.

Sure, you could buy quite a few excellent rivals from competing brands but this Landy is an incredible all-rounder and its iconic shape just fits in everywhere; from your faux Tuscan villa to the Kalahari. Unlike some of its chic competitors, it also possesses proper off-road gear and a fair degree of tarmac manners.

Downsides, if you like, are its considerable size and heft, which make themselves known with the tank-like road holding. Air suspension and light steering do their best to counter this, bless them, but there’s no denying that a Disco weighs two tons. The upside of this is that it feels sturdy enough to flatten taxis.

Land Rover, like most manufacturers, lays claim to optimistic average fuel use (8.8L/100km) for this SDV6 3-litre turbo-Diesel engine with its 8-speed automatic gearbox and 82L tank. In the real world, our mixed driving figure hovered around 11, which is still respectable for a 2,000kg colossus.

Other things we can tell you are that the Discovery has superb luxury and convenience features from great Xenon headlights to media and phone integration, classy leather and plenty of safety aids. It’s also available with a choice of two engines (petrol or diesel) and three trim lines including “Landmark”.

That aptly-named specification is due to this luxury SUV’s imminent demise; generation five is nearing its starting blocks. We assume that it will follow the brand’s new (Evoque) design lines and the tall roof line with its practical square corners will be no more. Actually, that would be a reason to buy this old model…

As for reliability, I mentioned that nothing fell off our press car, right? Land Rover also includes a three-year / 100,000km warranty and five-year / 100,000km service plan for your peace of mind. And judging by the vast amount of Disco’s in our vicinity, this multipurpose giant seems to be impervious to rotten luck.

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