Or should that be au revoir? The Land Rover Discovery as we know, love and applaud it, is on the way to the home for old SUVs to be replaced by – a Land Rover Discovery. The outgoing version has all the renowned aerodynamics of a brick-and-a-half whereas the new model is sleek and modern and right on trend. Regardless, it somehow seems a shame to change it.
This Discovery, as pictured, is a vehicle that appeals to all sorts. Outdoor folk who cherish Labrador dogs and have a fetish for waxed clothing; urban school-run Mums and old geezers who like to go out into the wilds to blast birds from the sky are all dedicated to this ageing SUV.
People who like to go on robust holidays or people who just like to go out of the house in the certain knowledge that they can handle all that the road throws at them: all of them love the Discovery.
It’s still got what it takes too. The Land Rover Discovery has just been awarded the highest accolade of all after being chosen as ‘Tow Car of the Decade’. For the seventh year in succession and the ninth time overall in the awards’ 10-year history, the Discovery once again demonstrated why it is consistently the most capable vehicle when it comes to practicality and effortless towing ability.
The pedigree is certainly there in the new offerings from Land Rover. The Discovery Sport has already shown its mettle (although I have reservations about the new Ingenium engines currently on offer) by pulling a 100 Tonne train. Replacing the long-serving Freelander, it has already proved popular with buyers.
All the off-road technology that makes this range of vehicles so special is on-board and better than ever before. No doubt the Land Rover Discovery Sport and new full-fat Discovery will continue to be pre-eminent in the world of mud-pluggery and yet I worry.
I drove the Sport model (here) and the other morning, prior to writing this, I had a good look over another model. It is very Evoque-ish, but, and I know few will agree, the range is beginning to look too generically SUV-like, if that makes sense. It seems to me there’s a danger that by chasing fashion, the Land Rover range will become lost in the sea of SUVs currently on sale.
I took a Land Rover Discovery HSE Lux Landmark LE (the special-edition one in the images) to Beaulieu National Motor Museum (here) for the day to show it where at least one member of the Discovery family will end up, parked forever next to its ancestors like a row of old folks in wing-back chairs. I don’t mind admitting that I was misting up.
You see, the thing about the outgoing Discovery is that it is unique. There are plenty of other capable off-roaders on the market but I defy any of them to follow a Discovery where no car should go. Its might is there for all to see. It is big, bulky and tough. The Hulk Hogan of motors but in a good way. If Jon Snow could drive this is what he would buy.
On the long run to the New Forest I found that all other road users showed respect. Right of way becomes just that – a Right, not a grudging obligation. I enjoyed myself very much sitting high at the helm.
There’s no point in going on about all the technical bits; it is so well documented already (there’s a specification for this car below). I will say though that the Discovery is comfortable, fast – for its massive size – and eminently capable. Sure, the inside is looking a bit dated now but there won’t be another. It is Mrs DriveWrite’s favourite car by a mile and that’s like getting a Royal Warrant.
How things move on: The touchscreen seems small and the navigation is getting a bit forgetful; so much so that we wandered around Hampshire for a while on an unnecessary but interesting diversion. If the new version – good though I am sure it will be – is just a bit too ‘Chelsea’ for you then it is comforting to know that this model will still be on the forecourts for years to come as a reliable second-hand buy.
So if you’re in the market for a great all-purpose vehicle then look no further. Sure, the new models will be cleaner and greener and go further for your precious gallon but there is just something about this venerable motor that strikes a chord. It is redolent of the history of the brand and I hope against hope that the new version isn’t too chintzy to carry the legend forward.
As dealers try to shift remaining stock there might even be some deals around; you never know your luck. Goodbye old Discovery; it’s been nice knowing you. Geoff Maxted