Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
The timing for Automotive Rhythms weekly test drive of the 5th Generation Land Rover Discovery couldn’t have been more on point since it was my wife’s 44th Born Day celebration. Yes, she loves large, luxury SUVs and specifically has an affinity towards Range Rovers! So when the tantalizing Silicon Silver 2017 Discovery HSE Luxury arrived into our driveway with poise and grace we both were highly ecstatic over the drive opportunities.
Undeniably ambitious, the newfangled styling of the British SUV is absolutely gorgeous as company executives jettisoned the tall, boxy frame of previous generations for the curvilinear, high-tech, and innovative look of the current model. Admiration from onlookers, neighbors, and co-workers was instant and unwavering, especially in prime locales such as Potomac, Bethesda, and Chevy Chase, Maryland where we spent the majority of our time dining, shopping, and simply enjoying life. I took it a step further by hitching my Ghost Kato 7 mountain bike and hit the trails of Schaeffer Farms for some grimy excitement since off-roading is a deeply rooted Land Rover tradition. Dully note that the British SUV comes with an Activity Key similar to a sports band so you don’t have to carry the actual key on your runs or rides.
Some of the emboldened aesthetic features of the Discovery I admired included a dual, split Narvik Black Grille with the top portion represented in a honeycomb decor and a contrasting black roof, side view mirrors (automatically fold when doors are locked), A and B pillars, wheel wells, tailgate spoiler, roof rails, and lower bumpers. The 21” 5-split-spoke rims finished in Satin Dark Grey and wrapped in Pirelli 275/45R21 Scorpion Verde All-Season tires topped off the artistic integrity of the Discovery. My only gripe is that this wheel package is harsh on speed bumps and rough roads. I would go with the 20” 10-split-spoke for more sidewall if I were to purchase this ride.
Of course a Land Rover hallmark is their 4WD and Terrain Response 2 system which adjusts vehicle settings based on road conditions whether it’s rock crawling or trekking through sand. With that piece of mind never did I feel daunted when inclement whether hit or a muddy path lied ahead. Additionally, the Electric Air Suspension can be operated manually in the rear for various loading and unloading scenarios. I was astonished at how high the vehicle lifted itself when I hit the switch. Certainly I could challenge my exercise routine with LR jump squats!
Powered by a 3-liter supercharged 6-cylinder engine with 340-horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque the Discovery moved fluidly without resistance even when weighed down with seven passengers. Once I was alone I challenged the Rover with aggressive maneuvers that displayed its amazing agility partially thanks to Dynamic Stability Control and other advanced performance and safety systems. As always, Land Rover is disciplined in creative pursuits. Speaking of other passengers, they enjoyed the 2nd row seats that leant for extended comfort while those in the 3rd row relished the USB charge ports and small storage spaces for their phones, chargers, etc. Though, there is not much of a cargo area when the 3rd row is in use. A network of numerous buttons is at your disposal to operate the aforementioned power-folding seats.
To compliment the exterior bravado of Land Rovers, the interiors are just as infectious. The Black on Piano Black cabin was created with carbon fiber inlays, metal sport pedals, touch ambient lighting, an Ebony headliner, Dark Brushed Aluminum center console, Chrome paddle shifters, Windsor Leather sport steering wheel, and a power sliding panoramic sunroof. However, the HVAC dials are too recessed, as is the right positioned volume button which would be ergonomically suited on the left. Nifty features include the storage compartment behind the three large HVAC dials, door panels that act as arm rests, and the front cooler which was perfect for my athletic kids since they kept forgetting their water containers. Naturally, I kept a fresh bottle on deck. A touchscreen infotainment interface houses the navigation, rear view camera, apps, and music features that sound from the 825-watt Meridian audio system. Yet, the screen did freeze up on me a few times.
Wait, there are a few more digital/automated highlights that Misa and I enjoyed. At night Auto High Beam Assist illuminates automatically when needed, Head Up Display showcases speed limits (Traffic Sign Recognition) so you are cognizant of radar cameras, and the Land Rover emblem is highlighted on the ground when the door is opened. For my longer drives Adaptive Cruise with Queue Assist and Intelligent Emergency Braking was efficient and reliable. I set the system to four car lengths just in case but the vehicle had no problems slowing down when needed and braking completely during stop-and-go traffic.
The Discovery HSE Luxury has an MSRP of $63,950 excluding the $995 transportation fee. My loaner was blessed with another $1,000 of options and amenities. It is beauty, brains, and brawn wrapped into one enticing package for patrons requiring four season utility from the British purveyor of finely crafted SUVs.