By 1989, Land Rover had been around for 41 years and the Range Rover for 20. Th e Japanese were invading the 4×4 market so the British brand struck back with the Discovery, the golden middle between Land Rover and Range Rover.
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Fast forward 28 years and 1.2-million units sold over four generations, and we see the release of the new fifth-edition Discovery, sporting a radical design change. This model has Land Rover’s chief designer Gerry McGovern’s signature on it, so at first glance it’s more of a new Evoque than a Discovery. The iconic square-edged eccentricity is gone; goodbye 4×4, hello SUV. Th is newly groomed city slicker may have lost character, but it’s still a technological marvel.
It’s built on the Range Rover Sport platform, the one with aluminium architecture. It’s grown longer by 14cm, while losing a considerable amount of weight – 480kgs to be exact. Th e ride comfort is better than before, helped by the optional air suspension. The terrain response is brilliant, too, and the wading depth is an impressive 90cm. What we have here is an extremely capable SUV with Land Rover genes – a seven-seater family car that can pull 3.5 tons of trailer weight. But is it still a Discovery?
Die-hard Land Rover fans, who are still reeling from the legendary Defender’s exit in 2016, might frown upon the new look. None would imagine bolting a ladder to the now single back door or fitting a bullbar to the front of the new Discovery. However, this model is still mighty adventurous. It’s just shaved, groomed and suited.