However inconsistent and troubling the world has seemed in 2017, we have at least been able to rely on one thing: almost everybody with an interest in cars has expressed an opinion about the looks of the new Land Rover Discovery.
My principal one is that the diagonal pillars behind the rear doors are ugly and unobtrusive, but this is a secondary issue compared with what people are saying about the back end. The most damning comment I’ve heard so far is, “It looks like someone with a really crooked nose . . . on their arse.”
It’s certainly asymmetrical, but that also describes previous versions of the Discovery, and nobody made a fuss about those. The current model, however, has created ire to an extent not seen in the past. Even designer Gerry McGovern, not a man known for accepting criticism in a light-hearted manner, has come close to suggesting that all may not be well, though his explanation is, if you please, that dealers are fitting the wrong kind of number plate.
Does this matter? Not very much. If you own a Discovery, your main concern about its hindquarters is that the tailgate should open and shut properly. What it looks like probably isn’t going to keep you awake at night.
On the whole, it’s a very good car, as explained in this enthusiastic first drive report and this somewhat more critical road test of the 2.0 Sd4 HSE Luxury. The car being described here is almost exactly the same, other than the fact that it has a three-litre V6 diesel engine rather than a two-litre four-cylinder one.
This is one of the finest engines Jaguar Land Rover makes, and it sounds a lot better than the SD4. Oddly enough, it doesn’t add much to the price, and since the power difference is a mere 18bhp the performance isn’t a lot better either.
You do lose out on fuel economy: there’s a 4.3mpg gap in the EU test figures, and a week of none too hectic driving resulted in an average of around 35mpg. That’s about twice as good as I could have expected of a first-generation petrol V8 Discovery, so no complaints there, but these days anything less than 40mpg seems disappointing, even in a big diesel SUV, and it would take a lot of concentration to do better than that in the Td6.
Another odd feature about this Discovery is that, although it’s lighter than the last one, it feels more cumbersome on corners. If you’re off-roading (at which this car is immensely good) or cruising along A-roads and motorways (also one of its good points) there’s no problem, but for a smooth and enjoyable journey along a twisty highway I’d rather have one of the older models.
Engine size 2993cc
Top speed 130mph
0-62mph 8.1 seconds
Fuel economy 39.2mpg combined
CO2 emissions 189g/km
Towing capacity 3500kg (braked)
Euro NCAP (2017) Overall 5 stars Adult occupant 90% Child occupant 80% Pedestrian 75% Safety assist 73%
Information correct at publication date