Land Rover Discovery has always been almost the last word in off-road abilities of an SUV. The new Discovery, launched last week, is now almost the last word in luxury too. Gone are the brute looks of the Discovery 4, this fifth-generation Discovery looks more urbane, and a bit more like its competitors (Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLS, Volvo XC90). At the same time, the Discovery’s decades-old design language has not been tampered with. It’s just that the designers have rounded off, or smoothened, a few squarish areas on the body. The Discovery 5 gets posh, too. We spend a few minutes inside the cabin and it’s made of some of the finest quality materials you’d expect in a luxury car. And it’s versatile. For example, its Intelligent Seat Fold system enables configuring seating arrangement from inside the vehicle. Then there’s gesture control, which allows opening of the main tailgate with the wave of the foot on either side of the vehicle. A first for a Land Rover vehicle is the Activity Key, a waterproof wristband that locks and unlocks the vehicle, allowing outdoor activities without carrying keys.
We also briefly experienced its 4×4 abilities, and here too there are many improvements. For example, the Discovery 5 has a wading angle of 900mm; in other words, it can easily cross a stream, just keep the speed of the flowing water in mind. If you want to do some serious off-roading in a desert or rocky terrain, its approach angle (34-degree), ramp angle (27.5-degree) and departure angle (30-degree) help. With electronics controlling braking, throttle response and traction, you don’t have to be a pro to take it off the road. There are two engine options: 3.0-litre diesel (190kW) and 3.0-litre petrol (250kW). Prices start at Rs 71.38 lakh (ex-showroom).