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Land Rover's latest Disco show

21.03.2014

The name Land Rover Discovery is synonymous with adventure and off-roading and now there’s a new model that promises to grow on this.

The changes to the new Discovery may not be noticeable at first glance, but they can certainly be felt. Probably the biggest change is the introduction of a supercharged V6 petrol engine as the trend of downsizing continues. While the much-loved V8 may be making way for a slightly smaller powertrain, this mighty supercharged engine is no slouch. It boasts impressive credentials of 250kW of power and 450Nm of torque.

Of course, the major benefit can be seen in the fuel-economy department, where a fuel saving of up around 2.0 litres/100km can be enjoyed over the outgoing V8, as the SCV6 consumes 2 litres/100km with a corresponding CO2 rating of 285g/km. The popular 3.0 SDV6 with a class-leading 183kW and 600Nm is retained, as is the 155kW/520Nm 3.0 TDV6 stalwart. What has changed is that all powerplants are now mated to an eight-speed ZF auto transmission.

The new gearbox certainly offers an engaging drive and power transfer from engine and wheels is perfectly balanced. We may see the Discovery as a high-riding vehicle in a stylish tux, but it’s by no means a pretender as we found out in the muddiness that was Botswana at time of writing.

Thanks to its strong off-road heritage, this suit-wearing Land Rover isn’t shy to challenge any terrain and delivers a superbly comfortable drive while making short work of the dirt. Some of the alterations made to the Disco’s tux include a revised front grille and bumper with new daytime running lights as well as two sporty new sets of shoes in the form of redesigned alloy
wheels.

The addition of the all-new Wade Sensing system (also found in the Range Rover Sport) is a nice touch, as is the Extended Navigation system fitted as standard from MY14. In a first for availability as a factory fitted integrated system, the Discovery comes with the latest generation of Tracks4Africa, a suite of 16 maps of rural areas with impressive detail, much of its content being user-driven. For example, in Angola it maps nearly 20 000 roads and tracks and details more than 2 500 points of interest.

Arguably the biggest talking point, however, is the newly appointed changes to the ever-popular Range Rover Evoque, which still tops the ‘most wanted’ list of premium compact SUVs. So to help get more bums in seats, the British manufacturer has added a slightly down-specced Evoque to its offerings in the hope to lure new buyers. It’s aptly named the Evoque Pure. But a new entry-level Evoque isn’t all that’s new, but the inclusion of a new nine-speed automatic transmission is. It is among the world’s first nine-speed units to be housed in a passenger car.

The benefits include the all-important improved efficiency and reduced emissions. Getting behind the wheel of the Evoque, the gear changes are swift and seamless. Although we didn’t get to truly stretch its legs on the long run, the new gearbox is refined and responsive. The inclusion of the acclaimed Terrain Response condition-specific matrix gives the 2014 Evoque the ability to master just about any driving environment. 

On the launch, we exposed the Evoque to a lot more than it would usually endure - from nasty dirt roads to rock-littered streets with undulating bumps - but besides a few punctures, this pavement hopper proved it isn’t shy to get muddy with the best of them. But for all those who want to hit the streets in style, a few changes to the Evoque come purely in the form of new colour options and four new alloy wheel styles, along with a new badge on the grille.

The only way to differentiate it from the previous model is by the slightly smaller mirrors. The model line-up now consists of three equipment grades: the new Pure along with the existing Prestige and Dynamic models.

Article written by Stuart Moir
21.03.2014
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