The fifth-generation Discovery is officially available in South Africa and you may have noticed it looks different. Land Rover are calling it the “All-New Discovery” and they’ve dropped the numbering from it (since 4th-gen) so technically it’s not called the Discovery 5 as it’s being referred to, but rather fifth-generation. It can be a little confusing if you are unfamiliar with previous model names.
As you can tell, it’s a huge car, but I prefer what it looks like from the front, rather than the back. Land Rover managed to make this version at least 450kgs lighter than the previous-generation. What you should know up-front is that it seats 7 adults comfortably; and all three rows are available with heated seats. Having driven to Mozambique with my sisters last year, we struggled to find the right car hire that would hold all of us and luggage, so if you’re into road trips and have a big family, the new Discovery is perfect for that. The boot has up to a whopping 2500L of luggage space when the seats go down. Of course if you’re filling it to capacity, you would need to hire a trailer for luggage. Speaking about trailers, we got to test that capability as well, holding up to 480kgs. From what I understand, you program the Discovery with the trailer dimensions and it helps with doing the more technical stuff.
I drove both the diesel (Td6) on day one and the petrol (Si6) on day two, with the former being kitted out with a bunch of extras. And as you probably are aware by now, dear blog reader, my favorite of the two was the diesel. I tried the massaging seat function, cos why not?!
The all-new Discovery has loads of compartments everywhere, like on the centre console behind the climate control buttons; beneath the cup holders that has slots for mobile phones – it opens up to further reveal a deep compartment that holds up to 4x iPads and 2 water bottles; in the centre armrest cubby you will find more space, more cup holders (180 degree hinge) and an optional fridge underneath that holds 4x water bottles. There are apparently 2o hidden compartments and no, I did not find them all!
As a tech journalist, I’m going to focus on the tech inside the car that I absolutely loved. Roll your eyes, smirk, whatever, I don’t care; but I appreciate every single bit of technology that went into the car because tech is a part of our every day life. Some of you may prefer cutting it out when you go on holiday, which in 2017 I don’t fully understand, but anyway… if you’re not over-doing it, you don’t need to cut it out.
The car comes with InControl Touch Pro, a 10″ infotainment system that was first introduced on the Jaguar F-Pace and is filled with features you would need to learn how to use through a dealership. The system now has 35 apps available for both Android and iOS (news, weather, etc). The (optional) rear-seat screens can be controlled from the main panel and lets you mirror your tablet on the screen (great for kids entertainment).
There’s also an accompanying app for the car, which you would need to pair initially and gives you features like folding the seats; see where it’s parked (location); check fuel levels; lock and unlock; start remotely; and turn on climate control (like heating it up in winter before getting in). There is also Apple Watch support.
Extras include fitting it with 9x USB ports (with USB 3.0 support); HDMI; 6x 12v chargers; built-in WiFi through putting your SIM card in for up to 8 devices (winning); connecting to your phone’s data connection for access to the internet on the infotainment system; and 60GB SSD storage with 10GB dedicated to music and multimedia. The Meridian HiFi system has 14 speakers + sub-woofer, and also comes with wireless headphones.
Our drive included a fair amount of off-roading, and the car handled it well. We used a system called Terrain Response 2. Land Rover says “Terrain Response 2 can also be manually selected using a rotary controller, with modes for general driving; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; sand; and rock crawling. Each driving mode has a specific throttle mapping, drivetrain mode, steering response, suspension set-up, and traction control settings. For particularly challenging terrain, drivers can use All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) to autonomously maintain a suitable crawl speed, between 2- and 30km/h. This assistive technology allows the driver to concentrate solely on steering the vehicle as they negotiate off-road obstacles, without the distraction of operating the throttle or brake pedals.”
PIC BELOW: Me on the right – the boot can hold up to 3 people/300kgs.
We also tested the assistive technologies like off-road ABS for stopping on gravel surfaces; and features like Hill Descent Control, Gradient Release Control, Electronic Traction Control, and Roll Stability Control. These helped with driving through rocky roads, going through a river (water up to 600mm but maximum capability is 900mm), and up and downhills, where we didn’t accelerate or brake but let the Discovery handle everything. It’s a matter of trusting the car completely (I’ve tested these features on the Ford Ranger and Nissan Navara before). There’s also moments where you just have to wait for the car to sort of “think” about its next move, if that makes sense. So the semi-automated features don’t just happen instantly. These features were also tested when we towed a 480kg trailer. By the time I got out of the car, I almost couldn’t believe what I had just driven through.
Here’s me going through the river, thanks to Arthur Jones for the video:
— Arthur Jones (@arthurjonesSA) July 11, 2017
We also got to hear some tales around the campfire from the legendary Kingsley Holgate, who shared stories from his travels around Africa, and some of the unique situations he found himself in. His son Ross was also there sharing some of his experiences. Ross says he believes the heart of Land Rover belongs in Africa, and Mr Holgate says he thinks adventure is in everyone’s heart.
The pricing for the all-new Discovery starts at R980 000 (ex-VAT) for the diesel version and the petrol variant starts at around R1 018 500 (ex-VAT). You can build your own, kitted to whatever spec you want on the Land Rover website.
Thanks for the wonderful experience Land Rover!
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org