Such tough checks on survivability and patency, prepared for the fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery in the wild West of the United States, would hardly have withstood all the contingent competitors. And he coped. And he managed to surprise me on the asphalt.
I remember only having seen photos of the new “Disco”, strongly doubted. “I do not believe!” Repeated the inner voice. Could this dandy with the appearance of a premium crossover, stuffed with electronics for the highest comfort and excellent handling on the asphalt, also with a load-bearing body, compare with the off-road capabilities of the former brutal Discovery? A real fighter, able to go to the most difficult expedition. Is the legendary patency of the model – already in the past? In short, the guys from Land Rover were intrigued by the full program. Maximizing the desire to quickly explore the whole truth about the fifth generation of Disco on the test in the wild states of the USA – Utah and Arizona.
Almost a climber. Or a swing on giants stones
A minute ago we were like surfers slipping on the slopes of the huge dunes of Arizona, now and then bathing the car in golden sand sprays. Caught the buzz from the ability to Disco fly on the quicksilver as a normal primer. And now we literally hang over a steep cliff, feeling the skin, how thresh, increasing our speed, our hearts. Below – almost an abyss. You look and it’s not easy: to fall almost like from the roof of a ten-story house. In addition, the snow that fell recently stopped melting, turning just quicksand into an absolutely insidious substance for the car.
But there is no way back. On the radio, they command: “Forward, but very slowly.” Accurately press on the pedal, and the SUV obediently dives into the unknown, dropping its glamorous face almost vertically down. For a moment, my colleague and I are already hanging on the straps. Uuuh! Do not somersault … True, the steep descent brings moral discomfort only in the first two seconds. Then you seem to relax, realizing how delicate and skillful the Hill Descent slope control systems are and how to prevent Roll Stability Control, as well as many electronic assistants controlling dozens of important vehicle parameters. I will not say that Disco went down the sandy cliff like on rails. Of course not. But he moved confidently and relatively smoothly, in time cutting off the slightest hint of slippage of the wheels. After this descent, skating on high dunes is perceived quite like an easy game.
And in a hundred kilometers, already in Utah, the car was waiting for another test. And let it not be so terrible, but, nevertheless, also impressive. Something like rock climbing. Our goal – a heap of stone boulders the size of a small house. Contemplating the giants, you are protesting inwardly: can this be done by somehow? No, of course. If you just have a fashionable crossover, you do not even need to think about “alpinism”. Will the new Discovery work? He’s too crossover. But the “clothes” in the case of this car is deceptive. I pressed the key on the panel between the seats, and lifted the body from the standard 208 to 283mm. And then everything is simple – in the menu system Terrain Response2 choose “stone” mode. And, stealthily, we begin the ascent. The main thing is not to rush. Literally, step by step. More precisely, according to the algorithm, the hanging-tilt-touching by a free wheel of a solid surface-again hanging … By the way, by all geometric characteristics (angle of entrance to 34 degrees, corner of the ramp 27.5 degrees and angle of exit 30 degrees), the new Discovery almost does not concede the former.
From the side, the exercise actually looks almost like mountaineering. Finally, at the top of the rock ridge, you translate the spirit, contemplating the unreal grandeur of the ancient canyons. And then absolutely calmly, finally believing in the full off-road capabilities of the new Discovery, you descend to the ground.
And then you are already driving straight to your hotel in the desert. No, not on the primer, but on sand with stones, thorns and pits. Why do we need asphalt, if you can cut the path in half? And save time: on the roads there are signs of speed limits, and in the field – complete freedom. Pneumosuspension is so clearly fulfills irregularities, which allows you to sweep under a hundred on such a light off-road, picking up a dusty tornado. I dream about everything, or does a comfortable flight on the rocks go awake? After all, if the car here is not bad at all, how much will it be on the normal asphalt?
Catching up Range Rover
It’s a pity there is no owner of the old “Disco” next to it. With pleasure I would check his intuition: I would blindfold my eyes and drive in my SUV. Do not hesitate even: he certainly would not have guessed that the model is the same, only the generation is fresh. One hundred percent. Nobody closed my eyes to me, but I still wonder: did not you just change the car? Or am I still driving the Range Rover? The sensations of the unreality of what is happening are especially hard to hit the brain when you find yourself on ordinary roads. Smoothness of the move compared with that brutal rogue is so much higher that it’s hard to believe – you control “Disco”, and not his older brothers from the premium segment. Yes, there is the merit of an enlarged wheelbase. Plus completely independent air suspension, ready to smooth out any defects in the coating. As a result, even the waves on the asphalt are not felt at all – almost in all conditions, an illusion of an even road is created.
And on the level of noise insulation, this car is more reasonable to compare with representative sedans, and not SUVs. Despite the strict speed limits, we still dispersed Disco to 200 kilometers per hour. And the noise in the cabin did not increase. It is clear, its role was played by improved aerodynamics – a fashionable design was created for a reason. The flat bottom, almost like in sports cars, allowing to drive away the air flow without excessive resistance, also relieves the salon of unnecessary sounds.
And most importantly – a special feeling of lightness, which you feel when driving this SUV. The weight of the car fell by half a ton compared to the old Discovery. Mainly due to aluminum, from which the body is 85%. Phenomenal result against the background of competitors who often boast, if the new generation manages to lose weight by a centner and a half. The combination of powerful three-liter petrol and diesel engines with cardinally reduced weight, however, does not give the car an overly aggressive character. Yes, the dynamics for the SUV is not bad. Perhaps its effect is leveled by smooth running, soundproofing and even shifting gears of the eight-speed automatic. Just do not notice the acceleration, as, for example, in another car.
The petrol V6 is almost perfect, but I still vote for the 249-hp diesel. A huge flat draft of 600 Nm in fact “from the baseboard” guarantees the pleasure of driving and power reserve in any traffic situations. In addition – a funny for a five-meter cache fuel consumption. I had an average of about ten liters per hundred. Unattainable for the former “Disco” result.
Surprisingly, especially for lovers of classic SUVs, will discover one more feature: and sharp turns now in a new generation car do not bother at all. This earlier on Discovery had to drop speed dramatically, insuring against dangerous rolls. And now lick turns can be like in a thoroughbred crossover with passenger manners – at ease or even unceremoniously. Electric power steering with variable effort, of course, devoid of sports settings, but still allows you not to lose the feeling of a constant connection with the car, even with a very active style of driving.
It would Seem, incongruous advantages. It turns out, the spirit of adventure and the passion for off-road provocations inherited by modern Discovery by inheritance, combined in its genotype with exemplary behavior in the style of the most perfect crossovers. Created from paradoxes? Usually it’s either one or the other. And here – a symbiosis of opposites. And I personally just do not see any worthy competitors offering something like that. Without conventions and reservations.
By the way, at least two declared advantages of an off-road car remained unchecked in real conditions. The ability to overcome the ford depth to 90 centimeters (20 more than the predecessor). And a system that allows you to cope with towing a trailer or trailer back up even a beginner. What is not the reason for new meetings with a crook in a glamorous dress?
Photo of the author and Land Rover.
St. George’s (Utah)
Land Rover Discovery Specifications