To showcase the durability and versatility of their new, completely remodeled 2017 Discovery, Land Rover confidently invited auto journalists worldwide to drive their highly-anticipated SUV on some of the most challenging surfaces Mother Nature could craft. Taking on Utah’s various landscapes—from the rugged terrain of Canyon Point to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes alongside dune buggies—the fifth-generation Discovery successfully confirmed its rebirth.
Drivers were instructed on how and when to activate the several driver assistance technologies such as All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) to effectively handle off-road surfaces, gun the HSE’s 340-horsepower engine to apex towering hills of unforgiving sand, and even balance the vehicle on three of the four 20-inch alloy wheels in desert regions. (Discovery wheels have the option to range from 19 to 22 inches.)
Pampering luxuries also shared the spotlight while maneuvering on highway roads and curvy roadways of the visually stunning and mountainous Zion National Park. Up to seven adults could have been seated comfortably in the Discovery’s three rows arranged stadium style; the Intelligent Seat Fold makes passenger entry and storage virtually effortless using Land Rover’s exclusive InControl Remote via smartphone activation. The Active Key certainly garnered high regards as well; it’s a waterproof wristband that can lock and unlock the vehicle to eliminate toting a fob which is intended for the more, well, active consumer. Other standouts included the theater-esque Meridian 825-watt sound system booming from 16 speakers and subwoofer; a surround camera; 10-inch display monitor; multi-sectioned, tinted panoramic sunroof; nine USB ports; Bluetooth; a 3G WiFi hotspot (for up to eight devices); six 12-volt charging points; an optional powered Inner Tailgate; and posh leather cabin leave virtually nothing to desire.
And to no worries, there is still a beast alongside the beauty. The aggressive, eight-speed, 3.0-liter V-6 supercharged heart of the HSE can reach 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds and boasts 8,201-pound towing capacity.
Surely, there was some concern to win over Discovery traditionalists especially considering the more sleek, aerodynamic, and curvaceous facelift of yesteryear’s boxier frame. (Determinedly, Land Rover did preserve a few of Discovery’s traditional attributes including the stepped roofline and C-pillar design.) However, considering the plethora of introduced enhancements, technologies, and driving capabilities, Land Rover’s multiple U.S. trims of their reemerged SUV (SE, HSE, HSE Luxury, and optional Black Design package) not only met expectations, but exceeded them.
Pricing: Starting at $49,990 for the SE model, my reviewed HSE was base-priced at $56,950.
Gas mileage: 16 city miles per gallon, 21 highway, 18 combined