Get your leisure suit ready, because Disco is back! No, not the infernal audio craze of the 70’s, the rugged 4WD SUV from Land Rover. The Discovery is all new for 2017, and it shares nothing with its predecessors. Riding on the same chassis as the full size Range Rover and sport, the designers dropped a smaller body onto a proven foundation. We spent a week with a fully loaded example and made is forget discoveries of the past.
At first glance it is an appealing design. Since it rides on a full size chassis, there isn’t much overhang in front or behind the wheels. Not only does it make the Discovery appear larger, it allows it to be much more stable than its top-heavy ancestors. Our only gripe is the extreme forward rake of the C-pillar. It looks too much like every other midsize SUV. We also had the dynamic package which adds an aggressive body kit and 22″ wheels. It also replaces body color for dark accents and an ebony headliner. It will cost you $2,000 for the luxury and an additional $650 to black out the roof.
Driving the disco is a real treat. Starting at the top, the headrests are pillow soft with miles of adjustment. Shorter folks will also be happy that the infotainment screen is not as far away from the seats. The front interior is essentially a scaled-down Range Rover Sport with the same attention to fit & finish. Second row passengers have three seats that are perfect for three medium sized adults. Out back are two good sized seats that fold away on command. All surfaces are covered in Windsor leather in pleasing patterns.
Two sunroofs will brighten your day and ambient lighting rules the night. Because of the smaller size, the V8 engine won’t fit. The most potent offering is the 3.0 liter supercharged six shared across Jaguar and Land Rover and it makes 340 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque. Visibility is better than the full size models thanks to the sqared-off rear end. Unless you live in a gated community, the 22″ wheels are overkill. The ride quality is not on par with the Range series because the 22″ anchors are too heavy for cracked pavement.
Underneath is the venerable Terrain Respons 4WD system. With one of the only 2-speed transfer cases left in production, the differentials can be locked for a muddy or sand filled adventure. The offroad prowess is another reason to ditch the big wheels and keep a set of 20″ with all-terrain rubber. We kept it on the street, where acceleration could be better. You won’t win races but you will have seating for 7 and the ability to go anywhere. Of course, all the safety tech is included, and the lane keeping assist is on-point. The new Discovery HSE has a base price of $63,950 and a window sticker of $82,100. If you have been mulling a new Range, the Discovery is better in many ways and worth your consideration. Laird Hamilton and his wife were the first to receive theirs, and the photoshoot turned out better than our rain-soaked shots. Stay with us for all your Land Rover news.