New Land Rover Discovery - new seven-seat SUV debuts in Paris

Up to 480kg lighter than before, the new Discovery is more advanced than ever

‘The best family SUV in the world’ is how Land Rover describes its new Discovery. Going on sale in Spring 2017 with prices from £43,495, the new Discovery seats seven, offers a range of petrol and diesel powerplants, and packs the brand’s latest semi-autonomous technology.

It’s also significantly lighter than the previous model, thanks to aluminium construction like other recent JLR products. With weight savings of up to 480kg compared to the previous model, both efficiency and performance take large steps forward.

Styling is expectedly similar to the Discovery Vision Concept that debuted at the New York auto show in 2014, and also shares many cues with the more recently-introduced Land Rover Discovery Sport.

It’s a curvier shape than before with tall and narrow proportions that look awkward in pictures, though if the Discovery Sport is anything to go by the new Discovery should be easier than the eye once it hits the road.

One four-cylinder engine and two sixes are offered. The four is one of Jaguar Land Rover’s familiar 2-litre Ingenium diesels, producing 237bhp in this format with 369lb ft of torque, and combined fuel economy of 43.5mpg. Those seeking greater performance will opt for the six-cylinder diesel, which isn’t significantly more powerful at 254bhp but does develop 443lb ft.

Most powerful is the sole petrol option, another familiar unit in the form of a 3-litre supercharged V6. It develops 335bhp and 332lb ft of torque - enough to launch the Discovery to 62mph in 7.1sec, compared to 8.1sec for the TDV6 and 8.3sec for the four-pot car. Economy is the inverse of performance, with the TDV6 achieving 39.2mpg and the Si6 at 26mpg.

The Discovery’s interior versatility has always been a major selling point, and with a cabin not dissimilar to that of the smaller Discovery Sport and the upmarket Range Rover range - but furnished with seven proper seats - it should remain so with the new model.

The rearmost pair of seats has been designed to comfortably accommodate 95th percentile adults - which means people up to 6’2” tall should be able to fit without too much of a squeeze. It’s possible to specify high-quality materials throughout, from Windsor leather trim to oak veneers, while the car’s infotainment system is JLR’s latest InControl Touch Pro with a 10-inch touchscreen.

There’s neat technology elsewhere too. True to the Disco’s outdoorsy image, the car comes with an ‘Activity Key’ wristband, which allows you to disable the standard key and lock it inside the car while you’re pursuing suitably ‘lifestyle’ activities, ensuring you don’t lose the standard key.

In the knowledge that many customers will use their Discovery for towing, the new car also features Tow Assist, that can semi-autonomously help park a car and trailer combination, while a Hitch Assist uses the car’s external cameras to help you line up a trailer to attach it.

Air suspension can raise or lower the car for off- or on-road use and allows you to adjust the rear ride height from the key fob, another feature handy for hitching a trailer. And out on the road, there’s a full suite of safety and convenience systems, from parking assistance to blind spot detection and lane keeping assist.

Pricing starts from £43,495 for a car in S trim, rising to £49,495 for SE, £56,995 for HSE and £62,695 for HSE Luxury. The first 600 cars in the UK will come in First Edition specification (£68,295 with the TDV6) with 22-inch alloy wheels, a contrasting black roof, black accents inside and out, and a host of other technologies.

Visit our sister site Carbuyer for an alternative view on the new Discovery.

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