The all-new Land Rover Discovery 3
The Land Rover Discovery 3 is an all-new, premium SUV that offers class-leading breadth of capability, innovative user-friendly technology, distinctive design and a spacious interior that can comfortably accommodate up to seven adults
"A true Land Rover, the Discovery 3 benefits from a clarity of purpose and conviction that is evident from its clean design, versatility and outstanding driving experience. Like all new Land Rovers, it's great to drive on-road, as well as being best-in-class off-road," said Matthew Taylor, managing director, Land Rover.
The Discovery 3 also introduces sophisticated new technologies, among them Land Rover’s patented Terrain Response™ system, previewed on the recent Range Stormer concept car. This optimises driveability and comfort, as well as maximising traction. The driver simply chooses one of five terrain settings via a rotary switch on the centre console: a general driving programme, plus one for slippery conditions (known as ‘grass/gravel/snow’) and three special off-road modes (mud/ruts, sand, rock crawl). Terrain Response then automatically selects the most appropriate settings for the vehicle’s advanced electronic controls and traction aids – including ride height, engine torque response, hill descent control, electronic traction control and transmission settings.
"With Terrain Response, it’s like having an expert alongside you, to help you get the best out of the vehicle whatever the conditions, on-road or off," added Matthew Taylor.
Another innovation is the Integrated Body-frame™ structure, which has allowed Land Rover to deliver all the comfort, refinement and on-road attributes of a monocoque, while continuing to set new standards in off-road performance. The Discovery 3 also features adaptive headlights that swivel with the direction of travel to illuminate the road ahead.
Dynamic on-road performance
Dynamic on-road performance is a top priority for the Discovery 3. The top-of-the-range engine is a specially developed 4.4-litre version of Jaguar’s acclaimed V8 petrol engine. Changes for Land Rover use include increased capacity (from 4.2 litres), more low-end torque, enhanced dust- and water-proofing, and revised breathing to enable the car to wade rivers as well as cruise highways. In Land Rover guise, the engine must also be able to run at acute angles for extreme off-road use.
The top-selling engine in Europe is likely to be Land Rover’s new, smooth and flexible 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel (not available in North America), a common rail unit that uses variable geometry turbocharging
The third engine in the line-up (for selected markets only) is a petrol 4.0-litre V6, a version of one of the world’s best-selling SUV powerplants now further developed for Land Rover use.
All three engines offer strong on-road performance, with full-time four-wheel drive. Both petrol derivatives are matched to a six-speed automatic ‘intelligent shift’ transmission, also available with the diesel though this is offered with a six-speed manual as standard.
On-road driving and refinement are enhanced by fully independent suspension all round, using air springs on most models. This is height adjustable, to assist with entry and exit, and to boost ground clearance to help off-road performance.
"The design of the Discovery 3 is derived from its capability. Everything you see has been done for a reason," said design director Geoff Upex. "The priority was to give the passengers and driver a superb cabin environment, with more headroom and greater comfort. It has big, deep glazing, because that provides greater airiness and a better view."
It is also unambiguously a Land Rover. "An absolute priority was that nobody could mistake this vehicle for anything else," said Upex. "It had to look thoroughly modern, bold and distinctive."
Unique Land Rover design cues include its bold, geometric vertical and horizontal elements; its stepped roof (to boost headroom); its asymmetric rear tailgate (to reduce load height when the lower part of the tailgate is closed, and reduce ‘reach in’ distance when opened); the use of an air intake on only one side of the body (it’s all that was needed); and its large glazed areas.
The driver enjoys Land Rover’s traditional ‘command' seating position, while all the rear passengers get stadium seating – progressively higher than the seats in front, offering a clearer view. The optional third row of seats serve up great comfort, and are big enough to accommodate 95th percentile adults.
Large doors provide easy access, with both second and third rows entered from the centre doors. Cleverly designed seating further improves the outstanding versatility, including fold-flat rear seats in both second and third rows, to give huge load-carrying possibilities.
The all-new Discovery 3 replaces Land Rover’s segment-defining Discovery, the best-selling large SUV in many European countries since its launch in 1989. The new vehicle goes on sale later this year, depending on market.
Text/Photos: Land Rover