Photo courtesy of Jaguar Land Rover.
Land Rover vehicles are known for providing plenty of off-road capability in a luxury package with features such as selectable terrain modes and air suspensions that allow off-road drivers to configure the vehicles for particular terrain.
While the vehicles have been gaining more and more of a luxury sheen in recent years, the 2017 Discovery is somewhat of a return to the fundamentals as a vehicle that can survive the rugged southern Utah desert as well as a weekend trip to a high-end shopping mall.
We've seen the arrival of new sub-brands from Jaguar Land Rover's Land Rover division in recent years with the Discovery nomenclature reemerging for the 2015 model year with the Discovery Sport compact luxury SUV that replaced the LR2. The newly launched Discovery replaces the larger LR4 that evolved from the LR3 and earlier Discovery II models.
These more utilitarian vehicles compared to the trio of Range Rover models offer a subdued luxury and capability to burn.
We tested the Discovery, which was introduced ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show, on a media drive that took us into the varied terrain along the Utah-Arizona border that includes icy, mountainous roads at 10,000 feet of elevation, rain-soaked sand dunes, and sloping rocky trails replete with Navajo sandstone and limestone painted with a red varnish.
Land Rover is offering the Discovery with a pair of engine choices, including a supercharged gasoline 3.0L V-6 that makes 340 horsepower and a 3.0L V-6 diesel model that makes 254 hp. Both offer plenty of power, and the diesel charged through several muddy tracks with an easy confidence.
The vehicle's Terrain Response 2 offers at least five modes to configure transmission, suspension and traction settings, including Auto, Rock Crawl, Mud and Ruts, Sand, as well as Grass, Gravel, and Snow.
On the inside, the Discovery provides an array of seating options to accommodate various seating configurations over two or three rows with storage for up to seven passengers. The Discovery offers cargo from 9.1 cubic feet with three rows up to 85 cubic feet when seats are folded down.
Jaguar Land Rover has made a more aggressive push into the corporate car allowance market in recent years by offering a fleet program with incentives. With the popularity of small and mid-size SUVs, the Discovery would make an able choice for an executive with an active weekend lifestyle.