After a week of on-road, off-road and track testing, detailed analysis and lively debate, the Land Rover Discovery is the 2017 carsales Car of the Year.
A wildcard entrant to the 2017 field and once purely defined by its 4x4 credentials, the fifth-generation Disco now offers so much more. It’s as much about people-moving in luxury and calm as it is off-road adventure.
Pitched against sophisticated family cars, frugal hatches, luxurious sedans, potent performance cars and one tech-savvy e-car, and one of several SUVs on test, the Discovery is an unexpected yet deserved winner in 2017.
The big British 4x4 outperformed our returning 2016 winner, the popular Mazda CX-9, as well as several all-new cars including the Audi Q5 and fellow wildcard, the Honda CR-V.
But its strongest competition was the much-praised Hyundai i30. The Korean hatch has grown up in this new generation. So much so, it came within a whisker…
But judged against the carsales Car of the Year criteria, the Discovery showed particular strength when it came to dynamic performance, packaging, refinement, safety and design innovation.
With the choice of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder or 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engines, five- or seven-seat capacity, optional multi-terrain drive modes, air suspension and a towing capacity of up to 3500kg, this spacious, state-of-the-art Land Rover has the many needs and wants of Australian buyers well and truly covered.
The Discovery S Td4 costs around $66000 and pricing extends north of $130,000. A comprehensive list of options is also yours for the taking.
A new aluminium monocoque chassis makes the significantly lighter fifth-generation Discovery more efficient than ever (fuel consumption is as low as 6.2L/100km), but it is on-road performance that benefits most from its drastic weight reduction (around 460kg).
Now far more than just an accomplished off-roader, Land Rover’s proven family workhorse brings an unprecedented breadth of ability that will further widen its appeal. Its refinement and ease of use is, again, unexpected.
As progress would have it, the Disco’s interior has also moved upmarket – and with it the benchmark has lifted. Thoughtful inclusions such as tri-zone climate-control, multiple 5V USB points, electric front and rear seats and a powered tailgate are a nod to modern family matters of importance.
Then there are safety and driver-assist technologies like autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, radar cruise control, a reversing camera with parking aids, hill descent control and hill launch assist, just to name a few.
In a year that saw SUVs outsell passenger cars for the first time in Australia, perhaps it should be no surprise that the fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery takes the title… It is, above all, a carsales Car of the Year for the changing tastes of Aussie new car buyers.