LAND Rover has made sure that the type of embarrassing incident which happened to one of their arch German rivals does not happen to a Discovery owner when using the vehicle for wading through a river or deep water in difficult off-road conditions where the vehicle is arguably the best in the world writes Bryan Longworth.
The problem arose when the luxury German 4x4 was driven into a fast flowing Scottish river on a Press launch and almost disappeared in unexpected very deep water with the driver having to be rescued through the sunroof and the car eventually being towed to dry land an obvious write-off.
This would not happen to the latest Discovery I have just been testing for it was fitted with a wade sensing device which warns the driver of the depth of water ahead of the vehicle so they can avoid driving through it if it is too deep for the safety of the driver and any others inside the car.
The depth of water ahead and the recommended driving water depth are shown on the information touch screen in the centre of the fascia which also displays other information including a panel indicating to the driver the exact location of the car at all times that will be very useful especially when travelling abroad and getting lost.
Wade sensing was part of an exterior detection pack costing £750 on my test car the Discovery HSE priced at £59,965 on the road which was powered by the very smooth and quiet three litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine with eight speed automatic transmission that had a top speed of 112mph, a zero to 60 mph time of 8.8 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of 35.3mpg.
This latest Disco can easily be identified up front by the name Discovery in large letters on the front of the bonnet which have replaced the previous Land Rover lettering plus new headlights and radiator grille and under the massive bonnet there is now stop-start that has helped to reduce CO2 emissions to 213g/km and improve fuel consumption.
The latest version of the Discovery is still a major award winner after being voted top tow car by The Caravan Club and a friend who has a Discovery says it is the best car she has ever owned for towing a horse box and other heavy trailers which helps to make it such a favourite for the numerous owners interested in rural pursuits.
With its air suspension precise steering and superb visibility the Discovery is a delight to drive both on and off road and I was impressed by the performance from the diesel engine which helped to make it such an enjoyable vehicle for long distance trips.
The luxurious leather clad interior adds to the overall ambience and the controls and switchgear for the various functions especially those for off-road driving have been updated and are so user friendly.
In the rear of the car the two third row seats fold flat into the floor of the load area creating a massive space for baggage and the kit used for countryside pursuits - I suspect that the third row of seats will be folded for most of the time for owners to take full advantage of the load space.
The Discovery which first started life 25 years ago is now the perfect luxury 4x4 and it was hard to find anything to criticise - the only feature I would have appreciated was for the numerals on the digital part of the speedometer to have been larger and thus easier to see.
But Land Rover has done such a wonderful job in keeping the Disco bang up to date with design and technology that it is still one of the most sought after luxury 4x4s in the world despite all the competitors that have been launched in the past 25 years.
Verdict: Discovery just gets better and better.
Model: Land Rover Discovery HSE.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel.
Transmission: Eight speed automatic.
Top speed: 112mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 60mph 8.8 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 35.3mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 213g/km.
Price: £59,965 on the road.