While many will fixate on the mid-engined hypercars and electric hatchbacks at the Paris motor show, the cars families will come away most wanting will be the seven-seat SUVs. While Skoda, Peugeot and VW will all show such cars in Paris, many will consider the new Land Rover Discovery.
Riding on a much lighter aluminium chassis that saves a whopping 480kg compared to the outgoing model the Discovery is once again a full seven-seater and this time all the back seats can be folded not just electrically, but remotely by mobile phone.
The new Discovery gets a full suite of electronic driver aids, including Land Rover's new All Terrain Progress Control, which gets the car moving on slipper surfaces. It also gets a towing assistant system to aid when trying to reverse with a trailer or a horse box (Discovery owners tend to buck the SUV trend and still use their vehicles for hard work…) while in the cabin you'll find as many as nine USB ports and a 3G wifi hotspot.
The Discovery takes on a mix of cues from the Range Rover Sport and Discovery Sport, but loses its old split tailgate (there is a fold-out seat in the boot though, which can hold 300kg). The is some vestigal remains of the old stepped "alpine' roof though - a faint lift at the rear end and a slight wraparound from the panoramic glass roof.
Inside the cabin is lifted more or less directly from the Range Rover Sport, but there has been a considerable climb in overall quality from the current model, and it will get the new 10-inch touchscreen, which should finally drag Land Rover’s infotainment into the 21st century. And yes, it still gets the iconic ‘Curry Hook’ for bringing home a takeaway.
Land Rover hasn't forgotten that its customers like both practicality and ruggedness – the boot expands to a maximum of more than 1,200 litres without folding the second row seats, while the Discovery can tackle standing water of almost a metre in depth, while towing up to 3,500kg.
The biggest change of all is the introduction of a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, the smallest engine ever fitted to any Discovery model. It's a twin-turbo version of the existing Ingenium 2.0-litre unit already in service in the Discovery Sport, Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar F-Pace. It boasts 240hp and 500Nm of torque, and brings the Discovery's fuel consumption down to 47mpg, and it's Co2 emissions down to as low as 159g/km, depending on the model – meaning it will cost €570 a year to tax, the cheapest motor tax ever for a full-size Discovery. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine will continue on sale, upgraded to 258hp and 600Nm of torque.
UK Discovery prices will start from STG£43,000, a slight drop in price compared to the outgoing model. Will we see a similar price cut in Ireland? We’ll have to wait till the new year find out.