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First Drive: Land Rover Discovery

By Kristen Shirley

This story originally appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of Elite Traveler.

As our army of helicopters zoomed above Zion National Park and began to descend towards our fleet of the brand new Land Rover Discovery, the thrill really started to set in. It was clear from the landscape we’d seen overhead that Utah has challenging off-roading conditions and were going to put the Discovery to the test. But even then, we had no idea what was in store for us. Off-roading through the desert, climbing up cliffs, tearing down the Coral Pink Sand Dunes and reaching the top of the stunning mesas allowed us to use nearly every specialized mode in the car’s arsenal.

The 11.14in ground clearance and 34-degree approach angle enables the car to clamber over pretty much anything. As seen here, we climbed up and over tricky obstacles in an exhilarating, albeit slightly terrifying, obstacle course. Using the rock crawl setting, the car controlled the engine and braking and we could focus on steering. And in the middle of all that, while perched at a seemingly impossible angle, we opened the car doors to test the vehicle’s strong construction; they opened and closed seamlessly.

If you’re not the off-roading type, the Discovery has been thoughtfully adapted for everyday living. From the keyless entry with a waterproof activity wristband to the front-center console cooler and the 11in bench at the tailgate, there are countless ways the car makes life easier. For technology enthusiasts and fidgety children, the Discovery has you covered with six 12v charging ports, nine USB ports, entertainment system and in-car Wi-Fi hotspot. You can even change the seat configuration from your smartphone, so as soon as you arrive at your car it’s ready for your passengers or cargo. There’s also adaptive cruise control, intelligent speed limiter and several parking assist functions.

The Land Rover Discovery in Numbers

6.9 sec from 0-60mph
8,201lb towing capacity
340hp V-6 engine
11.14in ground clearance
35.4in wading depth
82.7cu ft of storage

Discovery First Edition from $73,950, landrover.com