The Land Rover Discovery has now won the heaviest weight class seven times in eight years, making it the most successful model in the history of the event.
It’s going to take a really superb car to beat it. Power, performance, stability, practicality – the Discovery has the lot.
This Land Rover makes towing seems easy. There are some quicker cars in the heaviest weight class this year, but do you really need to get from 30-60mph in less than 10.7 seconds? Overtaking in it is confident and decisive.
The Discovery stops as well as it goes, needing just 10.3m to bring car and caravan to a halt from 30mph. It’s not just the short stopping distance that impressed us, though; it’s the smooth and unflustered way the Discovery slowed down, with no bumping or barging from the caravan.
Big 4x4s don’t always perform at their best in the lane-change test, but the Discovery had no trouble with this violent emergency manoeuvre. There was some lean on the fastest run, but the Land Rover had no trouble staying on course or pulling the caravan straight again.
At motorway speeds the Land Rover sits firmly on the road, its well-judged suspension and a kerbweight equivalent of two small hatchbacks ensuring a van stays steady, even in crosswinds.
As for the hill start, the 1-in-6 slope is too modest to really test the Discovery. The car happily stopped and started again on a 1-in-3 gradient.
In everyday driving, the Discovery is comfortable and refined. Changes for 2014 (including the addition of a stop/start system) promise lower fuel bills than before.
The cabin is extremely practical, with space for seven and loads of luggage space when the third row of seats is folded away. A host of practical features, including self-levelling suspension, a Trailer Stability Programme and a reversing camera make for a very compelling package.