Disco sales struggled for a year or two with the arrival of a modernised mid-life model. But buyers came to realise that the model was (a) still a good thing and (b) the one you can buy, whereas the Defender is subject to a long waiting list and stock models are vanishingly rare.
That’s the basis for this story: what’s it like to run the full-sized Land Rover that you can actually get? Even our test car has followed the ‘what’s available’ principle: it was initially specified as a short-loans demonstrator, so it has already done 8000 miles. As with most things, this has good and bad aspects. Among the positives, there’s no need to run it in.
Among the negatives, there was no chance to deliberate over its specification and, of course, no showroom-fresh feeling, even though it came to us in perfect condition. Mind you, that ready-specified aspect can rapidly be turned into an advantage. How company people equip their own cars can be very telling. They know what matters – where the value is and what to leave out.
Thus our Disco 5 is a D300 R-Dynamic HSE, which makes it telling. They know what matters – where the value is and what to leave out. Thus our Disco 5 is a D300 R-Dynamic HSE, which makes it a fast and powerful, road-oriented seven-seater on the plush side of par – but with a relatively modest (for a Landie) suite of options that enhance its off-road capability and make it a great tow car. That’s the recipe for most people’s ideal Disco.
I’m hard to impress when it comes to specifying options, but I almost completely approve of this vehicle’s spec. The only things I would have left out are a £1900 heating system for the third row of seating (I will never use it) and the £490 privacy glass, because I happen to dislike the way black windows make cars look.
I have to acknowledge that they make life harder for those who nick stuff from cars, though. This is my third Discovery (I had a 3 and a 4 as well), and although it started its life less popular than the others, it has displayed exactly the same attributes as its predecessors during the 2000 miles that I’ve put under its wheels in barely a month.