With gas prices spiking to a two-year high last week in the Chattanooga area, there is an opening for diesel-powered vehicles to take center stage as more fuel-efficient alternatives to gas-powered cars, trucks and SUVs.
One of our favorite new diesels for 2017 is the redesigned Land Rover Discovery, which can be equipped with a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine. The diesel engine makes 254 horsepower with an eye-popping 443 pound-feet of torque.
Fuel economy is 26 miles per gallon highway and 21 mpg city, or 23 mpg in combined driving. For a vehicle this heavy, and with so much torque, those numbers are reason alone for luxury SUV buyers to give the Discovery diesel a look.
The Land Rover Discovery is available at Land Rover Chattanooga at 7648 Lee Highway.
-Just the facts: The Land Rover Discovery Luxury HSE diesel is a three-row SUV that has been redone for 2017. No longer a truckish, body-on-frame SUV, the Discovery shares a unibody platform with the Land Rover Range Rover. It features all-wheel-drive and eight-speed automatic transmission. An electronic air suspension improves the ride.
-How much? The base price of the Land Rover Discovery diesel is $65,950, but options can push the price significantly higher. Our fully-equipped Namib Orange tester retails for $79,995 with about $14,000 in options. The options include a $1,250 off-road package with locking differential and a safety-tech package ($2,350) that bundles adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition, lane-keep assist and blind-spot assist. A rear-seat entertainment package adds $2,270.
-Worthwhile option: The $650 tow package takes advantage of the Discovery's tremendous torque to allow it to pull up to 7,700 pounds. The Drive Pro safety tech package also makes sense for a vehicle in this price range, and would be important to maintain resale value.
-It's good for Chattanooga buyers because: It's an all-purpose luxury vehicle that works as a daily driver, a family hauler and a weekend playmate — if you're drawn to off-road pursuits (and don't mind scratching that Namib Orange paint).
-Cool stuff: The Discovery's new, softer exterior design raises it several rungs on the "cool" ladder. Land Rovers have become the aspirational vehicles for a generation of young Americans who have come to see them as rugged toys that also project affluence. The new Discovery looks more modern than the squared-off Discoveries of the past.
-We could do without: The $2,270 rear entertainment package option seems outdated. Two grand buys a lot of iPads and wireless Internet access.
-Best feature: Our tester is the quietest diesel-powered vehicle we have ever tested. The days of thinking of diesel engines as loud and dirty are behind us.
-While you are looking: Also check out the Mercedes-Benz GLE the BMW X5 or the Audi A7.
Contact Mark Kennedy at email@example.com.