Quick Spin: Land Rover Discovery is quiet, smooth, luxurious

Quick Spin: Land Rover Discovery is quiet, smooth, luxurious

September 17th, 2017 by Mark Kennedy in Business Diary

The Land Rover Discovery diesel gets decent fuel economy for a vehicle its size.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The Land Rover Discovery diesel has one of the classiest interiors in the luxury SUV class.

The Land Rover Discovery diesel has one of...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

View other Test Drive stories by Mark Kennedy

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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 mkennedy@timesfreepress.com.