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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Landmark Motoring

After being cooped up during lockdown, it was the best day I’d had in months – a magnificent machine to play within a magnificent location. Plus, the panoramic sunroof was perfect for this petite amateur birder and photographer to get some height when trying to get a decent shot.

The Discovery Landmark Edition was launched in 2019 to celebrate three decades of the Land Rover Discovery and it feels like a celebration to drive it. With a 190kW/600Nm 3.0-litre TD6 engine paired with 8-speed automatic transmission, the Discovery Landmark Edition combines comfort and luxury with grunt and speed.

Land Rover calls the Discovery the “ultimate go-anywhere SUV” and I wanted to go everywhere in this car. Built on the Discovery SE, the Landmark Edition adds the Dynamic Pack, which includes a sexy front bumper design, and Narvik Black mesh grille, fender vents and nameplate scripting on the bonnet and tailgate, plus Landmark badging on the tailgate. It’s like the SE’s suave influencer sibling – it just begs to be photographed.

The exterior has a fixed panoramic roof, front fog lights and signature taillights. Privacy glass and 20-inch Gloss Black wheels complete the effect. Inside, the high-quality finishes whisper “luxe”, whereas the 380W Meridian Sound System will blast it if you like.

It’s a dream to drive, especially in the great outdoors. The Discovery’s air suspension is famous, and for good reason. It’s like floating along on a personal cloud, which is nice enough when you’re on the highway or cruising around the suburbs, but it truly comes into its own on a corrugated dirt road.

As much as I loved playing with the off-road modes, raising and lowering the suspension and squealing in glee as the Discovery made light of rocky ridges and sandy hairpin bends, most of the driving I did with it was in town, and it impressed me there, too.

You expect a luxury SUV to come packed with technology, and the Discovery does, but there are also some small practical design features that show just how much thought has gone into the vehicle. My favourite is the small recess in the boot that allowed me to transport fragile groceries and even a set of potted orchids without danger of them being flung around while cornering at speed. I also loved the fact that the middle row of seats slides forward and backwards like the front seats, and that the tow-hitch retracts when not in use.

…the Discovery made light of rocky ridges and sandy hairpin bends…

The controls are a bit different to what I’m used to – there’s a sleek knob to dial instead of a gear lever – but it’s very intuitive (I can attest to this, given that I was handed the keys as I was leaving for a meeting and had to learn the controls on the fly).

The entertainment console connected effortlessly with Android Auto and the Google Assistant, which I hadn’t previously used. In fact, one night I was explaining to my husband how Google Assistant works. “You just say something like, ‘Ok, Google. What’s the weather like in Cape Town?’” I said. We then both nearly had a heart attack when a voice calmly responded in a clear British accent from my phone in the next room!

The Discovery Landmark Edition is built for modern living and city style and is a classy beast of a vehicle. But if you’re looking for something slightly more rugged in appearance, that prioritises off-road capability and which offers more customisation than ever available on a Land Rover to date, you might consider the new Land Rover Defender 110.

The Discovery Landmark Edition is built for modern living and city style and is a classy beast of a vehicle.

The name is a nod to the 110-inch wheelbase of the previous generation, and the Defender 110 body style offers a choice of five, six or 5+2 seating configurations and a loadspace ranging from 1,075 litres behind the second row to 2,380 litres with seats folded. Coming soon is a short-wheelbase version, Defender 90, with seating for up to six.

You can choose from the flagship 3.0-litre straight 6-cylinder P400, with Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology (outputs of 294kW and 550Nm), or two 2.0-litre variants. The P300 turbocharged petrol offers 221kW and 400Nm, while the D240 twin-turbocharged diesel option produces 177kW and 430Nm.

The Defender 110 has a ground clearance of up to 291mm and maximum suspension articulation of 500mm. Then there’s that glorious air suspension, which provides an off-road ride height lift of 75mm and floating-cloud comfort. An additional 70mm of lift means the body can be raised by a maximum of 145mm when needed, while the aptly named Elegant Arrival mode automatically lowers the body by 50mm so you can get out of the vehicle easily.

There are four specs available: the base Defender, S, SE and HSE models. All versions feature permanent all-wheel drive with a high and low-range transfer box, air suspension, Terrain Response, LED headlights, Connected Navigation, 3D surround cameras, 10-inch Pivi Pro infotainment, a driver condition monitor, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Smartphone Packs.

Furthermore, you can choose to customise your Defender 110 with one of four packs: Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban. Each is designed to tailor your ride to your lifestyle.

As with all Land Rover models since 2016, the Defender 110 is also capable of receiving remote updates, meaning it can download data while you’re sleeping, updating its electronics without you needing to visit a Land Rover retailer.

The Land Rover Discovery Landmark Edition retails from R1,373,000, while the Defender 110 retails from R1,050,100. More information at www.landrover.co.za.

Author:  Tamara Oberholster

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