What Car? Awards 2012 website
Land Rover Discovery
3.0 SDV6 XS
List price £43,345 Target Price £40,950
If the blizzard conditions of recent UK winters are anything to go by, it seems inevitable that a lot more of us will be working from home in the future. Not if you own a Land Rover Discovery.
With its intelligent Terrain Response System, complete with smart 4x4 traction control and almost infinitely adjustable ground clearance, the only thing that will delay your journey will be stopping to rescue stranded neighbours.
It almost beggars belief that a car so adept in such dire conditions can also be so comfortable and refined when the skies turn blue again.
Slot the drive controller into its highway setting and the air suspension lowers and settles into magic-carpet mode. Battle-scarred urban streets are magically transformed into five-star hotel driveways, while concrete-covered motorways seem smoother than a Barry White album.
The latest version of the Disco has the power to match the glory, too, thanks to its 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine. It’s smooth and strong, and its awesome supply of confidence-inspiring acceleration means overtaking manoeuvres can be carried out with something of a swagger.
Equally, the latest chassis revisions for 2010 have turned the Disco into a much more manageable car. Thanks to its active chassis, it corners neatly and securely, with surprisingly little body roll.
There’s still no disguising that this Land Rover is a mammoth car, especially when you come to shuffle it into a suburban parking slot for the first time.
Fortunately, the commanding driving position, reversing sensors and squared-off front and rump mean this isn’t as daunting as you might imagine.
Of course, big on the outside means big on the inside, with room for seven adults. The seats also fold flat onto the floor, the tailgate splits and there’s a fair bit of luggage space, even with a full complement of passengers aboard. The Disco is as spacious and versatile as the biggest MPVs.
What’s more, no people-mover can begin to approach the sublime quality and sumptuous comfort of a cabin crafted from the finest-quality materials. This and all its other attributes are what made choosing our 4x4 champion as easy as predicting that when the country next comes to a shivering halt, the Discovery will still be going strong.