Trimming luxury features has not diminished the experience

Shaun Naidoo

Shaun Naidoo

If owning a Discovery 3 was just beyond your reach, then you will be glad to know that Land Rover have introduced the more affordable new Discovery TDV6 S.

Previously, the Discovery 3 was priced at about R450000 and was kitted out with features that were just cosmetic, and others defined the car as a true Land Rover.

The people at Land Rover went back to the drawing board to see what changes could be made to the car to make it more affordable, but would not compromise its identity and authenticity.

The idea was to remove certain features from the car that would result in a lower price, yet not take away from the overall spirit of Discovery.

The first change you will notice is the introduction of a six-speed manual gearbox, which replaces the previous automatic transmission.

This does not make it difficult to drive the Discovery off-road. For example, if you drive the car up a rocky surface, all you need do is engage the rock crawl mode and gently ease off the clutch. Once the car gains momentum, it will automatically adjust to the conditions and effortlessly climb over rocky terrain. At no point after take off does the driver need to react by slamming on the breaks or by adjusting gears.

If you are by nature a manual driver then you will find it difficult to refrain from reaching for your clutch and brake at every obstacle. But, do learn how to do this because the car is more than capable of handling rough conditions on its own.

Features such as air suspension, electronic rear diff lock and electronic park brake have been kept as standard because these are features that make the car a real Land Rover and removing them would compromise the soul of the car.

The last two seats at the back of the vehicle have been removed, making it a five-seater.

Other extras that have been taken out to help reduce the price include the panoramic view roof and the leather seats. These do not make the car feel any less "wow", but do help to achieve the primary objective of affordability.

The new Land Rover Discovery TDV6 S is definitely the idiot's guide to 4x4 driving. You do not need much previous off-road experience when you get behind the wheel of this car. All one needs to do is select the appropriate terrain response setting and the car does the rest. You merely hold and control the steering wheel.

After all these changes, the price of the new Discovery is R415000 and comes with all the normal back-up you would expect from Land Rover.

Happy Motoring.