2017 Land Rover Discovery First Drive: Rounded but still grounded
– St. George, Utah
The first-ever Land Rover Discovery was only ever as real to me as the pages of my Automobile and Car magazines would allow. Growing up in Western Michigan, even the families of the rich kids I hung out with were more likely to have a loaded Grand Cherokee than a Range Rover; the British off-road brand somehow missed implanting itself in my young, car-guy conscience.
When I moved east for college, however, the ovoid green badge started to appear a lot more frequently. By that point, the late 1990s, Disco II was on the streets, and plenty of kids had conned their over-indulgent parents into believing only a very posh four-wheel-drive would carry them safely through the teeth of an Ann Arbor winter. I was a Honda geek and a sports car fan at that point in my life, but something in the combination of the English charm, almost cartoonish upright stance, and the achingly cool “Alpine glass” quarter windows in the roof all had me sold.
The first thing you’ll pay attention to is the transformation from rolling brick to something that can credibly be described as “sleek.”
In subsequent generations, the Discovery – or LR3 and LR4 here in the U.S. – was modernized but it never really lost that quintessential, functional-feeling boxy shape. Which is why, as I stared down the sleek, rounded, and altogether different lines of the 2017 Discovery, it was hammered home that Land Rover is really exploring uncharted territory with the model. Which is why there’s be...