Head bowed, I confess affection for the 2018 Navigator

For a hundred large, you can drive a work of engineering that has magically transformed a workhorse pickup truck into a luxurious SUV (sport-utility vehicle). From Lincoln.

Soft and almost cuddly design.

And not just any SUV, but one quiet as a church mouse; powerful as Thor (twin-turbo V-6 rated at 450 hp./510 lb.-ft. torque); technologically advanced as Fancy Bear, the hacker associated with Russian military intelligence; hulking as, well, The Hulk; stylish as a New York City loft; and comfy as an Eames Lounge Chair.

That’s the reworked Lincoln Navigator of 2018. And because this latest Navigator is a Lincoln, you will be driving something almost no one else has. I mean, BMWs, Mercs and Audis are as common as quarters, but last year just 8,107 Canadians bothered with a Lincoln.

And in all of 2017, barely 650 Canadians bought a Navigator. You want exclusive? Here you go.

But be forewarned: in the first quarter of 2018, Lincoln moved 332 Navigators. This big, fancy rig might be catching fire. Maybe that Matthew McConaughey pitch is working. The new design and aluminum construction are also doing their part, no doubt.

In any case, I am a little ashamed to admit that I thoroughly love the 2018 Navigator. It’s a guilty, overwrought pleasure that wounds my minimalist, middle-class sensibilities. But it’s also a gem and darn near a work of art. As if the Palace of Versailles had come to life on an F-150 platform. This is an American SUV fit for a Sun King.

If you buy a Lincoln, you’re in an exclusive club. A small, exclusive club.

The wealth of royalty is important, too. Aside from the price tag, there’s the fuel bill. Depending on how you drive and where, your Navvy will slurp down 16-17 litres/100 km of recommended premium fuel. My fill-ups ran to $115 each.

But as you fly along like a Stealth bomber on steroids, you can eyeball your real-time fuel consumption. A gaudy information readout is but one small piece of a stunning digital display that includes a surprisingly attractive TV-like screen mounted at the top of the console, just above a slash of air vents. Note to BMW: this is how it’s done.

As well, I have nothing but praise for the finally-mastered Sync system and all it can do, easily, without confusion. Infotainment and such made simple. Why can’t the Germans do this, or even come close?

But to the beginning.

The first indication you have of what’s in store with this Navvy comes as you approach. It detects your smart key, lights in the door handles come alive, the running boards (disguised as door sills) slide out and the word “Lincoln” is beamed onto the ground below the door. This never gets old; it’s as if your truck is bowing as you approach. Moreover, the Lincoln logo on the grille glows white at night. Lovely.

Luxurious and technologically advanced.

The overall exterior design, too, somehow manages to soften the look of a truly massive SUV – Hulk Hogan in Armani, without that ridiculous do-rag. The point is, this new design is all soft corners and gentle curves.

As for that latticework up front, past Navigators had a nose like the grille at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. We’re talking a massive, shiny, sharp-edged space generous enough to cook simultaneously all the cuts needed for a roomful of meaty gourmets: here for the tenderloin, there for the filet mignon, the T-bone, rib eye, and strip. The 2018 Navigator’s simple yet elegant eggcrate is utterly tasteful. What a change.

The cabin, meantime, is a triumph. Really. The Navvy’s Ford roots are devilishly disguised by luxurious materials that fit together beautifully. You won’t find anything richer in a Range Rover or a Cadillac Escalade. Wood trim framed by chrome? Yes, but it’s not gaudy at all. The leather upholstery is soft as a whisper and seats up front are available to adjust in 30 different ways. If you can’t get comfy, you’re in another galaxy of high maintenance.

I will say that the second-row seats are a step down from the fronts: smallish and a bit too low, and the third-row pews are for children only. With them down and flat, the cargo hold is massive.

2018 Lincoln Navigator

As I suggested earlier, with a tinge of sheepishness, three words sum up the Navigator: alright,  alright, alright, as MM might say.

2018 Lincoln Navigator 4×4

Base price: $87,750. As tested: $101,600. Destination charge: $2,000.

Engine: 3.5-litre V-6, twin turbo (450-horsepower/510 lb-ft of torque)).

Transmissions: 10-speed automatic.

Drive: all-wheel with various dial-up functions for road conditions.

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 14.9 city/11.3 using premium fuel.

Comparables Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover, Infiniti QX80.

 

Read more

The shocking EV faceoff: Chevy’s Bolt wins!

Okay, time to buy an electric car.

Not a hybrid, not a plug-in hybrid. You want a real-world, full-blown EV (electric vehicle). It must be reasonably priced because no matter what carmakers say, the limitations of battery range, charging infrastructure, and charging times make today’s EV a part-time city car. For most, it’s a second car.

The Chevrolet Bolt in San Francisco with Jeremy Cato. The winning EV.

Let’s review your options. As I write this, you have five reasonable choices that seat at least four, carry a decent amount of cargo, offer at least 200 kilometres of battery range and sell for less than  $50,000, not including taxpayer rebates of up to $14,000: Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model 3, Volkswagen e-Golf, Chevrolet Bolt and Hyundai Ioniq.

(Kia offers the Soul EV, but it’s range is rated at just 179 km. We’re tossing it from the mix.)

For you impatient-pants types, I’ll save you the suspense: the best bang for you buck is the Bolt. Let me explain why, and in detail.

But a caveat: The Model 3 might yet prove to be a triumph, if Tesla can ever sort out its Model 3 production and quality issues – and remains solvent in the face of what looks like an incipient financial crisis.

This Tesla looks amazing and is reported to be very fast. Pricy, though, for a car Tesla’s CEO and head cheerleader Elon Musk has dubbed “affordable.”

Telsa: The Model 3 remains a mystery to real-world testers — most of them, at least. 

Tesla, I must note, has been reluctant to let third parties test drive what limited production models are on the road. I have requested a tester, but so far nothing but an email saying, “no.”

I am in good company. Pulitzer Prize-winning reviewer Dan Neil of The Wall Street Journal has also been denied a proper road test of the Model 3. For now, at least.

This brings me, then, to my list of four. Let’s start with the LEAF because it’s the EV I just drove.

Ah, the LEAF. When Nissan first released details about the reinvented 2018 LEAF battery car, I thought:  mistake.

How is it that, eight years after launching what has become the world’s best-selling EV, Nissan is bringing to showrooms a second-generation LEAF with a battery range of just 242 km, or 150 miles? Ugh. Nissan had EIGHT YEARS to get the range to at least 300 km. What happened?

Nissan says the cost of the battery dictated range. Yet the LEAF is no bargain runabout; the pricing is mid-pack:

The LEAF starts at $35,998 before incentives which in Ontario amount to $14,000. Base versions of the others:

  • Model 3, $45,600;
  • Bolt, $43,195;
  • Ioniq, $35,649;
  • e-Golf, $36,355.

When it comes to range, the LEAF is mid-pack,  too — less than the Bolt and Model 3, more than the Ioniq and e-Golf:

  • Bolt, 383 km range;
  • Model 3, 354 km;
  • Ioniq, 200 km;
  • e-Golf, 201 km.

So, the LEAF delivers about 20 per cent more range than the Ioniq and e-Golf, for about the same money.  On the other hand, the Bolt delivers about 58 per cent more range than the LEAF – 141 km — at about a 20 per cent price premium.

The all-new 2018 Nissan LEAF.

The Nissan people argue that their LEAF hits a pricing sweet spot — $7,200 less than the Bolt — with enough range to make daily driving comfortable, and notably more range than the similarly priced Ioniq and e-Golf. Range alone gives this LEAF an edge over the Hyundai and the VW.

Moreover, the LEAF is prettier and more technologically advanced than the Ioniq and e-Golf. And it comes from Nissan, which knows a lot about real-world EV performance, having sold more than 300,000 LEAFs around the world.

If you believe that today’s EV buyer is highly price-sensitive and doesn’t demand 300 km (or more) of battery range, this argument makes sense.

But if you are convinced that today’s EV customer is an elitist, a high-net-worth early adopter who wants some technological bragging rights – range being one of them — then Nissan’s mass-market pricing and packaging strategy is a mistake.

Well, car companies making a billion-dollar investment in an EV don’t like to make mistakes and never concede them. In fact, Nissan Canada

LEAF cabin.

is keen to prove that the typical Nissan EV buyer is NOT a multimillionaire enviro-poseur with a pickup, an SUV and a German luxury sedan parked in the four-car garage beside that new LEAF.

To prove the point, Nissan Canada points to recent LEAF buyers like Kate Moran, a Victoria, B.C. engineer and environmentalist. She’s a nicely-paid academic, but not a multi-millionaire. Rick McKinlay of Whitby, Ontario, is a project manager in the scaffolding industry. Comfortable, but no moneybags. Retired Quebec police officer Mario Gallant, in fact, bought a LEAF to save money on fuel and servicing. Range does not appear to be an issue for them.

It is for me. In theory, it seems easy enough to plug in every night your LEAF or Ioniq or e-Golf or whatever. In practice, this is a problem if you live in an apartment building without a charging station or only one or two outlets.

LEAF cargo space.

If you rely on public charging stations, you are going to find lineups at the handful of DC outlets in Canada. I have, repeatedly. If your EV has a range of less than 300 km, you’ll need to charge up at least once a week, perhaps twice or more. Keep that in mind.

Still, Nissan has done a lot of very good things with the 2018 LEAF. Not the least of them is design. The LEAF 2.0 looks pretty good, like it belongs in a showroom beside the Maxima and Murano.

As well, you can get a LEAF compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which is good, but you must pay $3,600 for the privilege; the

e-Golf: dated styling, but nice handling. Too bad about the 200-km range.

base car has an older infotainment system. The Bolt, overall, has the best infotainment offering, though like the LEAF, if you want all the bells and whistles, you’ll pay several thousand more.

There’s more to consider, too. The LEAF has more luggage space than the VW and the Chevy. On the other hand, the Bolt has the most functional back seat and is easiest to enter and exit for a number of reasons, including the slightly higher hip point.

The Bolt, Ioniq and e-Golf all have better seating positions for the driver, at least in part because the LEAF’s steering wheel does not telescope. VW, Hyundai and Nissan all have very good instrumentation and controls, so here it’s a matter of personal preference.

All these EVs have regenerative braking – reclaiming kinetic energy from braking and when you’re slowing or going downhill. VW and Hyundai let you manage the regen setting easily enough and the Bolt adds a paddle shifter on the steering wheel to make things seem sportier, still.

Hyundai Ioniq. Dull styling and not enough range.

I would, however, give the best-in-class nod to Nissan’s e-Pedal toggle and the overall regen system. The e-Pedal will even hold the LEAF stationary on an incline. Nissan says that once you master the e-Pedal, you will drive without using the brake pedal 95-98 per cent of the time. True. I did during my first test.

Then there’s Nissan’s ProPilot Assist, a kind of cruise control that keeps you in your lane and includes adaptive cruise control. The LEAF is, therefore, semi-autonomous in certain driving conditions. Nice. But you still need to keep your hands on the steering wheel.

As for performance, the Bolt is the most powerful of the mainstream EVs here, aside from the Model 3. The LEAF is quick, but not as electrifying as the Bolt. The VW is lively, too, and corners best. The Hyundai is the least responsive of the lot.

Finally, a few words about battery life. We can’t know anything about battery degradation for this LEAF, but early versions of the car were known for batteries that would age rather quickly. Nissan says degradation issues have been addressed.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV: what’s hidden under the skin and floor.

The Chevy Bolt wins this class of EVs.

So, if you’re going to buy a mainstream EV right now, which one? As I said, for me it’s the Bolt.

It’s pricier than its main rivals, but less than a Model 3. It has the most range of all these cars and the infotainment offerings are excellent. I like the slightly higher seating position and the overall functionality, not to mention the paddle shifters.

For the record, the LEAF would be my second choice. It’s handsome, drives well, I love the e-Pedal and for the money, it has more range than the Ioniq and the e-Golf.

Read more

2018 BMW M550i might be the perfect car — at least for me

If I had a loonie for every time I’ve been asked about my favorite everyday car – What would you drive, regardless of price? — I’d be in a financial league with Amazonian Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, and his fellow super-billionaires, code-writer Bill Gates and money-manager Warren Buffett, Nos. 2 and 3 on Forbes’ list.

BMW M550i xDrive

I won’t drag out the suspense: it would be BMW’s M550i xDrive sedan, in basic black. Before I explain why, just pause for a moment and consider that list of billionaires, the latest from Forbes.

At the top is someone who brought us refined and responsive online shopping.

Second is a man who bought 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products and turned it into the dominant computing standard, despite its inferiority to Apple’s operating system.

And third is a folksy Midwestern American with an inoffensive demeanor and an other-worldly knack for picking stocks.

Each of these men, on his own, is worth more than all of BMW, with its market cap of $55.22 billion (US). Bezos, at $112 billion (US), is worth two BMWs – not two BMW cars, but two BMW companies. (Gates is worth $90 billion (US), Buffett $84 billion (US).)

BMW M550i xDrive

That is to say, any one of them could buy BMW outright and have the GDP of Bulgaria left over. Or they could all just buy an $83,000 M550i xDrive, plus options, fees and taxes and enjoy the drive.

My point: a 100 Gs out-the-door hit is quite something for most of us, but it’s change in your couch when your net worth is twice the value of the world’s No. 2 premium automaker by sales, BMW. Perspective, folks.

Look, you cannot buy a more enjoyable rig than the M550i. You just can’t. The performance is delicious. The handling is both exhilarating and comforting. The design is timeless and elegant, yet understated. The brand, well, BMW is a great brand, the kind you needn’t explain to anyone. Buy this car and you will love driving it for the next 20 years. You’re welcome.

I most certainly have had a romance with the 5 for decades. This latest M550i, though, may be the last of its kind. A few years hence, we most likely won’t be able to buy a midsize BMW sedan with a dreamy, effortlessly powerful, 455-horsepower V-8, a twin-turbo mill at 4.4 litres of displacement.

BMW M550i xDrive

BMW, in fact, plans to have 25 electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2025. Like all big automakers, BMW is plowing billions into electrification, which doesn’t leave much for V-8s. In any case, regulators around the world are legislating the V-8 out of the mainstream with ever-tougher fuel economy and emissions standards.

And let me also say that as an everyday driver, I much prefer the M550i to the M5. The latter is just too much for commuting and erranding —  too much of everything. The M550i, with power going to all four wheels and an 8-speed Steptronic autobox, is just right.

Let me clear up something else, too. The 550i, in a marketing effort, is now linked to something called M Performance Automobiles. There is a line of these very sporty BMWs that are flavored by BMW M GmbH. M Performance models are just a hair above the best of BMW’s regulars and the flat-out M models. Mercedes does something similar with AMG. In BMW-land, other examples include the M240i, X4 M40i xDrive and the M760i xDrive are others.

BMW M550i xDrive

None of these other M Performers are as excellent as the M550i. Now, true, this car is heavy at 2,058 kg, and the front/rear weight bias is 55/45, not a perfect 50/50. Yet it’s a stunning dance partner and can really do wonderful things at high speed when you dial up Sport or especially Sport+ mode. Set a line, the car holds it without any hesitation nor body roll. The sprint from 0-100 km/hour is a thrilling four seconds of your life that you’ll enjoy time after time.

BMW’s engineers and software programmers have come up with all manner of ways to allow drivers to tune performance, including an “intelligent” AWD system that splits drive power between all four wheels as needed. The suspension adapts to your driving demands, the M Sport brakes are astounding and predictable. And just so you know it when you’re pushing hard, in Sport+, the exhaust roars like Drogon.

As for the creature comforts, the cabin is perfectly roomy for five adults, the seats coddle you but not in a simpering way and are beautifully covered in leather and contrasting stitching. The latest version of iDrive is almost good for managing systems and infotainment.

BMW M550i xDrive

Now I would marry the M sports steering wheel if it made any sense at all, it’s that perfect to have and hold. And if you want to know about an “oh, wow” touch, illuminated doorsills reading out “M550i xDrive” are just so lovely.

I hate online shopping, have no interest in code-writing and leave stock picking to ETFs, but I know one thing better than Bezos, Gates and Buffett:  the M550i is genius in everyday transport.

2018 BMW M55i

Base price: $83,000. Delivery: $2,480. BMW Canada also throws in something called a $595 Retail Administration Fee which sounds. What?

Power: 4.4-litre turbocharged V-8 (455 hp/480 lb-ft torque).

Transmission: eight-speed automatic.

Fuel economy (litre/100 km): NA.

Comparables:  Audi S6, Jaguar XF-S AWD, Mercedes-AMG E43, Lexus GS 450h.

BMW M550i xDrive

Read more

The oh, so Canadian 2017 Nissan Qashqai

Nissan’s Qashqai, the oh, so Canadian small wagon, comes in one shape and size, but pricing runs from affordable to premium.

The budget-friendly version of the Qashqai, the newest sorta-small SUV (sport-utility vehicle) in a burgeoning field, stickers at a reasonable $19,998, plus $1,950 for freight and such. By today’s standards, it’s pretty basic, right down the manual six-speed gearbox that manages power to only the front wheels.

Easy entry and exit.

If Nissan Canada sells six of these starter models a year, I’ll be surprised. Classic price leader. It’s in the lineup to get your attention and appease the teeny tiny handful of shoppers who want just the basics in a tall wagon – cloth interior, manual gearbox…

At the other end, you’ll find the all-the-bells-and-whistles Qashqai SL ($29,498) with around-view monitor, leather upholstery, heated steering wheel and such. To this, add in the $2,700 Platinum package of generally unnecessary electronic nannies (intelligent cruise control, blind spot and lane departure warning and so on) and you have the $34,000-plus Qashqai.

Yes, it’s very easy to boost the base price of a Qashqai by some 75 per cent. SEVENTY-FIVE PER CENT. (See payment details below.)

Here’s the deal: I’ve tested both and these two are as different as ice dancers and hockey players. Both strap blades on their feet, but where the dancers wiggle into skin-tight Halloween costumes and tip-toe across the ice, the hockey types bulk up with padding and try to knock each other through the glass, chasing a little piece of rubber around.

Let’s start with the most standard of Qashqais. It looks good on paper, right down to the heated front seats. But compared to the luxurious Qashqai SL, the base car feels heavy, even lumpy, and boxing gears in a small SUV is super-retro and not in a good way.

Perfectly sensible dashboard, cluster and centre stack.

Both versions of the Qashqai get a 2.0-litre four-banger (141 horsepower), yet the continuously variable automatic in the SL smooths out the performance and maintains your in-traffic sanity. If you go cheapo with your Qashqai, at least spend $2,000 on the CVT.

You, of course, want to know if the Qashqai is a better choice than, say, a Honda HR-V, a Toyota C-HR, or a Mazda CX-3. Or even a Mini Countryman.

The CX-3 is hands-down the most enjoyable to drive – athletic and sure-footed. But it feels small compared to the Nissan, as do the Honda and the Toyota – and the latter two look as though they were styled by six-year-old children just given a box of Crayolas.

If I were looking purely for functionality in a smallish package at a reasonable price, this new Nissan is a standout. If quality and resale are paramount, the Honda and the Toyota rank highly.  If I want a driver’s SUV – oxymoron, I know – I’d take the Mazda.

Handsome and functional.

The Qashqai is new to Canada and it’s well-considered. The tight 11.5-metre turning circle is what you want in the city and the centre of gravity (lower than Nissan’s Rogue) is station wagon-like, putting the hip point in line for easy slide-in entries and slide-out exits. No bending.

The little direct-injection engine is fuel efficient and strong enough for everyday chores, though it strains when your rig is loaded or going up a steep hill. I was very impressed with real-world fuel economy and the CVT tries to mimic a seven-speed automatic. You don’t feel like you’re driving a snowmobile. Or a John Deere or any sort.

As for room, well, if you’re a bigger sort, you’ll be happy up front, less thrilled in the rear, but everyone will like the cargo room and flexibility. The 60/40 split rear seats fold flat. With the rear seats up, you get 648-litres of cargo space and 1,730 litres the seats down. All good.

Lastly, the driver looks at a useful instrument cluster that can spit out all sorts of information beyond speed and engine revs. The centre stack houses the infotainment gear and climate control and all of these do the job just fine. Nissan has fitted cupholders and storage places wherever possible.

Not much knee room in back.

Nissan has been selling a version of the Qashqai in Europe for many years. It’s a hit over the pond. It’ll be a success here in Canada, too, because it delivers what hundreds of thousands of Canadian car buyers want most: affordable functionality in a pretty package.

THE PAYMENT STORY

Month-to-month, if you take Nissan’s 2.99 per cent lease rate over five years, the loaded Qashqai ($29,498 plus fees) will run you $197 semi-monthly, versus $136 semi-monthly for the bare-bones wagon ($19,998-plus).

An extra $60 twice a month doesn’t seem like very much, does it? Except that after five years you’ll need to either buy out the lease (for about $11,000 on the SL) or get yourself a new payment.

Or you could just buy that fancy SL, taking advantage of Nissan’s 2.99 per cent rate and after seven years at $192 biweekly, you own it. And you will likely get 3-5 years of solid use out of what’s left of today’s new Qashqai.

2017 Nissan Qashqai SL AWD

Price: $29,498 plus $1,950 for freight, PDI and various fees. As tested: $34,283.

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder (141-horsepower/147 lb-ft of torque)).

Transmissions: CVT or continuously variable transmission.

Drive: all-wheel.

Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 9.1 city/7.5 hwy.

Comparables: Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-3. Honda HR-V

 

 

Read more

The amazingly capable and luxurious 2018 Land Rover Discovery

In 26 words – two of them hyphenated compounds – I can sum up the newest Land Rover Discovery, the replacement for the tired, old LR4: three-row AND tailgate seating; 21 storage holds; smartphone control; fat tow ratings and lots of torque; off-road muscle; and most important of all, a curry hook.

On off-roading beast.

I know all this because I just finished with the diesel version of this reinvented Discovery, the one that starts at $65,900, but like a SpaceX rocket, quickly climbs into the pricing stratosphere as you add extras. My HSE Luxury tester, before add-ons, fees and taxes price, came in at $77,000.

Add in my tester’s long, long list of goodies and this rig ran into 100 grand-ish territory. Things like Farallon black paint ($1,800); rear seat entertainment ($2,000); all sorts of additional performance and safety technologies (many thousands); and more. Safe to say, the back of my envelope ran out of space for numbers.

Now there is also a supercharged gasoline version, base price $63,900. But I would, of course, go with the diesel if I were buying.

Diesel makes the most sense for a rig that can tow a small house (3,500 kg with the optional $650 tow package) and weighs by itself 2,230 kg despite the aluminum body and other engineering work that stripped out several hundred kg. Both versions share a ZF eight-speed gearbox.

Heft does not slow down this reimagined, reinvented and repositioned Discovery, however. The 0-100 km/hour time comes in at 8.1 seconds and autobahn users will be pleased with the 209 km/hour top speed.

The driver’s view.

That’s a lot of zoom for a tall rig that, despite some very pleasant styling flourishes, is really a big brick designed to maximize cargo and passenger room, while being capable of climbing and descending rugged trails in the Andes. I mention the Andes because a few years ago, I spent a week there in an older version of the Discovery. Unstoppable.

Really, there is no questioning the authenticity of the 2018 Discovery. A Porsche 911 Carrera comes track ready, while a Land Rover Discovery comes Andes ready. Luxurious bushwhacking for seven. Yes, even six-footers can sit back there in the third-row, heated-seat space. Barely, but it’s possible.

And this would be my choice over the latest versions of the Mercedes-Benz GL, BMW’s X5, Audi’s Q7, the Infiniti QX80, the Lexus LX 570 – despite Land Rover’s well-documented quality troubles. The Discovery looks bolder and boasts more impressive bonafides for your next Botswana safari.

Sophisticated technology.

Now parking it in a downtown underground is another story entirely. I just barely crept into my high-rise’s garage and then filled up my parking space entirely. Not ideal for city dwellers.

That said, the Discovery is stuffed with electronic and luxury features, safety equipment, convenience do-dads and comfort items. The seats are spectacularly comfortable and, apparently, you can use your smartphone to configure them – or use the touchscreen or even buttons in the rear cargo area. The second and third rows fold flat, electronically and the sliding second-row seats optimize functionality.

Storage and convenience? Note the hideaway beneath the cup holders in the center console that can hold four iPads. A compartment behind the climate control panel secrets away a wallet or phone. At the rear, a one-piece composite folds down for tailgate seating.

If you perhaps tow a boat, you no longer need to worry about being embarrassed on the launch ramp. Something called Advanced Tow Assist lets you steer backwards using the rotary knob from the Terrain Response 2 system. Just follow the touchscreen.

Land Rover has its quality issues, however lovely the designs might be for off-roading rigs.

Thanks to the immense torque of the diesel (443 lb-ft), the Discovery leaps away from a stop. Nice for the on-road bits and cornering is shockingly stable and controlled. Off-road, the optional All-Terrain Progress Control feature ($1,200 with the Capability Plus Pack), delivers what boils down to crawl-mode cruise control for nasty off-roading.

Finally, the curry hook. This Discovery has a push-operated bag hook that when not used sits flush to the transmission tunnel. You will grow to love it.

Seems with this latest Discovery, Land Rover tried to think of absolutely everything and, of course, you’ll pay for all of it.

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury Td6

Base price: $77,000. Delivery: $1,600

Power: 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel (254 hp/443 lb-ft torque).

Transmission: eight-speed automatic.

Fuel economy (litre/100 km): 11.2 city, 9.1 highway, using diesel fuel.

Comparables:  Mercedes-Benz GL, BMW’s X5, Audi’s Q7, the Infiniti QX80, the Lexus LX 570.

 

Read more