Driving from London to Hay-on-Wye at the start of a bank holiday and half term, it helps to have a mobile office at one’s disposal. The All-New Land Rover Discovery is primed for armchair comfort as the omnipresent traffic jams snake along the M4. With our sim card inserted, however, we have full strength wifi, and as I tap away at my computer, the leather passenger seat is so comfy I nearly fall into a snooze.
Drive time: The new Land Rover Discovery
31st May 2017
Test driving the All-New Land Rover Discovery at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival.
The extremely handy mobile phone holder let’s you slot your cellphone in next to the drinks holders, whilst it charges and plays your favourite tracks from spotify through JLR's InControl Apps technology. Having just bought a new Range Rover Evoque, that is one of the few niggles – there is not enough room for bottles of water plus phones in the central compartment. Of course this car is much much bigger.
The Discovery is there for large broods – of both children and animals. It can seat seven adults comfortably; Or with the back down, an army of gundogs. Throw a mattress in and it even makes a quite optimal bed for the night: in this respect it makes the perfect festival car.
At a pitstop at my parents’ house in Oxfordshire we test out the natty buttons. They are extremely fun – located to the left hand side in the boot, at a touch of a button the back seats fold all the way flat. The tailgate comes out, providing the perfect de-wellying space. We keep on discovering new hidden glove boxes, including niftily behind the climate control panel.
The next morning the roads are clear and it is a great chance to test the car on the motorways. There is a handy speed limit display that works to the millisecond of entering a new speed zone. The touch screen map is a bit tricky to navigate and doesn’t show direction of travel - it essentially always faces north, which we found confusing. It eats up puddles, verges and bumps in the road and speeds us to south Wales in under two hours.
After two days enjoying the diversions of Hay-on-Wye – including the convivial party hosted by GQ, Land Rover and Soho House, and listening to talks in the Land Rover story nook – we take to the Brecon Beacons. The car is happy bumping along the muddy tracks, and we seamlessly pull up onto banks to let smaller cars pass.
A hike up Pen-y-Fan leaves us breathless, and we chuck our dirty things in the back of the car, set it to sports mode and bomb back up the motorway. Whilst it feels too big for some London streets on a daily basis, and I wasn’t mad about the offset number plate, it is the just car you want at a second home if you have a big family, love country pursuits, or, indeed, festivals.
Jaguar Land Rover announced at Hay-on-Wye their Lighting Up Lives collaboration with ClimateCare, bringing safe and clean lights to 1.2 million people in east Africa. Climatecare.org; Jaguarlandrover.com #LightingUpLives. Land Rover Discovery from £43,995