IT’S BEEN a solid mix of city commuting and weekend getaways for the Disco this past month, as we balance the work/life conundrum. Thankfully the Discovery does both very well, delivering a comfortable and easy to live with vehicle for the weekday grind, yet one that is both capable and competent for bush escapes.
We’ve improved the bush ability of the Disco somewhat by replacing the OE highway tyres with a set of Goodyear Duratracs in the OE 255/55-20 size. This is the officially approved off-road option tyre from Land Rover, so we had to stick to the factory size.
The Duratracs are also available in a 275/55-20, which we would have preferred to fit and it still would have been a legal upgrade, but we didn’t have that option on the Land Rover test car.
Lucky we fitted the tyres when we did, as when the guys at Beaurepaires Chadstone removed the originals tyres they found a chunk of tread missing from the inside edge of one of the front tyres. Being on the inside of the tyre it wasn’t easily detected, and it was bad enough that it could have led to tyre failure. It just shows the need for tougher rubber for vehicles that go off-road.
We’ll have more details on how well the Duratracs have performed in a full report soon, but since fitting them, people have commented on how good the Discovery looks, whereas before they would simply say “it looks good but you wouldn’t take it off-road”. The Duratracs gave us more confidence in the car on weekend escapes up to a bush property and to the Vic High Country.
Adding to the appearance of the Discovery has been the fact that I’m driving it in the raised suspension height most of the time. The automatic heightadjustable suspension doesn’t drop down to the lower setting until you hit 80km/h, when it lowers to its highway cruising height for improved dynamics and fuel efficiency. We haven’t found the higher setting to have any detriment to everyday suburban ride quality and handling, while the taller height makes getting in and out easier. This suits me, as opposed to the Land Rover ‘access’ height that lowers the car when you put the transmission in ‘Park’. Plus, it looks more purposeful, as affirmed by the comments we’ve had on it. An added bonus of driving in the higher setting is that this disables the idle stop-start function, which I find annoying on any car... it saves me having to switch that function off every time I start the car.
We did have a minor hiccup with the Disco that required a short trip to the dealership: I was getting out of the car in our office carpark and was gathering my phone, keys and satchel for the day ahead. I dropped the Land Rover key fob in the driver’s footwell and it bounced off my heel and under the seat.
More worryingly, though, it landed with a metallic clunk and not the muffled sound you would expect had it hit the Disco’s plush carpet.
Looking under the seat the fob had found its way into a floor cavity and inside the chassis, where it couldn’t be reached by hand. I tried a magnet on a flexible wand hoping it might catch on the metal key ring, but to no avail. The Discovery SE has a start button for the ignition but requires you press the key fob to lock and unlock the doors, so I could start the car but couldn’t secure it. On the drive to the dealer the fob must have moved further into the chassis as a dash warning came up to say that the key was not detected in the vehicle. So now, if I switched the engine off, I would not have been able to restart it as the car wasn’t detecting the proximity key.
At the dealer, the technician had to remove the seat completely and spent a while messing around to retrieve the fob before we could return to normal service. What an ordeal.