WORLD-BEATING all-terrain capability, massive pulling power, the capacity to swallow a whole load of luggage and a very British charm have endeared the Land Rover Discovery to legions of explorers, families and farmers.

So what now for this off-roading legend?

The fifth-generation version is, in the words of the company, “for the digital age”.

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In simple terms that means there’s lots of clever technology to keep families safe, connected and confident on all surfaces, in all terrains and in all weathers to ensure every destination is reached. Even if that destination is at the back of beyond.

I first tried it out at the Millbrook testing ground, where motor manufacturers put their vehicles through their paces. The off-road course there combines rough surfaces and steep inclines at various levels of difficulty, and I headed straight for the most demanding of all ascents and descents, where only the most capable dare to tread.

And you know what? I swear that if the Discovery had a voice it would have sniggered at the challenge. Top marks then for off-roading.

Recently it showed off its pulling power by towing a 110-tonne road train for 16km across the Australian Outback. Winner of this year’s Tow Car Awards in the UK, it also now holds the title of Tow Car of the Decade. It doesn’t get any better than that in terms of recommendation.

This full-sized, three-row, seven-seat SUV embodies Land Rover’s drive to go above and beyond but is now a genuine alternative to the Range Rover, too, because of its new premium interior.

Its flexibility provides seven full-sized adult seats, instantly configurable from your smartphone using the world-first remote intelligent seat fold technology, and 2,406 litres of luggage space.

Lightweight aluminium construction saves 480kg on the previous version, reducing CO2 emissions from 171g/km while the engine line-up now includes a clean Ingenium 240PS, four-cylinder diesel unit.

Trademark design features include the stepped roofline, which has identified each of the four previous generations, but the new curves at the rear will not be to everyone’s taste.

Its body measures 4,970mm long and even adults can be accommodated comfortably in the third-row seat.

While you are sitting comfortably behind the wheel you might like to admire the luxurious leather upholstery and natural oak veneers and sports-inspired steering wheel and pedals.

Talking of seating, the Discovery provides world-first intelligent seat fold technology, allowing customers to reconfigure the second and third-row seats using controls at the rear of the vehicle, the central touchscreen and even remotely via a smartphone app.

Oh, and did I mention that all three rows are available with heated seats – heated and cooled in rows one and two – while massage seats are available for the driver and front passenger.

Another thoughtful touch comes with auto access height technology, which reduces the ride-height by up to 40mm as passengers prepare to enter or exit the vehicle.

With a 10-inch touchscreen positioned high on the centre console, there’s not only easy access to navigation and your smartphone but also 3G wi-fi and a 14-speaker audio system at your fingertips.

Now for the bit that made the Discovery a legendary off-roader. Ground clearance is up 43mm to 283mm (up 43mm), while a maximum wading depth of 900mm - an increase of 200mm - puts Discovery in a class of its own, providing unrivalled confidence when tackling both waterlogged tracks and flooded roads.

A comprehensive suite of off-road driving technologies ensures the Discovery’s supreme all-terrain capability is easy to access for even inexperienced drivers.

On-road performance is enhanced by Land Rover’s proven lightweight and durable aluminium monocoque architecture, which contributes to a 480kg weight saving compared to steel ladder construction.

The new Discovery is both a thoughtful and innovative advance on the previous model.