IF YOU were a politician these days – or anyone else for that matter – simply making the following comment about the new Land Rover Discovery might land you in hot water!

It certainly does have an ugly bottom!

So, that's got that over with and, hopefully, I won't be reported to the 'powers that be' for making such a remark. But, I think I am in the majority on this one of those who think that the derriere of the recent re-incarnation of one of farming's favourites is a tad voluminous and out of kilter with the rest of an otherwise excellent design.

However, what boots your own bum on this is the difference it makes inside the Disco. For all of its proportions, the previous models always had an issue with a surprising lack of space. This one doesn't and it's that big bum that makes the difference.

It has opened up veritable acres of space in the rear of the vehicle. The New Discovery is 4.97m long, 2.2m wide (mirrors out) and 1.846m tall – that means it is 141mm longer, but narrower and lower than before. Its 2.923m wheelbase is 38mm longer which is the main reason the cabin space is more generous. And allowing row three a bit more wriggle room, is a more compact version of Land Rover's advanced integral-link rear suspension system.

This also allows the second-row seats to slide forwards and backwards by 160mm, allowing customers to optimise luggage space and rear legroom as required, as well as improving access to the third row.

The joy of having heated seats is not confined to the front row, bum warmers are available in the middle and, for the first time in an SUV, the third row. Drivers and passengers also benefit from hot and cool climate seats with a massage function.

Making the most of the space is also another 'first' for Land Rover, its intelligent seat fold technology which allows rows two and three to be configured in four different ways. But the really cool bit about this is the fact that it can all be done for you by a series of electric motors.

Switches in the luggage area allow the seats to be folded and unfolded at the touch of a button, while a switch-pack located on the C-pillar allows adjustment of third-row seats from the rear doors, plus row two and three seats can be reconfigured using the main touchscreen on the front console and, get this one, can also be moved remotely using a special smartphone app.

The rear luggage space is Transit-van-like with the second and third row of seats folded flat and there's also a handy little load shelf and tidy that pops down when the automatic rear door is operated.

Of course, the mechanics have also had a going over and Land Rover is really pushing its award-winning Ingenium 237bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which can power it from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds and is capable of 43.5mpg.

But, for those with a lot of work to do, especially towing, the preferred option – and the one tested here – must be the 255bhp available from the 3.0-litre V6 diesel. The Td6's single-turbo gives much better lift and deep down grunt of 600Nm of torque, yet is capable of up to 39.2mpg and the 0-62 sprint takes 8.1 seconds – a reduction of 1.3 seconds over the old model. With a significant 600Nm of torque on offer, the new Td6 diesel delivers cruising refinement and pretty incredible all-terrain capability.

Footballers and those with more money than sense can opt for the supercharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, which has 335bhp and the timed run in 7.1 seconds – but it has much less torque than the equivalent diesel.

One area where all the range excels is in the transmission department. Land Rover have turned to ZF again for a revised version of the truly stupendous eight-speed automatic gearbox, which has been tuned by Land Rover’s powertrain experts to the needs of the Disco. As usual you select what you want using the rotary gearshift controller that rises from the centre console – as first seen in Jaguars – but there are also shift paddles for precise control when completing off-road manoeuvres.

As you would expect, the tuning of the transmission and new chassis also allow for some pretty hefty off-road work and the underpinnings and suspension system certainly marry together to do that. Previous incarnations of the Disco have never been a slouch off road, but this one takes things to another dimension. The longer wheelbase means that ugly rear end doesn't affect the approach and departure angles too much, with wading depth and ground clearance assisted by a suite of on-the-fly technology.

But we come to the edgy question of price? The test car, the 3.0-litre Tdi HSE comes in at a hefty £64,495, though the bottom end of the range starts at £20 cheaper than that. So, there we are ... we're back to the word 'bottom' again!

* If you want to go the whole hog with the new Disco range, then the latest version, the SVX might just be the very dab courtesy of Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) portfolio.

Aiming to be the 'ultimate all-terrain Land Rover Discovery', this has a 525hp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol, increased ground clearance, body and suspension lifts, greater wheel articulation, large diameter all-terrain tyres, tuned Terrain Response 2 system, Active Roll Control and a rear-mounted winch to haul you out of bother.