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Disco dances away with top car award 

I discovered during a short time with a vehicle that arrived in the UK in February of this year that I wouldn’t have any problems in casting my vote for the best car I had driven in 2017.

So it was no surprise to me that fellow members of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers had also voted for this model.

And we were joined by top motor industry representatives when the 2017 Scottish Car of the Year was revealed as . . . the Land Rover Discovery.

The all-new SUV triumphed in its segment to be named best-in-class and then fought off tough competition from other category winners to take the top title.

It’s the third time a Land Rover has emerged victorious at the respected industry awards.

The previous Discovery 4 model wowed judges following its debut in 2009 and the Range Rover Evoque enjoyed success in 2011.

Presenting the accolade at Edinburgh’s Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club, Stephen Park, president of the ASMW, said: “Once again, the judging process was a difficult one due to the high standard of new models which have been launched in the last 12 months.

“However, from the moment ASMW members first drove the fifth generation Discovery they were in no doubt that it’s one exceptional vehicle.

“Indeed, it’s the breadth of ability which makes the Discovery so special.

“This is a 4×4 which remains true to Land Rover’s traditional spirit of adventure – it really can climb mountains and ford streams – while also being brilliant around town, on country roads and motorways.

“We were particularly impressed by the mix of seven seater practicality coupled with luxury car refinement and incredible capability in both on and off-road situations.”

Land Rover chiefs were delighted with the honour and also announced support for the ASMW’S chosen charity.

Accepting the award, Jeremy Hicks, managing director, Jaguar Land Rover UK, said: “We are delighted to be accepting this award.

“Discovery and Scotland are a perfect match come whatever the weather, whatever the terrain.

“I am also delighted to announce that in recognition of this award and the support of the Scottish people over the years, Land Rover will be providing the ASMW’s chosen charity, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) with a Discovery for six months to see them through the winter.

“We are honoured to be supporting such a fundamental and worthy cause.”

The Scottish Car of the Year awards also delivered particularly impressive results for Ford, Mazda, Suzuki and Skoda.

A new version of an old favourite, the Fiesta, took the best Supermini title – and an evolution of last year’s top Hot Hatch, the Focus RS Mountune, ensured sporting success for Ford again in 2017.

Mazda also had cause for celebration, with the MX-5 RF and CX-5 named best Drop Top and Crossover respec-tively.

Suzuki, meanwhile, received recognition for its two newest models.

Retro charm and clever interior packaging put the Ignis at the top of the Compact pedestal while the Boosterjet-powered Swift won the special Eco prize.

Skoda’s Kodiaq, a runner-up in the race for the overall SCOTY title, won the Seven Seater category while the Yeti won the Used car section.

Elsewhere, Vauxhall displayed a return to form in the Family category with the Insignia Grand Sport winning by a comfortable margin.

Following on from last year, when the V90 was named best Estate car and overall winner, the addition of four-wheel-drive and extra ground clearance enabled Volvo to continue its winning form with the V90 Cross Country.

In the Executive arena, BMW’s outstanding new 5 Series proved unbeatable while sister brand MINI scooped the new Compact Crossover category with the new Countryman model.

One of the most diverse categories is the Sports one and British design and engineering know-how put the sensational McLaren 720S supercar on the podium.

Finally, the special Design and Innovation gong went to DS Automobiles for launching the UK’s first contactless payment car key.

Previous SCOTY winners are: 1998: Ford Focus; 1999: Jaguar S-Type; 2000: Audi A2; 2001: Jaguar X-Type; 2002: Mazda6; 2003: Volvo XC90; 2004: Peugeot 407; 2005: BMW 3 Series; 2006: Jaguar XK; 2007: Ford Mondeo; 2008: Ford Fiesta; 2009: Land Rover Discovery 4; 2010: Kia Sportage; 2011: Range Rover Evoque; 2012: Dacia Duster; 2013: Volkswagen Golf; 2014: Hyundai i10; 2015: Vauxhall Astra; 2016: Volvo V90.

Stephen Park and Jeremy Hicks are pictured with the award-winning Discovery at the iconic Forth Rail Bridge, South Queensferry, Sco-tland.