Land Rover Discovery SUV
Price £41,600 - £59,970
- High-quality cabin
- Go-anywhere ability
- Impressive luxury and comfort
- Economy not great
- Motorway wind noise
- Tricky to drive and park in town
At a glance
"The Land Rover Discovery is the brand's most luxurious car yet, but it remains extremely able off-road. The latest diesel engine is very quiet and powerful, too."
The Land Rover Discovery was given a series of tweaks in 2014 that aimed to keep the model fresh before the arrival of an all-new Discovery in 2016. It'll be the second in a trio of new models headed up by the new Land Rover Discovery Sport, which goes on sale in 2015.
Unlike rivals such as the BMW X5 and Mercedes M-Class, underneath the Discovery's plush exterior beats the heart of an extremely tough off-roader. A high ride height and advanced suspension means the Discovery can tackle the kind of steep hills and deep water that would leave its rivals floundering. The Discovery also has clever electronics, such as Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which make it easier for novices to drive off-road.
The Discovery isn't without its faults and the single available engine is a good place to start. This 3.0-litre diesel ticks important boxes – it's powerful and also relatively quiet – but it falls well behind the majority of rivals for fuel economy. That's not helped by the Discovery's hefty 3,000kg weight, although that and the four-wheel-drive system do make it a powerful tow car – all models can pull a trailer, horsebox or caravan weighing up to 3,500kg.
While the Discovery's on-road handling is impressive for a car with its level of off-road ability, it would be left for dead by a Porsche Cayenne on a twisty country road. Treat the Land Rover as a comfortable cruiser, though, and you won't be disappointed. Large tyres and sophisticated suspension mean the Discovery rides as smoothly as a luxury car.
It feels luxurious, too: not that long ago the Discovery's interior would have looked perfectly at home in the classy Range Rover. Climb aboard – easier to do than you'd expect thanks to lowering suspension – and it becomes clear why the Discovery remains a popular choice for well-heeled buyers. There's lots of space, seven seats and a huge boot with a split tailgate that doubles as a seat.
Buyers can choose from SE, SE Tech, HSE and HSE Luxury specifications. All of these come with air suspension, an eight-speed automatic gearbox, alloy wheels, a heated front windscreen, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control and a host of off-road gadgets that give the Discovery its legendary all-terrain ability.
The Land Rover Discovery has a powerful diesel engine, but it uses a lot of fuel
Extremely accomplished off-road, the Land Rover Discovery is also very comfortable on it
The Land Rover Discovery is a supremely comfortable cruiser
Loved by families, the Land Rover Discovery has seven seats, a big boot and excellent towing ability
Owners love the Land Rover Discovery, but question marks remain over its reliability