"The Land Rover Discovery 4 is the firm's most luxurious car yet - but it remains extremely able off-road. The latest diesel engine is very quiet, and powerful too."
As you might expect, this is the fourth Land Rover Discovery – and it's the best one since 1998 when the 4x4 first launched. This latest model looks a lot like the old one from the outside, but when it comes to the interior it's a different story. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine that powers the Discovery is powerful and quiet, too. The Discovery won the award for being the Best Luxury 4x4 in our 2011 CarBuyer Car of the Year awards. There aren’t many cars that combine off-road prowess with practicality and luxury so well, but with the Discovery you will be paying a premium for such quality.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
The Discovery weighs a huge 2.5 tonnes, so economy is never going to be particularly good. The 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel is offered with two power outputs: 252bhp or 208bhp. Go for the former and you can get economy of 32.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 230g/km. It's high, but not much higher than its rivals. The complicated 4x4 system and electronics mean the Discovery could go wrong and cause a hefty repair bill, so be wary of the car's reliability issues. However the Land Rover Discovery used values should be good as it's one of the fastest-selling used cars in the UK.
Interior & comfort
The quiet interior of the Land Rover Discovery is one of the biggest reasons why it is so comfortable. At low speeds the inside is so quiet that you could easily mistake it for a much more expensive luxury saloon car. There's loads of space inside too, with plenty of legroom, and the seats are very comfortable. Even the rearmost chairs are spacious enough for adults, so it's a proper seven-seater, too. The dashboard has a real luxury feel, and the dual-view screen on the centre console (which allows the passenger to watch a DVD while the driver looks at the sat-nav on the same screen) is a brilliant gadget.
Practicality & boot space
The Discovery offers masses of practicality, especially since it has seven proper seats. With the seats folded flat, its total 2,558-litre area tells you how big and versatile the cabin is – even though the boot space with the seats up is pretty small. Loading objects in is easy too thanks to easy access and a flat floor even with the rear seats down. The split tailgate makes things even easier, as you can easily slide things in and out. There are lots of cubbies in the front too, which can be used to stash valuables out of sight.
Reliability & safety
The Discovery has a five-star Euro NCAP rating, which won’t surprise you as driving the Discovery feels very safe indeed. Land Rover is not the most reliable brand, however, and although the Discovery feels well made it may prove to be somewhat unreliable. The reputation of Land Rover as a whole doesn’t bode well for the Discovery, unfortunately.
Engines, drive & performance
The 252bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel is superb, making the Discovery a really calming car to drive about in. The high driving position and 4x4 ride height mean visibility is excellent on the road, and gives a great feeling of safety, too. However the car is very big, and definitely feels it. Although there is body roll in the corners, it with normal driving it says level enough and sails over bumps and potholes easily. Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which helps with off-roading, is very easy to use and means the Discovery is incredible off-road. Plus, the eight-speed automatic gearbox works very well and makes the car really easy to drive.
Price, value for money & options
The Land Rover Discovery is an incredible versatile and luxurious car, so even though it's expensive to buy many buyers will still consider it to be good value. Desirable options like the 360-degree surround view cameras could mean spending more than you expect to, though. The entry-level GS specification feels sparse compared to many rivals, but higher spec XS and HSE cars are loaded with equipment as standard including leather seats, parking sensors, automatic lights and satellite navigation.