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 is a brilliant all-rounder, with a thumping 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine promising 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds, genuine go-anywhere ability, seven seats and a towing capacity of 3,500kg – all delivered with the comfort of a limousine. Rivals such as the BMW X5, Mercedes M-Class and Porsche Cayenne are more agile and sportier looking, but none can claim to be as well rounded as the Discovery.
There's an all-new model coming in 2016, which should be your cue to haggle a healthy discount on the current model's list price. Meanwhile, if the present Discovery is a little big and thirsty for you, there's the new, smaller Land Rover Discovery Sport. It also has seven seats and impressive off-road ability, but costs much less.
The Discovery's classy and understated looks disguise a real workhorse boasting a high ride height and sophisticated suspension that makes off-roading a breeze. If you’re new to terrain other than tarmac, Land Rover's smart Terrain Response System can take care of the sensitive car control for you.
It's not all good news, though. The one engine offered (a 3.0-litre V6 diesel) is powerful, but can only manage 36.7mpg and costs £290 a year to tax. Matters are not helped by the car's weight and four-wheel-drive system – not to mention the fact it's only available with an automatic gearbox.
The Discovery's size and weight – and the need for it to excel off-road – mean it's not the most enjoyable car to drive on the road, either. Sportier German rivals will leave it for dead on twisty roads. Even so, it's as comfortable as any luxury car, so if you accept its dynamic limitations and treat it as a relaxed cruiser, you won’t be disappointed.
To go with that luxurious ride is an equally luxurious and spacious interior. Unlike the Discovery's rivals, whose third-row seats are really only for children, this is a genuinely roomy seven-seater all the way to the back. The boot is reasonably large with the seats upright, but positively enormous with them all folded away.
There are four trim levels: SE, SE Tech, HSE and HSE Luxury. Even the basic SE is extremely well equipped, with features including air suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, a premium stereo system and cruise control.
Land Rover had to do something to counter the Discovery's terrible reputation for reliability, and it might just have cracked it with the current model, which scores well for dependability and customer satisfaction. In terms of safety it scored only four out of a possible five stars when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP. However, since then, the model has gained many more safety features. Useful options include a blind-spot monitoring system, and cameras that give you a left-and-right view when pulling out of T-junctions.
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