Land Rover Discovery 4 SUV
Price £41,595 - £59,965
- 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 4 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 a pioneering machine when it was originally launched in 1989. It promised the go-anywhere ability of a Land Rover Defender in a road-friendly package that was much more refined at high speed.
Years later, the Discovery 4 SUV is still one of the best cars in its class. In many ways, it has expanded on the winning formula of the original, so the latest model is more luxurious inside and even better to drive on road. Thanks to sophisticated electronics, it's just as good off-road, too.
In some ways, though, the Discovery 4 is still an old-school 4x4. There's only one engine choice, and while the big diesel does an excellent job of moving the Land Rover, it's not very economical.
All models get decent equipment, and trim levels run through X, XS and HSE before finishing with the top-of-the-range HSE Luxury.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Heavy cars like this are always expensive to run
No matter how you look at it, the Discovery is not a cheap car to run. All models have the same 3.0-litre diesel engine, but it’s hindered by the Discovery 4’s sizeable bulk, meaning it can return just 35.3mpg. That's not great when some rivals get close to 50mpg. No surprises then that C02 emissions are also high - at 213g/km, road tax will set you back £285 a year.
Engines, drive & performance
The Land Rover Discovery is great on or off the road
The Discovery 4’s 3.0-litre diesel has plenty of power and gets the Land Rover from 0-60mph in 8.8 seconds. The engine's lazy character combines with the Discovery’s standard automatic gearbox and comfortable suspension to make the big SUV a relaxing cruiser. The trade-off is plenty of body lean if you try to take corners briskly.
The Discovery’s excellent off-road ability and poor fuel economy are partly due to its sophisticated four-wheel-drive system, which means the Land Rover has plenty of grip. The car features Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, allowing the Discovery to be set up to deal with various off-road conditions.
Interior & comfort
Comfortable seats and a spacious interior
Comfort is a Discovery 4 strong point. When cruising down roads, the car's bulk gives it a comfortable ride, even on the bumpiest roads. The Discovery also has a high seating position, which means you get an excellent view ahead at all times.
Interior quality is a match for some executive saloons, and even the third row of seats in the seven-seater Discovery offers reasonable passenger space.
Practicality & boot space
There’s loads of luggage space and seven seats
Keep all seven seats up and the Discovery 4 offers 280 litres of boot space, which jumps to 1,192 litres when the third row of seats is folded down. Stow away all the back seats and you get a massive 2,558 litres to play with. Loading objects should be easy, too – the Discovery's suspension can be lowered and there's no load lip to prevent you sliding bulky items in. The tailgate also splits, so you can drop small items in quickly.
Space inside for five passengers is excellent, and even the third-row seat isn’t too bad. The Land Rover also gets plenty of cubbyholes, including a big compartment between the front seats that's cooled by the air-conditioning, as well as cup-holders for all passengers.
Reliability & safety
Feels high-quality, but reliability is questionable
Land Rover has got a lot of stick for poor reliability in the past, but the brand may just have cracked it with the Discovery 4. In our 2013 Driver Power survey, which included 150 models, the Discovery came an excellent eighth overall. In the same year, though, Land Rover finished 25th out of 32 in the manufacturers’ ratings.
The Discovery was last tested for safety by Euro NCAP in 2006, when it received four out of five stars, but the latest model could well do better than that.
Price, value for money & options
Expensive, but very versatile and luxurious
The Land Rover Discovery 4 is not a cheap car to buy or run, but it does come with decent standard equipment, including climate control, rear parking sensors, cruise control and big alloy wheels. Top-of-the-range HSE models have a premium stereo, sat nav, Land Rover’s surround-view camera system and a high-grade leather interior.
The Discovery comes with a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, which seems a little miserly when you consider some less prestigious manufacturers such as Kia now offer seven-year protection. The warranty can be extended at extra cost, though.