Land Rover Discovery SUV

Price  £41,600 - £59,970

Land Rover Discovery SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • 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 greenest
3.0 SDV6 SE 5dr £41,600
The cheapest
3.0 SDV6 SE 5dr £41,600
The fastest
3.0 SDV6 SE 5dr £41,600
Top of the range
3.0 SDV6 HSE Luxury 5dr £59,970

"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.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.3 / 5

The Land Rover Discovery has a powerful diesel engine, but it uses a lot of fuel

Engines, drive & performance

3.5 / 5

Extremely accomplished off-road, the Land Rover Discovery is also very comfortable on it

Interior & comfort

4.6 / 5

The Land Rover Discovery is a supremely comfortable cruiser

Practicality & boot space

4.8 / 5

Loved by families, the Land Rover Discovery has seven seats, a big boot and excellent towing ability

Reliability & safety

3 / 5

Owners love the Land Rover Discovery, but question marks remain over its reliability

What the others say

4.5 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"A recent facelift has done nothing to disguise the rugged Discovery's Tonka-toy proportions. The nose gets new headlamps and grille, while at the rear you’ll find revised tail-lights. As ever, the big Brit looks just as at home in a farmer's field as it does outside a posh hotel."
5 / 5
"The materials used in the Discovery suggest that attention to detail has been paramount: it feels classy and solid. However, Land Rover's reliability record has been less than illustrious in recent years, and there are still big question marks over how this Disco will fare in the long term."
4.5 / 5
"This Discovery marks a real step forward over the model it replaced. Huge improvements were made to quality and durability and it's packed with off-road technology designed to make it as good off-road as you'd expect of any Land Rover. It remains one of the best 4x4s around."
What owners say 
4.3 /5 based on 315 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
19 Aug 2015
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