Used Land Rover Discovery review: 2016 to 2020 (Mk5) - Interior, comfort and safety

An abundance of space, an attractive design and comfortable seats make the Discovery 5’s cabin a good place to be

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, comfort and safety Rating

4.5 out of 5

There’s a sense of stylish restraint to the Discovery 5’s interior design: it looks modern and luxurious without feeling over-designed. Some of the materials used inside lack the solidity you find in an Audi Q7 or BMW X5, but there’s never any doubt that this is a prestige vehicle, particularly when you’re aboard the higher-grade models.

The Discovery 5’s cabin space is a luxury in itself, especially for those in the two adult-sized chairs of the third row of seats, and while standard equipment levels aren’t as lavish as of some rivals, you hardly feel bereft. And besides which, cars of this ilk are always ordered from new with an array of options, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a Discovery 5 that satisfies your needs.

Contributing to the general comfort of the Discovery 5 is the fact that all models are fitted with sophisticated air suspension which does wonders for the ride quality. The air suspension can be raised to clear off-road obstacles (rocks, fallen branches, etc) and also lowered to make it easier to get in and out of the car – this feature is greatly appreciated by those with restricted mobility.

What’s the Land Rover Discovery 5 like inside?

You sit high in the Discovery 5, in what Land Rover refers to as the Command Position – marketing jargon for enjoying a commanding view of the road ahead and the world all around you. This isn’t just a treat for the driver: passengers, especially kids, get to see over the top of other cars, hedges, garden walls, and it makes any trip more interesting.

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Tall windows and all that interior space make the cabin feel airy, a sensation heightened in cars fitted with the panoramic glass sunroof, standard in the SE trim grade and above. While the entry-level S trim grade features cloth upholstery, all other Discovery 5s get leather, which lifts the ambience of the cabin and is also easier to keep clean. Wood veneer trim inserts in some cars are another upmarket touch. 

A substantial centre console divides the front of the cabin into two individual spaces and is also home to the automatic gearbox control – a rotary dial that rises theatrically from the console when you start the car, this quirky feature has been replaced by a stubby lever as part of the Discovery 5’s 2020 revamp. In front of the driver the leather-rimmed steering wheel is home to remote controls for the stereo, phone connection and cruise control, while through its spokes are visible two conventional dials for the speedometer and rev counter, with a small digital screen between them displaying vehicle information and basic sat-nav instructions.

Smartly integrated into the centre of the dashboard is a colour touchscreen display that is the visible face of the Discovery 5’s InControl multimedia infotainment system – InControl oversees the sat-nav, smartphone integration, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and Wi-Fi hotspot. You may find that the Discovery 5 you’re considering is fitted with the optional InControl Pro which features a larger touchscreen, a more sophisticated sat-nav and a 10GB in-built hard-drive for data storage – it’s also linked to a premium Meridian sound system.

What’s on the equipment list?

The Discovery 5 has four trim grades – S, SE, HSE and HSE Luxury, although there are also several special-edition versions, most notably the First Edition and the Landmark. The entry-level S grade is available only with the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines (you can have any engine you want with the other grades) but it does feature full-time four-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic gearbox and air suspension. Although the S is the only one of the bunch to have cloth upholstery, it is equipped with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a powered tailgate, touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio, cruise control and a heated windscreen.

The SE improves upon that spec with the addition of electrically adjusted front seats, leather upholstery, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and powered folding heated door mirrors. You enjoy a better grade of leather upholstery in the HSE, together with a panoramic fixed glass sunroof at the rear and electric front sunroof, more advanced sat-nav, keyless entry, 10-speaker Meridian stereo system and not only heating for the second row seats, but also electric reclining adjustment for rows two and three. It also features gesture control for the powered tailgate: simply wave your foot beneath the rear bumper and the tailgate opens, although you’ll need to step back a bit because it’s a big tailgate.

A highlight of the HSE Luxury’s equipment is that you can remotely fold flat and then raise again the two rows of back seats using buttons on the tailgate. Its front seats are both heated and ventilated, there’s a heated steering wheel, 17-speaker Meridian sound system, multi-zone climate control and rear-seat entertainment screens to keep the kids occupied on long trips. 

The options list for the Discovery 5 is lengthy but there are three stand-out items. The Dynamic Design Pack changes the look of the car. Externally it features a contrasting Corris Grey roof – from certain angles it makes the car look as though it doesn’t have a roof – and Corris Grey inserts in the front and rear bumpers, together with a Navrik Black front grille, front wing vents and door mirror caps, and Satin Dark Grey alloy wheels. The interior is treated to Windsor leather on top of the dashboard and along the tops of the door trims, a range of special leather colours with contrasting stitching, and fancy floor mats. The Dynamic Design Pack was available as an option only on the HSE and HSE Luxury.

The second interesting option stems from Land Rover’s desire to court the outdoor pursuits crowd. The Special Activity Key is a waterproof bracelet containing electronics coded to your car’s locking system – it means you can go surfing, scuba-diving, mountain biking or whatever, without having to carry around a clunky keyfob.

In an age of apps, the HSE Luxury has a belter – it lets you configure the electrically folding rear seats from your smartphone, so if you’ve been to Ikea and bought something much larger than you were intending to, you can drop the seats before you get back to the car.

How safe is the Discovery 5?

In Euro NCAP crash safety tests the Land Rover Discovery achieved a full five stars rating. This includes a 90% score for adult occupant protection, 80% for kids, 75% for pedestrian safety, and 73% for the Discovery’s safety assistance systems.

Among those safety assistance systems are lane-keeping assistance that warns if you’re about to drift out of your lane; a driver-fatigue monitor that warns if you’re about to drift off to sleep; autonomous emergency braking that automatically applies the brakes if it detects that any accident is about to take place and you’ve ignored the car’s warnings of that fact; and adaptive cruise control that keeps a set distance between you and the car in front, and slows you down when there’s a traffic jam, speeding back up again when it clears.

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