Land Rover Discovery SUV - Engines, drive & performance
While there’s no escaping the size of the Land Rover Discovery, it’s an impressively relaxing and easy car to drive
The laws of physics dictate that big, tall cars like the Land Rover Discovery are less agile than smaller, lower cars, and that should inform your expectations – don’t expect it to corner like a hot hatchback, in other words.
That caveat aside, the Discovery is very enjoyable to drive, and changes to the steering and suspension for the facelift have made it more precise. The diesel and petrol engine range is perfectly paired with the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox, while the air suspension irons out most bumps, even if it became slightly bouncier and less comfy as part of the changes made to the car in 2021. Press on through the corners and you’ll notice a bit of body lean, but the steering is well weighted and accurate, while the air suspension makes the Discovery a cosseting and relaxing car to drive, even with large wheels fitted.
The suspension does a good job of managing the weight of the Discovery, keeping it on an even keel. It’s quiet, too: Land Rover’s engineers say they’ve benchmarked the Discovery against the plusher, pricier and impressively hushed Range Rover; on the basis of our test drive, we believe them, as there’s very little noise from either engine.
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Naturally, Land Rover has also remained true to the Discovery’s historic reputation for off-road prowess. The latest car takes full advantage of the brand’s Terrain Response system with low-speed off-road cruise control. Allied with sophisticated suspension and high ground clearance, it allows you to wade through up to 900mm of water, or tackle obstructions that would leave many SUV rivals high and dry.
Land Rover Discovery diesel engines
The old four-cylinder and V6 diesel engines have been replaced with an all-new 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine. When not being pushed very hard it remains smooth, and its standard eight-speed automatic gearbox moves between gears almost imperceptibly for quiet, relaxing journeys.
Kicking off with the D250, the new entry-level diesel can complete the 0-62mph sprint in 8.1 seconds, which should be quick enough for most situations. It has plenty of pulling power, and you can feel the effect of this whenever you hit a steep upward gradient.
If you expect to tow, or frequently carry a full load of passengers or cargo, the D300 will be more relaxing to live with than the D250. It has 297bhp and gets from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, making it feel rather quick for its size, with plenty of power in reserve for when you need it.
The Discovery has been available with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine badged P300, producing an impressive 296bhp and getting it from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds, however, this isn’t currently available. This engine is shared with the entry-level Jaguar F-Type sports car.
A new arrival for the facelift was the P360 MHEV petrol, which has a 3.0-litre straight-six with 356bhp. For now this is the fastest version of the Discovery you can get, hitting 62mph from rest in 6.5 seconds and topping out at 130mph.