Land Rover Discovery SUV - Interior & comfort
Build quality is excellent in the Land Rover Discovery and it’s very comfortable; we just wish leather seats were standard
Passengers will relish cruising in the Discovery, thanks to its remarkable quietness. For a car as tall as this, there’s remarkably little noise from the wind, while there’s not much din from those big wheels and tyres, either. The ride is generally very smooth, too, although certain surfaces can cause things to get jittery.
Comfort is ensured thanks to soft seats and a good driving position is easily found. It’s unfortunate, though, that leather upholstery has been omitted on entry-level models. The Discovery S does comfortably undercut the Volvo XC90, BMW X5 and Audi Q7 on price, but you need the rather more expensive SE trim level in order to have hide upholstery. Although this removes the price advantage, SE is still our favourite trim level.
Land Rover Discovery dashboard
The Discovery’s dashboard is like the car itself: luxurious, but also inherently practical. While we’re a little disappointed by some of the materials in the smaller Discovery Sport, nothing in the Discovery feels less than first-rate. Its straight edges and rational layout speak of the car’s everyday usability, while leather, wood and high-quality trim lift the overall ambience, reminding you that you’re in a premium product.
Land Rover always has a slight balancing act on its hands with the Discovery and Discovery Sport, as they can’t be quite as plush as Range Rover products, but must be appointed in a fashion commensurate with their price; the Discovery’s dashboard is spot-on in that respect. HSE trims have clever digital instrument displays, that are optional in the rest of the range, and it feels far from old-fashioned – a slick and intuitive infotainment system with a clear 10-inch touchscreen sees to that.
The Discovery range is split into four trims: S, SE, HSE and HSE Luxury. S includes cloth seats (heated in the front), an eight-inch infotainment system, cruise control, 19-inch alloy wheels, a powered bootlid, lane-departure warning system and autonomous emergency braking. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are a recent addition to the Discovery and are standard across the range.
That’s a fair amount of kit, but many will want the leather seats included with SE trim, which costs £6,000 more. SE also brings LED headlights, an upgraded stereo, sat nav, all-round parking sensors (which should be standard across the range) and a darker radiator grille. While the SE model is a fair bit pricier than S, upgrading from the 2.0-litre to the 3.0-litre diesel engine costs around £1,500 if you choose the nicer trim, which seems fair.
HSE is up next, with fancier ‘Windsor’ leather seats, a Meridian stereo, vast 20-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and a reversing camera – although again, this last item should really be standard.
Top-spec HSE Luxury trim adds 21-inch alloys, an even punchier Meridian stereo, twin rear-seat entertainment screens, a 360-degree bird’s-eye camera and two sunroofs – a fixed panoramic job in the back and a tilt/slide up front. A neat touch is that the electric folding mechanism for the rear seats can be remotely controlled from a smartphone, but it all adds up to a costly car – the HSE Luxury looks rather expensive alongside Audi and Volvo rivals.
Land Rover is also building 600 ‘First Edition’ Discoveries, which come with 22-inch alloy wheels, a fridge, heated and cooled rear seats and metal dashboard inserts with an etched map motif.
Many of the Discovery’s options are bundled into packs. If you‘re looking at S trim, the £1,000 technology pack includes all-round parking sensors, an upgraded stereo and sat nav. The vision assist pack, meanwhile, brings automatic lights and wipers, together with heated and folding wing mirrors for £350. All these features are standard with the SE model, though.
Active cruise control costs a shade under £1,500, while an auto-parking system is £950 and a detachable tow bar is £700. One little luxury we do recommend: the heated steering wheel seems good value at £200.