Land Rover Discovery review
The fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery isn't cheap, but it's one of the best all-round family cars money can buy
The latest Land Rover Discovery is the most capable yet. It manages to blend the unrivalled off-road ability and toughness of the company's previous 4x4s with a considerably better on-road driving experience and greater efficiency.
The Disco is impressively refined, and better still it delivers all the versatility you’d expect from an upmarket seven-seat 4x4. In fact, the Land Rover is almost unsurpassed when it comes to coping with everything from the school run to a fully loaded excursion up a mountain.
Granted, the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 are more adept in the bends, and the Land Rover's looks will divide opinion, but the Discovery is extremely comfortable. If you factor in some of the smart new technology on-board, the Discovery is a very capable package indeed.
The current Land Rover Discovery is the first to sport a rounded look. Buyers used to the square shape of the Discovery 3 and 4 were in for a shock when it was first revealed, but what remained intact was the spacious 7 seater interior that made those two models so popular. A facelift, in 2020, freshened the exterior, streamlined the engine lineup and added Land Rover's new Pivi Pro infotainment system.
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A hike in price has also failed to lessen the Discovery's appeal, although now that it starts at prices in excess of £53,000, it has moved will beyond the realms of the family SUV into the world of luxury 4x4s. It challenges other upmarket seven-seat 4x4s, such as the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, while some buyers might even consider the Range Rover Sport as an alternative if the Discovery's looks aren't appealing. The RRS has smaller third-row seats, while cars like the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE also offer this kind of seven-seat option, too.
A radical diet has helped the latest Discovery shed 480kg when compared to the last model. Extensive use of aluminium has helped this, and the weight reduction means that it's now viable for the Discovery to be powered by four-cylinder engines. It's still a heavy car, but at least these engines help with fuel economy.
The engine line-up comprises a 3.0-litre mild-hybrid diesel unit available in two states of tune: the D250 delivering 247bhp and the D300 with 296bhp. The petrol range includes a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder P300 version, developing 296bhp and 400Nm of torque, and a top-of-the-range 3.0-litre straight-six P360 variant with 355bhp and 500Nm of torque.
Every model also features electronically controlled air-suspension and Land Rover's Terrain Response system that allows you to adjust the diffs, ride height and traction control to suit different grip conditions.
There are S, R-Dynamic S, R-Dynamic SE and R-Dynamic HSE specification levels on offer, although the D300 and P360 models aren't available in combination with the R-Dynamic S trim.
Whichever model you choose, there aren't many full-size 4x4s that offer the kind of space the Discovery has to offer. The 7-seat layout has room for adults in every seat, while the car's off-road ability is second to none in the class, making this a practical and versatile family car that has the added 'go anywhere' appeal.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery isn't cheap, but it's one of the best all-round family cars money can buy
- 2Engines, performance and driveSix-cylinder petrol and diesel engines offer plenty of pace and performance
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsMild-hybrid diesel engines offer a more efficient entry point to the Discovery line-up
- 4Interior, design and technologyRange Rover levels of quality and refinement, plus even more tech and practicality give the Discovery a winning edge
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Disco’s interior is luxurious and cavernous, offering exactly what you want from a large, upmarket seven-seat SUV
- 6Reliability and SafetyA decent level of safety kit means all Discos should offer lots of protection for the family