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.
About the Land Rover Discovery
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.
A hike in price has also failed to lessen the Discovery's appeal, although now that it starts at more than £57,000, it has moved well beyond the realms of the family SUV and 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 Defender 130 model (with seating for eight), or the Range Rover Sport as alternatives. The Sport 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.
Car group tests
- Land Rover Discovery (Mk1, 1989-1998) icon review
- New Land Rover Discovery Metropolitan Edition 2022 review
- New Land Rover Discovery 2021 review
- New Land Rover Discovery Si6 2018 review
Used car tests
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 no longer includes the 296bhp 2.0-litre, four-cylinder P300 version, leaving the 355bhp 3.0-litre straight-six P360 variant as the sole petrol model.
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, joined by a Metropolitan Edition and Commercial versions.
Whichever model you choose, there aren't many full-size 4x4s that offer the kind of space the Discovery has to offer. The seven-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 added 'go anywhere' appeal.
Used and nearly new
The Discovery still remains a sought after luxury SUV, although buyers have more choice than ever from the Land Rover marque with the Evoque, Discovery Sport, new Defender, Velar and Range Rover Sport offering a way into Land Rover ownership. The prestigious Range Rover now sits in an altogether different market, commanding prices that push it into competition with the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and even the Rolls Royce Cullinan.
Other models in the Land Rover lineup may be more fashionable than the Discovery, but it's no less capable than its siblings, offering seven seats, cavernous space, a premium interior and all the 4x4 ability you might need.
Land Rover Discovery history
Land Rover Discovery Mk5: 2017-date
Buyers looking for a used Land Rover Discovery will find that the Mk5 model still commands a strong price. Residual values of around 60 per cent after a typical three-year/36,000-mile ownership period (from new), mean that you'll still need plenty of cash to secure a decent example, but in exchange you'll benefit from a supremely capable workhorse, with added refinement and good levels of on-board tech.
We'd suggest going for a smooth V6 model, while you'll have to decide whether you can live with the base model kit list (which is still pretty comprehensive), or pay a premium for a luxury HSE model. Read our full Mk5 Land Rover Discovery buyer’s guide here…
Land Rover Discovery Mk4: 2009-2017
Based on the Discovery 3, the Mk4 model brought in a fresh exterior design, a new cabin and upgraded tech, but still maintained its practical seven-seat layout and huge load space. Power was limited to a V6 diesel, while unlike the Mk5 model, entry level cars did not offer a tremendous amount of kit, so best to look out for a mid-spec SE or a top HSE version. Read our full Mk4 Land Rover Discovery buyer’s guide here…
Other Land Rover Discovery models
Due to the Discovery's excellent off-road ability, you'll almost certainly find earlier models up for sale at 4x4 specialists all over the country. The Mk1 cars were produced between 1989 and 1998, so will probably be the cheapest entry point into ownership, while those looking for even better load space may want to seek out a Mk2 Discovery which benefited from an extended rear body compared to its predecessor. Production of the Mk2 model continued until 2004, when the Mk3 surfaced with a more modern, stylish exterior and a selection of V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines sourced from sister firm Jaguar.
For an alternative review of the Land Rover Discovery, visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk...
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