Land Rover Discovery review - Engines, performance and drive
Six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines offer plenty of pace and performance
With air suspension fitted as standard to every model, the Discovery rides smoothly. It’s most comfortable on smaller wheels (now 20-inch versions), as the larger 21 and 22-inch alloys do cause some harsher jolts from the rear axle over more severe bumps, but that’s not too much of a surprise given that the Disco has been designed to carry seven people and luggage.
On smoother roads, the Discovery’s weight (this is still a two-tonne-plus car despite the savings) means it moves with the road in a gentle and languid fashion, cosseting its occupants nicely.
The steering is slow and not the most precise around, so even by the standards of its class, the Discovery isn’t a particularly agile car to drive. There’s lots of body roll in faster corners, but that suits the relaxed and soothing driving experience. The refined powertrains help, too - we'd argue that comfort and quietness are the most important traits in a car like this.
All cars feature an eight-speed automatic gearbox and permanent four-wheel drive, and all models come with Land Rover’s Terrain Response set-up, which can automatically sense what the car is driving on and adjust the parameters of the engine and transmission across five different driving modes to suit different types of terrain. This adds to the easy, relaxed and unhurried nature with which the Discovery goes about its business, helping to make this easily one of the most comfortable and practical cars on sale today.
All in all, this means that, despite its revised styling and even more upmarket approach, the Discovery is still unrivalled when it comes to off-road performance.
Car group tests
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Used car tests
However, the Discovery's incredible size means it can be a little more challenging to thread down a narrow country road, as well as to park (although there are plenty of features to help you with the latter). Similarly, car's the weight means you need to get your braking done nice and early, but the car still feels safe and reassured, with more than enough stopping power.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
As part of the 2020 facelift Land Rover introduced an entirely new engine range for the Discovery, with the brand's latest four and six-cylinder Ingenium engines – some of which benefit from 48-volt mild-hybrid assistance – now included across the line-up.
The P360 petrol version takes the title for best performer in the Discovery range. Its 3.0-litre straight six unit produces 355bhp and manages the 0-62mph sprint in 6.5 seconds, before topping out at a 130mph maximum.
The P300 variant is no longer available, but should you be in the market for a used example you'll find it reaches 62mph from a standstill in 7.3 seconds, with a claimed 125mph top speed.
The top D300 diesel splits the difference in terms of pace with a 6.8 second dash to 62mph, while the 247bhp D250 can still hold its head high with a decent 8.1 second time.
In this review
- 1Land Rover Discovery reviewThe 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 drive - currently readingSix-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