With total get-out-of-my way power and strength, the mighty Discovery is a seven-seater that offers incredible off-roading capabilities. Once again, the level of luxury is first class and its distinctive design lines help to make it stand out from the crowd.
The goodThe take-on-anything leader of the pack
The badTraditionalists will prefer old rear end design with split tailgate
Land Rover Discovery SD4 240PS SE (2020)
When Land Rover’s all-new Discovery was unveiled there were fears it had gone a little soft with its somewhat ‘gentler’ styling and luxurious fixtures and fittings synonymous with a Range Rover.
How wrong the doubters were and any fears were soon dispelled with Land Rover claiming the new Discovery is the most capable vehicle the company has ever produced.
The ‘go-anywhere’ Discovery is celebrating three decades in the limelight and the fifth generation model certainly lives up to all the hype both on and off road.
It looks sleeker and more aerodynamic, plus it has shed a whopping 480kg in the process which is beneficial to performance and running costs.
Admittedly, it may not possess the bold design statement of the outgoing Discovery 4, but the new Disco is still guaranteed to turn heads as it powers along.
Eye-catching features include a Dark Atlas grille with black surround, a gloss black tailgate finisher, black roof rails, Dark Atlas fender vents with black surround, a fixed panoramic roof and 20-inch gloss black alloys to complete the styling.
Step inside and the Discovery oozes elegance and class. It’s a far cry from the earlier incarnations of the vehicle that were fairly basic in their layout and quite lacking with regards to creature comforts – after all, it was viewed as a workhorse. But new Discovery has been upgraded to premium status and boasts all the bells and whistles to shout about in the process.
For example, the grained leather seats can be heated and feature 12-way power adjustment. There is a 10-inch touchscreen, navigation, TV, WiFi hotspot, 10-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, full smartphone link-up via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto – these a just a fraction of the many on-board systems at your disposal.
The Discovery has all the practicality bases covered too with space for seven to travel in comfort. And when not in use, the pair of rear seats fold flat to the boot floor opening up vast amounts of storage space. In fact, the boot can swallow 258 litres of kit with all seven seats in use and this increases to a mighty 2,406 litres with rows two and three dropped flat.
In addition, there’s a number of handy storage compartments scattered throughout the car, including a double glovebox, deep door pockets, cup holders, a drop-down a sunnies compartment and a central cubby box with USB, SIM card and 12v connection points.
All this luxury and versatility doesn’t exactly come cheap. Our car in SE trim was priced at £54,660 but, as is every premium car makers’ way these days, a long list of optional extras bumped the final cost up to £63,025.
Powered by a 2.0-litre SD4 diesel engine delivering 240hp and 430Nm of torque, it could sprint to 60mph from a standing start in 8.3 seconds and topped out at 121mph while delivering a combined 30.0-33.6mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 194g/km.
When it comes to performance, the Discovery is an absolute delight to drive and the elevated seating position results in great all-round driver visibility – once the middle headrest in row two has been lowered. All the controls and readouts are perfectly positioned for ease of use and despite its size, the car is deceptively agile and easy to manoeuvre through congested city centres.
But it’s out on the open road and motorways that the Discovery really excels. The road holding is confident with minimal body sway and the steering is nicely responsive as the vehicle moves swiftly and smoothly through the eight-speed automatic gearbox. There are steering wheel-mounted paddles for extra driver engagement.
I drove the car 250 miles on the tail of one of the UK’s most severe storms earlier this year and although the weight loss means you do feel the stronger gusts of wind, it still felt quite invincible and safe.
I didn’t venture away from the Tarmac this time round, but it’s worth knowing in the back of your mind that the Discovery can wade through water up to 900mm deep (an increase of 200mm compared to Discovery 4), has ground clearance of 284mm and features Land Rover’s Terrain Response 2 system with modes for General, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud ruts, Sand and Rock crawl. An Auto mode will let the car work out any off-roading trickery for you and it also has a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes for caravan holidays with all the family.
So, when you factor in the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating it soon becomes evident that the Land Rover Discovery is the complete package for anyone with an adventurous streak that is searching for seven-seat versatility in a vehicle that will be unfazed by anything Mother Nature has up her sleeve. Pricey? Yes, but very, very capable.
Land Rover Discovery SD4 Landmark – First Drive (2019)
The go-anywhere Discovery model is celebrating its 30th birthday and to mark such an outstanding achievement Land Rover has introduced a special edition called the Discovery Landmark.
The new vehicle is based on the Discovery SE but gains lots of extra kit both inside and out, plus customers can choose from two Ingenium diesel engines – the SD4 with 240hp or the mighty SD6 with 306hp.
The Discovery Landmark still has all the same seven-seat appeal and versatility of the standard model, but gets a Dynamic Exterior Pack that adds a bespoke front bumper design plus Narvik Black mesh grille and fender vents. Narvik Black nameplate scripting can be found on the bonnet and tailgate and there is also some unique Landmark badging.
And when you factor in front fog lights and Hi-Line tail lights, front and rear panoramic sunroofs, privacy glass and 21-inch gloss black alloys the Disco Landmark certainly has plenty of on-road presence.
Climb inside and you will find yourself surrounded by luxurious fixtures and fitting in a very modern, upmarket cabin. The seats are power-adjustable and there is a wealth of techno treats to explore. Our car featured the finest Ebony grained leather upholstery with heated or ventilated seats and even passengers in row two benefit from heated seats.
Creature comforts include the likes of a clear and intuitive 10-inch touchscreen Touch Pro infotainment system. This is where systems such as the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity is located. There is an easy to use navigation system, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, DAB radio, TV and plenty more besides.
It’s nice to be able to adjust the car’s climate control on the fly and this is easily achievable in the Discovery Landmark thanks to a separate lower interface where all the settings are located. There are also separate dials and buttons for the Terrain Response system for driving in more challenging weather conditions or venturing off-road.
Despite all the upmarket kit, the Discovery has maintained its world class reputation of being very capable away from the Tarmac with a wading depth of 900mm and ground clearance of 284mm. And with family holidays in mind, it can tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 3.5 tonnes.
We tested the Discovery Landmark with the smaller 2.0-litre engine but it certainly didn’t lack any power when it came to performance. It could reach 60mph from a standing start in just 8.3 seconds, topping out at 121mph while delivering combined fuel economy of 30.0-33.6mpg under WLTP testing with carbon emissions of 194g/km (NEDC).
On faster moving country lanes and B roads, the car accelerated smoothly and rapidly through the eight-speed automatic gearbox with paddles for extra driver fun. The ride can be a little bouncy on rougher road surfaces at times mainly due to the larger 21-inch wheels, but that aside the Discovery was nicely composed and balanced. On dual carriageways, it cruised effortlessly at 70mph and it was deceptively agile for its size in busier town centres.
The vehicle is renowned for its seven-seat practicality with two rear seats folded flat to the boot floor when not in use. On the higher trim levels, folding and raising the car’s seats can be done automatically, but on our version it was carried out manually which is fairly simple.
But one word of warning, there is a trio of second row headrests that are huge and really block the visibility through the rearview mirror. Once again these can be power-operated on higher trim models, but you had to physically lower them on the test car. Forget to do this before you set off and you will soon be looking for a layby.
The boot capacity ranges from 258 litres with seven seats occupied to a massive 2,406 litres with rows two and three folded flat. In addition, there are plenty of handy storage options scattered throughout the car, including a double glovebox, deep central bin, practical door pockets, a sunglasses compartment and cup holders.
All in all, when you consider its maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, the Discovery Sport seems to have it all. Admittedly at £57,350 (£62,590 with options), it’s not a cheap vehicle to buy, but one thing is guaranteed – the Discovery Landmark will keep ploughing on no matter what Mother Nature throws in its path and that’s something the likes of farmers and workmen can’t put a price on.
Land Rover Discovery SD6 306ps HSE Luxury
Land Rover’s luxury seven-seater Discovery range has picked up the pace with the introduction of a mighty 306PS diesel-driven model designed to deliver outstanding performance along with impressive economy.
Powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-litre diesel engine with 700Nm of torque the Discovery can blast its way to 60mph in just 7.0 seconds and maxes out at 130mph which is pretty impressive for a full-sized, three-row, seven seat SUV with unparalleled off-road ability plus a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.
Land Rover has an ‘Above and Beyond’ slogan and everything about the latest fifth generation Discovery compliments that strapline. It may not look quite so imposing as the previous generation model did with its distinctive square rear end and split tailgate, but the latest Discovery is more powerful, more comfortable, more capable off-road and boasts all the latest on-board technology and infotainment systems you could possibly wish for.
The Discovery certainly looks sportier than its predecessor with the likes of a black contrast roof with black roof rails, 21-inch gloss black alloy wheels, privacy glass, a dark coloured grille, panoramic sunroof, a gloss black tailgate finisher, body-coloured door handles and Brunel Discovery script on the bonnet and tailgate. It is more dynamic and athletically-styled and that old split tailgate has been replaced by a single opening with a rather clever fold-out bench that makes a handy perch for a coffee break.
The latest model has also shed the pounds weighing 480kgs less than Discovery 4 models and that, in turn, results in improved performance figures and more frugal running costs achieving a combined 28.3 to 31.6mpg with carbon emissions of 206g/km based on the new more stringent WLTP ratings.
Step inside and the interior is beautifully designed and oozes all the elegance and sophistication associated with the Land Rover name. Our test car, in top-of-the-range HSE Luxury grade, featured Windsor leather seats with 16-way power adjustment, along with the likes of a 14-speaker Meridian surround sound system, a rear seat entertainment system with individual screens and headsets, electrically reclining rear seats, powered third row seats, a 10-inch touchscreen, a heated steering wheel, plus plenty more besides. And at last, Land Rover has fitted Apple CarPlay to its vehicles for full smartphone connectivity.
When it comes to performance, the Discovery ticks all the right boxes. Despite its larger-than-life dimensions, it’s beautifully agile and easy to manoeuvre around town with the Park Assist proving handy when squeezing into a tight parking space.
It’s also a vehicle that instantly responds with bursts of power for overtaking out on the B roads and the direct steering is certainly worthy of a mention. It’s happy cruising along effortlessly eating up the motorway miles or powering through the country lanes where it fires through the beautifully timed eight-speed automatic gearbox. The road holding is assured and there are minimal signs of body sway.
The Discovery is an incredibly comfortable vehicle that offers all the luxury expected from a premium SUV that’s also kitted out with every bit of Land Rover 4×4 expertise. This is a car that’s guaranteed to get you from A to B no matter what Mother Nature throws in your path. It can wade through water up to 900mm deep, lean at death defying angles, boasts 283mm ground clearance and features the company’s Terrain Response 2 system which automatically makes off-roading a simple process even for novice 4×4 drivers.
Obviously, a family SUV needs to be practical and the Discovery is exactly that. The second and third rows of seats can be controlled at the press of a button (including dropping rear headrests for clearer visibility) and the storage options are impressive with a boot capacity that ranges from 258 to 2,406 litres depending on the seating configuration. In addition, there’s a good-sized double glovebox, door bins, a central storage box, cup holders and a hidden compartment behind the climate control console.
The Discovery is also one of the safest models on the fleet and the new SD6 version features some new systems including Clear Exit Detection which alerts the driver and passengers if vehicles, cyclists or other hazards are approaching from behind when exiting the vehicle. And the adaptive cruise control now includes Stop & Go to keep the car a predetermined distance behind the car in front. It can bring the vehicle to a complete standstill in heavy traffic and then move off again when things get moving again provided it’s within three seconds.
These are just a couple of the seemingly endless list of safety features and driver aids on board the Discovery to protect occupants and pedestrians and help prevent accidents occurring in the first place.
After clocking up several hundred miles in the Discovery, I concluded that it’s a vehicle that’s very difficult to find fault with. Yes, the price of what was traditionally considered a workhorse has definitely crept up. Our model was £70,405 (£77,170 with options). But these days, the Discovery is a luxury SUV with all the very best off-road know-how thrown in making it an incredible all-rounder.
At launch, Land Rover described the new Discovery as the “most capable and versatile vehicle it has ever produced” – it would be difficult to disagree with that statement and every new tweak and advancement since its launch seems to have raised that bar even higher.
Land Rover Discovery Si4 HSE Luxury
With its seven-seat versatility, abundance of on-board technology and all the on and off-road capabilities you could possibly wish for the latest Land Rover Discovery is a fabulous all-rounder.
Now in its fifth generation, the Discovery is also available with a new punchy four-cylinder petrol engine and it has all the pulling power expected from such a powerhouse of a car.
It’s a timely arrival for the ever-popular Discovery with such a heavy cloud hanging over diesel at the moment and it is impressive on all counts apart from a slight dip in fuel economy.
The Discovery underwent a toe-to-tail or bumper-to-bumper redesign last year and at its launch the company declared it was the “most capable and versatile vehicle it has ever produced”.
From every approach, it looks completely new with a more streamlined, rounded and aerodynamic body. It’s lighter than its predecessor but still up to any task thrown its way. The headlight clusters are sleeker in their appearance and that big square rear end has been softened down and rounded off. The split tailgate has been replaced by a powered tailgate and the interior is packed to bursting with all the latest infotainment systems and techno treats imaginable.
Our test model was supplied in range-topping HSE Luxury trim priced at £66,095 (£69,020 with options) and it certainly looked the business with its black grille, LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, electric sunroof, privacy glass, signature hi-line tail lights and striking 21-inch alloy wheels.
Step inside the spacious cabin and it is clutter free with very modern styling cues. Highlights include a 10-inch touchscreen, a top notch and easy-to-operate navigation system, a 14-speaker Meridian surround sound system, four zone climate control, a heated steering wheel and a rear seat entertainment system. There are nine USB ports, along with 3G Wi-Fi and the facility to host eight separate Wi-Fi devices at the same time – that should keep the kids occupied on a long journey then!
Comfort levels within the vehicle are luxurious and sublime with ample room for seven people to travel in style. Our car boasted Windsor leather seats that could be heated or cooled and had full power adjustment with memory settings. The seats in rows two and three can be raised or lowered at the press of a button and there’s no scrambling around trying to lower headrests either as its carried out automatically.
The 300hp 2.0-litre petrol engine is mated to a super slick eight-speed automatic transmission which drives the car to 62mph from a standing start in just 7.7 seconds – this is at least half a second faster than the diesel model and the top speed of 125mph is also slightly higher. According to official figures, the Si4 petrol Discovery can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 29.4mpg (we saw slightly less at about 23mpg) while the diesel versions are more frugal offering up to 43.5mpg. Carbon emissions on the test car were rated at 222g/km which is again higher than the diesel variant.
The elevated seating position means the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and there’s a range of driver assist features to help prevent accidents. These include autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitor and reverse traffic detection, a driver condition monitor, traffic sign recognition, auto high beam assist, intelligent speed limiter and lots more besides.
When it comes to performance, the petrol-driven Discovery proved an absolute delight to drive. The acceleration was swift and responsive with a constant stream of power on tap at all times to make light work of overtaking. And despite its size – the Discovery is almost five metres in length – the car was deceptively agile and was easy to manoeuvre around town.
Then out on the faster more twisting country lanes, it fired through the gears. The road holding was confidently assured and there was minimal body roll into bends.
It’s also worth mentioning how refined the vehicle was to drive. Even when being pushed along with a rather heavy right boot there was next-to-no engine, road surface or wind noise filtering through into the cabin. And all but the most severe of potholes are ironed out by the highly efficient suspension system.
On this occasion we didn’t venture from the Tarmac, but the Discovery is a go-anywhere vehicle that’s not fazed by anything Mother Nature throws in its path. It can wade through water up to 900mm deep, can climb, descend and lean at nerve-wracking angles, has ground clearance of 283mm and features Land Rover’s multi-mode Terrain Response 2 system which makes taking to the off-road a breeze for the most inexperienced of drivers. It also has 3.5-tonne towing capabilities so pulling a horse box or caravan will not be an issue.
The power gestured tailgate is a handy feature especially when approaching the car laden down with goods and the boot has a capacity that ranges from 258 litres to 2,406 litres depending on the seating configuration making the Discovery an exceptionally practical option.
So, all in all, the Discovery is a pretty impressive all-rounder. It can carry out the day-day demands of a workhorse if that’s what’s required, but it is just as happy being used as the perfect luxurious family car for anyone who thrives on an active lifestyle.
Land Rover Discovery – first drive (2017)
When a company as steeped in off-roading heritage as Land Rover announces that its latest model is the “most capable and versatile vehicle it has ever produced” then it definitely demands closer inspection – after all this is the marque that brought us the go-anywhere Defender.
But the vehicle grabbing all the headlines this time round is the all-new fifth generation Discovery which replaces the outgoing Discovery 4 version and it would seem buyers are queuing up to sign on the dotted line. In fact, 25,000 global orders (5,215 in the UK alone) have already been placed and this for a vehicle that has been on sale for just over a month.
It would be an honest statement to make that despite being a tad dated, the ‘old’ Discovery 4 is a tough act to follow with its all-conquering terrain capabilities, seven-seat versatility and premium styling, but Land Rover believes the latest model raises the bar to a whole new level in the full-sized SUV stakes.
New Discovery is much lighter, more aerodynamic, more efficient and packed with new technology to help deliver the complete package for active families who want a car that can tackle any obstacle but still look flashy enough to have the neighbours twitching at their curtains.
The ultra-lightweight construction has resulted in weight savings of 480kg and that pound-shedding means carbon emissions have been slashed to as low as 171g/km. Prices start from a very competitive £43,495 and when it comes to design; the Discovery has been completely transformed. It is lower, longer and narrower which gives the car a sportier and far more modern and up-to-date appearance.
The headlight clusters are neater and the big square rear end design has been rounded off with a traditionally-shaped number plate off-set left rather than a square one. The split tailgate has been ditched but rather cleverly a section of the boot floor folds out and makes a handy perch for two adults whilst they admire the view, enjoy a coffee break or remove muddy boots.
Of course, flexibility, versatility and practicality have always been key features that have attracted buyers to the Discovery and once again the car offers stadium seating for seven occupants so as Land Rover explained “everyone has the best seat in the house”. However a new feature on the latest model is the ease in which seats in rows two and three can be raised or lowered. This can be achieved electrically by pressing buttons in the boot, using the touchscreen or even via an app on a smartphone. All seats in the vehicle are heated too for extra comfort.
Storage options are exceptionally good with a boot that can cater for a whopping 2,500 litres of luggage with the seats in rows two and three dropped flat. In addition there are dozens of additional storage compartments scattered throughout the car – some you will have to search for such as the giant bin underneath the cup holders.
Access to multi-media devices in modern cars is a ‘must’ and with that in mind the latest Discovery has nine USB ports, 3G WiFi and is capable of hosting eight separate WiFi devices at the same time. That should mean all bases are covered.
And the Discovery is the toughest and most capable model to date with 3.5-tonne towing capabilities. It can wade through water up to 900mm deep (an increase of 200mm over Disco 4), has ground clearance of 284mm and features Land Rover’s multi-mode Terrain Response 2 system which makes taking on tough off-road tasks a doddle for even the more inexperienced of drivers.
We tested out the latest Discovery on a comprehensive road route consisting motorways, busy town centres and fast country lanes, and when that box was ticked we ventured off road at Eastnor Castle which is regarded as one of the toughest off-road settings around and is used regularly as a testing ground by Land Rover.
The test car was the 3.0-litre TD6 diesel version in HSE Luxury trim priced at £64,195 (£75,570 with options fitted). It could reach 60mph from a standing start in 7.7 seconds, topped out at 130mph and, according to official figures, can deliver combined fuel economy of 39.2mpg with carbon emissions of 189g/km.
Despite the weight loss, the Discovery is still a pretty large unit to say the least, but that is certainly not reflected in the handling. It is agile and very easy to manoeuvre with outstanding all-round visibility. Even on 21-inch wheels the ride was comfortable with next-to-no body roll to speak of, and it certainly feels a lot more composed than the outgoing model meaning it can be pushed harder into bends with confidence.
The improved aerodynamics results in a reduction in wind noise and minimal engine or road surface sounds filter through into the cabin. But don’t be fooled into thinking the Discovery just ambles along – it has a fabulous turn of pace when required and makes very light work of overtaking at short notice. The gear changing is slick and smooth plus the car’s excellent suspension irons out any bumps and dips along the way.
We then put the Discovery through a rigorously demanding off-road course where it was asked to climb rocks, crawl up a set of steps, wade through water and traverse muddy banks at ridiculously steep side angles. Of course, it passed every challenge with flying colours and you really do walk away from the car feeling close to invincible.
And that is just how Land Rover sees its latest model. It has taken all the attributes of the old models and then upped the ante considerably. The result is a seemingly indestructible vehicle that offers all the luxury and connectivity options of a modern day car combined with the safety, technology and brute force required from an all-terrain vehicle. And on that matter, the Discovery has just been awarded the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP safety ratings.
My only slightly negative thought after a day of being wowed by the vehicle’s amazing capabilities regards the new design and its move away from the traditional characteristics. Personally I liked the instantly-recognisable, box-shaped rear end of the older model. In contrast, new Discovery looks ultra-modern, but I’m aware that times change and aerodynamics, running costs and performance are key factors. I’m also sure the fresh design will grow on me in time.
The Discovery model in its many guises has been around for 27 years now attracting more than 1.2 million buyers and now Land Rover believes its new fifth generation model can easily live up to the company’s desire to go Above and Beyond. And the way sales are clocking up, they could well be right.
Land Rover Discovery HSE Lux Landmark Limited Edition
The mighty go-anywhere, tackle-anything Discovery model has always had plenty of bold, rugged on-road presence, but Land Rover has announced two special models that really help the vehicle stand out from the crowd.
The first is a Graphite edition, priced from £47,495, which gives the Discovery a modern distinctive appearance with plenty of grey Graphite trim traits.
But the test car was the Landmark Limited Edition which builds on the already plentiful and grand specification of the HSE Luxury derivative by adding new features inside and out to deliver a more upmarket premium look and feel.
There is the addition of full length roof rails, distinctive black fender vents, grille and mirror caps, silver bonnet and tailgate badges, 20-inch alloy wheels, plus Landmark badging to the side and rear.
Move inside and it’s impossible not to be impressed by the build quality with leather upholstery at every turn. The Landmark edition introduces Windsor leather seats along with the Extended Leather Pack which furnishes the dashboard, door casings and fascias.
The vehicle is available in a choice of five colours, including Zanzibar, which is exclusively reserved for the model. And inside, buyers can select from a choice of three shades.
The seven-seater, powered by a 3.0-litre 256bhp SDV6 diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, was priced at £55,995 (£58,105 with options). As well as all the Landmark-specific design cues, the vehicle was still instantly recognisable as a Discovery.
Features included a sunroof, electric seats with memory settings, heated front and rear seats, a rear view camera, satellite navigation, DAB radio, a Meridian sound system, interior mood lighting, Bluetooth connectivity, an on-board television, rear seat entertainment with cordless headphones and a whole lot more besides.
Despite its larger-than-life dimensions, the Discovery has always had a great reputation for its performance and this particular model powered its way to 60mph from a standing start in just 8.8 seconds with a top speed of 112mph. And it is actually quite economical along the way too with combined fuel efficiency of 36.7mpg and carbon emissions of 203g/km.
The driver benefits from an elevated position which is great for all-round visibility and all the controls, dials and instrumentation are perfectly placed for ease of use.
In and around town, the Discovery was deceptively agile and quite easy to manoeuvre although you will need a rather large parking space. That said; the rear camera does make the process of reversing into tight spaces much simpler.
But it’s out on faster lanes and motorways where the Discovery bursts into life. The road-holding is assured, the steering precise and there is not too much engine, road or wind noise to be heard within the cabin. The acceleration is beautifully smooth with a constant supply of power on tap at all times and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts offer that little bit more control if so desired.
Of course, the vehicle is a thoroughly accomplished off-roader, so it comes as little surprise to hear that the Discovery can wade through water up to 700mm deep, has an obstacle clearance of 310mm and can achieve unbelievable approach and departure angles of 36.2 and 25.4 degrees respectively.
The Discovery has been billed as the ultimate vehicle for all-terrain capability and versatility and whilst this latest limited edition version can still accomplish the same feats, it does add a little extra luxury and refinement along the way.
Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 HSE Lux
There’s no denying the mighty Land Rover Discovery’s capabilities off-road, but there is definitely a gentler side to the larger-than-life vehicle.
It has built its reputation as a vehicle that can climb mountains, cross streams and make mincemeat of any obstacle course that would see any other model abysmally falter, but the Discovery is certainly not just grunt and muscle.
Instantly recognisable thanks to its square-like design and stand-out lights, the vehicle boasts massive alloy wheels, plus the word ‘Discovery’ blazoned across the bonnet. This is a new design feature that replaces the words ‘Land Rover’ on outgoing models.
But it also features some creature comforts that wouldn’t be out of place on a luxury saloon.
The test model was in HSE Lux spec so you would expect the interior quality to be good, but it outshines all expectations.
For example, the upholstery is made from the finest ivory premium leather and the seats can be heated and electrically adjusted to find the ideal driving position.
In addition, the steering wheel can be heated too and the generous array of techno teats can be controlled from a central stack which helps keep the interior clean and clutter-free.
There is a colour touchscreen along with sat nav, an audio system compatible with modern media devices, Bluetooth connectivity, rear parking displays and plenty more besides.
The spacious interior means all occupants have room to stretch out and the second row passengers are treated to their own DVD screens. There are two extra seats folded flat to the boot floor that can quickly and easily be utilised when needed. However, when they are not in use, the massive boot can be accessed via a split-tailgate which makes loading heavy or awkwardly-shaped items much easier.
There is definitely an invincible feel to the Discovery and the high-seated driving position results in excellent all-round visibility.
The Discovery 4 is powered by a 3.0-litre diesel engine delivering 256ps and despite its size it can make the 0-60mph dash in just 8.8 seconds and redlines at 112mph.
It is also cleaner and has improved economy compared to its predecessor with combined fuel efficiency of 35.3mpg and 213g/km of carbon emissions.
Despite being deceptively nimble for its size the Discovery 4, which costs £59.4k, does feel like a giant of a vehicle on twisting narrow country lanes and simple objectives such as parking can be a real nightmare on busy streets – even with all the parking aids.
Yet that aside, it handles really well as it powers effortlessly through the eight-speed automatic gearbox. There is some engine and road surface noise, which is only to be expected in a vehicle of its size, but it’s worth remembering the Discovery’s incredible off-road capabilities.
When vehicles are supplied for test driving, manufacturers provide a spec sheet with information about the model. It usually highlights performance stats and optional extras, but the Discovery one lists wading depths of 700mm, obstacle clearance of 310mm and off-road approach angles of 37.2 degrees.
It’s when you read these figures that you are reminded that the Discovery 4 certainly offers the best of both worlds.
It does have creature comforts galore, but also has a very practical side that means nothing Mother Nature throws in its path will pose much of a problem.
Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 HSE
With luxurious comforts normally associated with a superstar’s limousine and all the off-road capabilities to tackle any terrain, the Land Rover Discovery 4 really does offer the best of both worlds.
Boasting a rugged, ready-for-action design with beefy wheels that could creep up a mini mountain, the Discovery 4 looks fabulous from all angles. It has a bold stance that almost taunts Mother Nature to throw some damage in its path.
But once you take your seat – leather and heated of course – behind the multi-function steering wheel, it’s impossible not to be impressed with the sheer build quality and level of creature comforts that surround you.
For example, the almond and nutmeg premium leather interior contrasts beautifully with the black lacquer inserts and flashes of aluminium throughout the cabin.
There is a subtle refinement to this seven-seater which is bold without being brash.
Most of the controls are situated in a central stack which houses the dual zone air con, sat nav system and premium audio with connectivity to all modern day music and media devices. There’s even a TV that can be used when the vehicle is stationary and the cooler box cannot go without a mention either.
The seats can be electrically adjusted every which way to find the perfect driving position and there are memory settings to save that information too.
Everything is very clear and easy to absorb with all readouts and dials perfectly positioned for driver usability.
There is a push button start and stop function, a gear select dial and, if required, options to tackle more demanding off-road or snow conditions.
All passengers are treated to plenty of leg room and the third row of seats quickly and easily fold flat to the floor to increase the boot capacity. There are even three separate sunroof sections so each row of occupants is guaranteed a light and bright environment.
The Discovery 4 features an incredibly smooth eight-speed automatic transmission with the option of manual paddle shift gear changes if required. But in all reality, the gearbox is so responsive and smooth you would rarely opt for the manual alternative.
Despite its size, the Discovery 4 proved deceptively nimble. It’s pretty sharp out of the blocks reaching from 0-60mph in just 8.8 seconds and it can easily hold its own with faster moving motorway traffic. The brilliant all-round visibility is a real bonus when driving through busy city centres with cyclists and pedestrians appearing from all angles.
The 3.0-litre turbo-charged diesel engine provides ample power to drive the mighty Discovery 4 and cabin noise is relatively quiet.
Land Rover has kitted the 4×4 with a comprehensive list of safety features, including many functions that really come into their own when off-roading.
All in all, the Discovery 4 is the perfect blend of executive refinement mixed with working class grit.
Land Rover Discovery 3 TDV6 HSE 5dr
If you ever fancy taking a rugby side to the Dubai Sevens then the Land Rover Discovery could be the perfect vehicle to use to transport them along with all their kit.
For this somewhat luxurious vehicle that has been carefully crafted into a jaw-dropping design can easily carry seven people – of the burly variety too – and they won’t be scrummaging for space.
Despite being ever popular on the school run much to the envy of most soft-roader drivers, the Discovery 3 really is so much more than a means of transport.
It’s true that it’s not cheap and should never be treated as a toy, but the reality of the matter is the Discovery is from a working family and just loves to go off road and get dirty.
No matter what the terrain or what Mother Nature throws in its path, this vehicle simply sneers at the challenge and gets on with the job in hand.
By turning a dial you can select one of the various drive modes from grass, gravel or snow, sand and even crawling over rocks and the vehicle’s intelligence system will do the rest for you by choosing the transmission, suspension and traction settings to suit the challenge.
And although it may make a few of the clean-the-hubcaps-weekly owners shudder with horror, the rear tailgate can actually support the weight of two adults and makes a fantastic viewing platform.
On the more open road, the Discovery handles exceptionally well and there is outstanding all-round visibility for the driver and passengers alike. This is due to the stadium-style seating.
Creature comforts are supplied by the bucket load and include a very fast acting air con system front and back, leather seats, a rear seat entertainment system plus front and rear parking sensors. To be honest, this barely scratches the surface of luxurious specifications that are found everywhere you turn inside the cabin.
And of course, the safety equipment fitted on this vehicle is second to none including anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability control, electronic brake assist, electronic traction control, active roll mitigation, numerous airbags and even a tyre pressure monitoring system.
After a week behind the wheel of this vehicle, initial outlay and running costs aside, my only criticism was that someone from Land Rover wanted it back!