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Land Rover Discovery

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2017
      Body type
      SUV
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Proper off-roading family SUV”

Best bits

  • Simply peerless off-road
  • Among the most practical and versatile cars you can buy
  • Great driving position and visibility

Not so great

  • Not as polished on the road as many rivals
  • Interior quality isn’t at Audi levels
  • Land Rover’s reliability record might worry you

Read by

Land Rover Discovery  2017 frontright exterior

Overall verdict

Land Rover Discovery  2017 front interior

On the inside

Land Rover Discovery  2017frontright exterior

Driving

Land Rover Discovery  2017back exterior

How much does it cost to run

Land Rover Discovery  2017 right exterior

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"This generation of the Land Rover Discovery was met with a mixed reaction when it was first launched in 2017. Its predecessors had all employed no-nonsense boxy styling in order to make them look as rugged and as outdoorsy as Bear Grylls wearing a lumberjack shirt, and when folk saw this one, with its curves and bulges, many worried that the Discovery had gone soft."

Land Rover Discovery  2017 frontright exterior

They needn’t, thankfully. In fact, despite the less rugged appearance, it's actually better off-road. It's almost 500kg lighter than before - a huge weight loss - plus it has more ground clearance (up from 240mm to 283mm) and an increased wading depth. So, it's able to tackle terrain that the old Discovery 4 would get stuck on.


This reduction in weight means it's better to drive on the road too. Granted, it still can’t match it's very best rivals in either the ride or handling stakes, but it still has the ability to waft you along comfortably - particularly on the motorway - and it seldom feels like it's going to fall over on a set of bends.


New for this generation of Discovery was a smaller 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine. It actually works pretty well with the big Land Rover and provides more than enough power for everyday driving. Plus, fuel economy and CO2 emissions improve, too. Yet it can still pull - the Discovery has an improved towing capacity of 3500kg on all models, as well as a clever semi-autonomous advanced tow assist system.


The Discovery remains a seven-seater with plenty of room for all those in the back. What’s more, in high-end versions, all of the rear seats now fold down (and back up again) electrically via buttons in the tailgate.


The interior quality has improved too - with a design reminiscent to that of a Range Rover - so this Discovery feels that bit more luxurious than before. In fact, only a sluggish touchscreen system lets it down; it often takes several prods for it to recognise what you want it to do. You’ll find yourself jabbing away at it with your finger, like you’re telling it off.


Nevertheless, if you're after a high-quality, go-anywhere family SUV that can cope with everything you can throw at it, the Land Rover Discovery is pretty much perfect. 

Is the Land Rover Discovery right for you?

Let’s be honest, if you’re after a seven-seat luxury SUV to ferry your family around in, you’re not exactly starved of choice. Yes, many are better to drive on the road than the Discovery, with a smoother ride and neater handling, so if you’re looking for the ultimate in dynamic polish, you’re probably better off considering something like the Audi Q7.


However, if it’s practicality you’re after, the Disco does the job as well as anything in the class. It’ll seat seven adults in comfort, which is a claim few rivals can genuinely make, so it’s a great choice.


If you plan to take your car off-road, however, it’s the only choice. Many big SUVs have four-wheel drive and hill descent control to justify their off-roader looks, but the Discovery goes much further with all sorts of clever off-roading wizardry, and as a result, it’ll get much further into the wilderness than its rivals. Granted, not many folk actually do take their big SUV off-road, but if you’re one of the few that does, this thing is what you need.

What's the best Land Rover Discovery model/engine to choose?

You have three engines to choose from in the Discovery, and of them, we’d recommend the entry-level one, the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder SD4 diesel. With 240PS, it copes with the car’s enormous proportions better than you might think. Sure, it’s no ball of fire, but it’s perky enough to keep you rolling along at a meaningful rate without too much trouble. Besides, neither of the other two engines feel that much quicker, so it’s best to save your cash and enjoy the superior fuel economy.


We’d recommend spending some of that cash you've saved on an upgrade in trim level though. The S and SE trim grades come with enough luxury kit to be getting on with, but you want a car like the Discovery to feel truly special, and for that you need the creature comforts that HSE trim provides, stuff like upgraded leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, a hands-free powered tailgate, heated rear seats and a fixed panoramic roof.

What other cars are similar to the Land Rover Discovery?

The Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 are arguably its most direct rivals, while both the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE are offered in seven-seat format as well as five. The Lexus RX-L shouldn’t be forgotten, especially by those looking for ultimate reliability, while if you’re more focused on the practicality element rather than the luxury element, then cars like the SEAT Tarraco, Skoda Kodiaq, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento could be more affordable alternatives.

Learn more

Land Rover Discovery  2017 front interior

On the inside

Land Rover Discovery  2017frontright exterior

Driving

Land Rover Discovery  2017back exterior

How much does it cost to run

Land Rover Discovery  2017 right exterior

Prices, versions and specification