Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Discovery review (2017-2023)

A family favourite for decade, this fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery is as capable as ever on and off road. It’s luxurious, crammed with technology and has powerful yet efficient engines.

Pros

  • Exudes luxury and comfort
  • Excellent off-road ability
  • Lots of third-row space

Cons

  • Not as stylish as its rivals
  • Infotainment system isn’t as good as rivals

Summary

“For go-anywhere capability with added style and comfort, there aren't many better cars than this.”

If you’re looking for an SUV that has executive looks, practical family appeal and excellent off-road ability, the Land Rover Discovery is the one for you. Fantastically comfortable, spacious enough for a large family and luxurious enough for just about anyone, the Discovery is a car that can do just about everything you need it to on the road, and a fair few things off the road too.

Three rows of seats give you space for seven, with one of the roomiest third rows of any seven-seater car. There's a range of strong engines too, and lots of equipment options to keep you informed and entertained on the longest of journeys.

There are some question marks over reliability, which makes it more important than ever to make sure you get a good one, and it sips fuel at a high rate, too. But for go-anywhere capability with added style and comfort, there aren't many better cars than this. We're looking at the fifth-generation car, introduced in 2017 and given a refresh in 2021.

What's the interior like?

“The Discovery's focus on space hasn't compromised its comfort.”

The Discovery is built with practicality at the forefront. That means loads of space inside, including – unusually – third row seats that even adults can use. Only the likes of the Volvo XC90 and Kia Sorento can compete with that.

With the back seats folded down there's an enormous boot to haul just abou anything you need, from shopping to bikes to flat-pack furniture. The electric boot opens to reveal a secondary panel that folds down at the touch of a button. This makes loading up the car easy and also offers somewhere to sit and watch the kids play football.

But the focus on space hasn't compromised comfort. This is a genuine luxury car, with plush materials and all manner of upholsteries on exceedingly comfortable seats. Storage spaces are plentiful to ensure the Discovery makes for a great family car.

The Touch Pro infotainment system in early cars could be better – it's somewhat fiddly to use – but the later system in cars sold from 2021 is far better. Called Pivi Pro, it uses a big central touchscreen replete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and is linked to a digital instrument panel behind teh steering wheel, in place of traditional dials.

What's it like to drive?

“The Discovery has great off-road capability if you need it but for most drivers, it's more about comfort and luxury.”

The Discovery has great off-road capability if you need it – it'll clamber over terrain that will make other SUVs shrink. But for most drivers, it's more about comfort and luxury. The Discovery extremely comfortable for driver and passengers, thanks to the superior air suspension that's included as standardard, a lightweight body (for the size) and smooth engines.

It’s not designed for going around corners fast but Discoverys are made to go everywhere and the latest is no exception. It promises a smooth ride on country lanes, in the city or when travelling long distances on the motorway. It's a fantastic car for a holiday road trip (fuel bill aside).

It’s also brilliant off-road with the latest generation Terrain Response 2 system. This ensures it’s sure-footed on gravel roads, crossing fields and even wading through rivers. Don’t be fooled by its lifestyle looks – the Discovery is one of the most capable vehicles available.

Petrol engines include efficient 2.0-litre units that offer surprisingly good performance for their size. There’s also a 2.0-litre and a bigger 3.0-litre diesel which is a good choice if you plan to drive with a full load and want more power. Additionally, there’s a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 petrol which delivers more fun but higher fuel costs.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“You might pay slightly more for a Discovery but in a number of ways, you’ll get more for your cash.”

It’s likely you’ll pay slightly more for a Discovery than cars like the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, but in a number of ways, you’ll get more for your cash. This is definitely true when it comes to seven-seat practicality and true off-road ability. The diesel-engined versions are the most efficient to go for unless you spend most of your time in town or going on shorter journeys.

Running costs are similar to all the Land Rover’s rivals when it comes to insurance and road tax, while servicing and maintenance prices are also going to be competitive. There have been quite a few reports about the Land Rover Discovery's reliability, however, so be prepared.

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Which one is best for you?

Equipment levels are good across the Land Rover Discovery range. The entry-level S and the next model up, the SE, should suit most people, especially if they’re fitted with optional extras. The HSE trim provides the best all-round spec with most of the luxury and gadgets that you could wish for. R-Dynamic models add a sporty edge, in looks at least.

The petrol models aren’t the most fuel-efficient, but they’re responsive, quiet and smooth. The diesels are the best all-rounders with the 3.0 SDV6 being the most popular. It’s definitely the one to go for if you plan on towing.

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