Review: Land Rover Discovery (2017)
Exceptional comfort and practicality makes this the best family SUV around. All rear seats fold down electrically. 2.0-litre SD4 diesel engine works surprisingly well.
Touchscreen system frustratingly slow. One-piece tailgate needs room for opening. Engine oil contamination from DPF regens after short runs.
Land Rover Discovery (2017): At A Glance
- New prices start from £43,495, brokers can source from £42,927
- Contract hire deals from £495.95 per month
- On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure
It's all change for this generation of the Land Rover Discovery. For starters, gone is the traditional boxy shape, replaced by a profile more akin to a Range Rover Sport. Then there's the introduction of a 2.0-litre diesel engine alongside the existing 3.0-litre.
So is the Discovery going soft? After all, this is one of the few SUVs out there that has always been genuinely capable off-road.
The answer is thankfully no. 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. It's still no match for the cars like the Porsche Cayenne, but it corners with less bodyroll thanks to the fact it uses the same base as the Range Rover Sport. Where it really excels is on the motorway where it cruises along effortlessly and with minimal noise. Like the Swiss flag, the excellent ride quality is another big plus.
With less bulk to carry around, the Discovery now comes with a smaller 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. It actually works very well with the big Land Rover and provides more than enough power for every day driving. Plus economy improves 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, although the middle row of seats doesn't feel as supportive as in the previous model. However, all of the rear seats now fold down (and back up) electrically via buttons in the tailgate.
The interior quality has improved too and with a design akin to the Range Rover, - so this Discovery feels that bit more luxurious than before. In fact, only a poor touchscreen system lets it down - it takes several prods for it to recognise what you want it to do.
If you're after a high quality family SUV that can cope with everything you can throw at it - the Land Rover Discovery is pretty much perfect. Others may handle better in corners, but nothing can match the all-round ability of the Discovery.
What does a Land Rover Discovery (2017) cost?
Land Rover Discovery (2017): What's It Like Inside?
Anyone spending this much on a premium SUV is going to have high expectations when it comes to interior design and quality. That's not always been the case with the Discovery in the past, but fortunately Land Rover has ensured this version feels every inch the high end car its image portrays.
From the glossy black finish on the centre console to the wood trim on the doors and the plush leather seats, the Discovery echoes the Range Rover in terms of design. It has the feel of a luxury car and with excellent sound insulation, it's a very quiet and relaxed vehicle to travel in.
Indeed, despite the tall profile, there's little wind noise, so covering long motorway journeys is a very pleasant experience. The driving position is just what you'd expect with that commanding view out plus there's lots of adjustment in the seat and steering column. Given its length of close to five metres, that view is handy when trying to park the thing.
The big doors create another issue and if you've got children to get in and out of the back - parent and child spaces will be a godsend. Trying to squeeze out in a multi-storey is not fun. At least parking sensors are standard on all but the basic S model (which no one buys anyway) while HSE models and above get a rearview camera.
Of course that size has advantages when it comes to interior room. The Discovery is absolutely superb when it comes to space. The rear seats have loads of leg room and if you've got ever growing teenagers, they'll appreciate the headroom, something which is often surprisingly tight in big SUVs.
One thing we have noticed is that the middle row of seats isn't as supportive as in the old Discovery - the bases seem shorter - but the rear row is vastly superior. Getting into them is still a bit tricky (which it mostly always is on seven seaters) but even if you're six-foot plus you will find plenty of headroom. There's even the option of heated seats and USB points back there. In fact, there are nine USB ports, four 12-volt charging stations and an in-car 3G hotspot.
The boot is, of course, huge. There's 1137 litres of capacity with the sixth and seventh seats folded down - the default setting for most people. That means you can easily get a pushchair in there and still have lots of room for a big shop. Or to help you out if you're at some sort of farmer's market...
The tailgate is no longer a split design, which means it needs more room to swing open. So, if you park too close to your garage door, you won't be able to get in to the back. But the Discovery still incorporates the flip down section, which is handy as somewhere to sit in if you're changing into your wellies. Land Rover stereotype box ticked.
When it comes to storage there is absolutely loads. In fact it has 60 per cent more around the cabin including our favourite hidden stowage box, located behind the air conditioning controls which flip down. Great for keeping your wallet or phone safe and out of sight.
One of the best features of this Discovery is the folding seats. Nothing new there, but it's the fact all five rear seats can now be folded down electrically (and quickly) which is far easier than the clunky handle and pull-strap system on the old car. And it's a standard feature on all models.
Standard equipment (from launch):
S models come with twin speed transfer box, air suspension, a full size spare wheel, seven seats, 60/40 split rear seats, Isofix in row 2 and row 3, loadspace cover, powered tailgate, powered inner tailgate, cruise control, autonmous emergency braking, 19-inch alloy wheels, cloth seats, leather steering wheel, InControl Touch, lane departure warning, heated windscreen, heated door mirrors and DAB.
SE gets LED front signature headlights, power fold mirrors, front fog lights, grained leather, 12 x 12 way powered heated front seats, interior mood lighting, Isofix in row 1, SD navigation, automatic headlights plus front and rear parking aids.
HSE adds 20-inch alloy wheels, signature tail lights, Windsor leather 16 x 16 way leather seats, fixed panoramic glass roof, heated rear seats, gesture tailgate, SSD navigation, InControl Touch Pro, keyless entry, driver condition monitor, rear view camera and a blind spot monitor.
HSE Luxury comes with 21-inch alloy wheels, extended leather interior, winged headrest, opening sun roof, climate front seats, premium carpet mats, heated steering wheel, configurable interior mood lighting, intelligent seat fold, 4-zone climate control, rear seat entertainment, surround camera system and Terrain Response 2.
First Edition has 22-inch alloy wheels, (gloss black alloy wheels on Namib orange only), premium metallic paint (Namib orange, Silicon Silver, Farallon Black), black accents, privacy glass, Santorini black contrast roof (Namib orange only), tow eye cover in dark techno, cartography finisher, Windsor leather with contrast piping and stitching, climate windscreen, climate front and rear seats, front centre console cooler, All Terrain progress control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, park assist, 360° parking aid plus the activity key.
Child seats that fit a Land Rover Discovery (2017)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Land Rover Discovery (2017) like to drive?
The big change with this generation of Discovery is the availability of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine. It's the same Ingenium diesel used in the Jaguar F-Pace and Discovery Sport. There are two versions - the Td4 has 180PS while the Sd4 has 240PS.
While a four-cylinder engine may seem too small for a big car like the Discovery, the fact this one is hefty 480kg (that's more than 1000lbs in old money) lighter makes a big difference.
The Sd4 is the one to go for. It's a surprisingly good fit for the Discovery and while it doesn't have the same muscular nature of the 3.0-litre Td6 diesel, it has more than enough power to provide strong everyday performance, helped by 500Nm of torque.
It never feels underpowered and while it's no race car - this is a family SUV after all - it pulls really well from 40mph up to 70mph. In real world driving this is where it counts and means the Discovery happily goes along at a deft pace if need be.
When it comes to economy, the Sd4 has a claimed 43.5mpg while the 3.0-litre Td6 comes in at 39.2mpg. Although you're best bet is to check Real MPG to see what owners are getting in the real world.
If you don't want diesel, there is also a 3.0-litre supercharged petrol model with 340PS, although at £60k new it's far from cheap and is really designed as a performance model rather than an alternative to the standard diesels.
All models come with an eight-speed automatic as standard and while this many gears may seem like overkill, the gearbox is quick to respond and pretty much - more often than not - is in just the gear you need for the situation.
It's still a big car of course. The Discovery is close to five metres long and it's wide too, while a large turning circle means tight manouevres aren't particularly easy. This is not a car that 'shrinks' around the driver. You're always aware of the sheer size of the thing, but then it also feels incredibly stable at high speeds and driving through standing water, even when it's deep, doesn't pose any problems for the Land Rover.
So what about the off-road bit? Well despite the softer shape, this Discovery is as tough as ever. In fact, it's actually more capable off road. That's thanks to better ground clearance (up from 240mm to 283mm) and an increased wading depth.
That drop in weight makes a big difference off-road and means the new Discovery copes better where the previous model would bog down - think thick mud and trying to negotiate a steep turn.
On road this Discovery feels very much like the old one. Land Rover says it has retained the 'character' of the old Discovery. There are improvements. It uses the same aluminium chassis as the Range Rover Sport so there's certainly a reduction in body roll - this Discovery feels considerably less ponderous in corners.
That said, it's not the most dynamic of SUVs to drive. If it's keen handling you want the Land Rover can't match the likes of the Audi Q7. It is comfortable, stable and reassuring enough, but it's not a car you're going to throw into corners.
|2.0 SD4||37–44 mpg||8.3–8.7 s||171–194 g/km|
|2.0 Si4||29–29 mpg||7.7 s||222 g/km|
|3.0 SDV6||36–37 mpg||7.5 s||198–210 g/km|
|3.0 Si6||26 mpg||7.1 s||254 g/km|
|3.0 TD6||39 mpg||8.1 s||189 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Land Rover Discovery (2017)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the Land Rover Discovery (2017)?
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What Cars Are Similar To The Land Rover Discovery (2017)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Comfortable seats, Family friendly, Fold flat seats, Four-wheel drive, Generous head room, Good for towing, High quality interior, Large boot, Modern technology, Quiet cabin, Raised driving position, Rear legroom, Refined ride, Room for a buggy and SUV.
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