As far as new cars go, this is a pretty momentous one. The previous-generation Discovery was around for seven years, and was one of Land Rover’s most popular models of all time. With its space, safety and peerless off-road ability, it wasn’t hard to see just why so many people chose one.
Now there’s a new one. Though powered by the same 3.0-litre diesel V6, it’s lighter and more efficient than ever. Still offering seven seats, it’s just as practical as before and even better off road – which should make it an incredibly popular car.
Looks and image
The old Discovery was a bit of a brute in terms of styling. Its square, blocky layout did mean that it had the aerodynamic capability of a shed, but this rudimentary design was part of the car’s appeal.
Fast-forward to the new car and things have come on in leaps and bounds. It shares a ‘face’ that will be familiar to most, thanks to the rest of the Range Rover and Land Rover ranges, most noticeably with the Discovery Sport. The front end of the car is considerably more rounded than the car it replaces, while the rear is quirky to say the least. It’s drawn a fair few negative comments – but then the previous car’s off-centre rear end did too. In our eyes it’s a good-looking car – especially in the metal. There’s no doubting the Discovery’s sheer bulk though, and given this, its styling does well to mask its overall size.
Space and practicality
Thanks to all-new electrically powered seats, the Discovery is an incredibly practical car. Both the middle and third rows can be lowered and raised at just the push of a button – and can even be operated via a smartphone app. It may sound like technology for technology’s sake, but when you imagine walking round a supermarket with a lot of shopping, being able to lower the car’s seats before you even walk out the vehicle makes a lot of sense.
— Land Rover UK (@LandRover_UK) March 9, 2017
Also, whereas the previous-generation’s third row of seats was really only good for children or smaller adults, the new car’s row is genuinely usable. We managed to get a six-footer sat comfortably in the very rear seats, showing a marked improvement over the old car. Of course, with all seats raised, boot space does take a hit – offering just 228 litres. That said, fold the third row down and this rises to 1,137 litres then on to a massive 2,406 litres with all rows dropped. In short, you’d have to get a van to find more space when the Discovery’s second and third rows are lowered.
Behind the wheel
Thanks to that lower weight, the Discovery certainly steers and handles more keenly than its predecessor. It feels lighter on its feet than the outgoing model, while the V6’s silky response perfectly suits the character of the car. There’s a small amount of body roll still, though this is to be expected given the Discovery’s height.
Off road, the Discovery completely surpasses expectation. We tested the car at Land Rover’s off-road facility at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, and not once did it fail to deal with the stickiest of situations. Deep water, thick mud and steep inclines were dispatched without a moment’s notice, despite it wearing road tyres. If you’re looking for a car capable of handling all conditions, then the Discovery is ideal.
Find out what makes All-New Discovery our most capable family SUV ever. https://t.co/cJNlIERpjY
— Land Rover UK (@LandRover_UK) March 30, 2017
However, the vast majority of them will spend their time on the road. Thankfully, it’s just as well suited here as it is on the rough stuff. The ride is good – we’d recommend picking a slightly smaller wheel, as larger ones do tend to transfer a touch more vibration through to the cabin than we’d like – and thanks to a range of cameras and sensors, it’s easier to park than you’d think.
Value for money
With prices starting from £43,495, the Discovery isn’t a cheap car to begin with – and that’s before you’ve even gone near the options list. Our car, in HSE Luxury specification, came with 21-inch alloy wheels and electronic air suspension but cost £75,570. Other options fitted to the car were a television (an £880 option) and head-up display – again, a sizeable extra at £1,035. You do get a high amount of standard equipment – especially on high-end specifications – but the Discovery is a fair bit more expensive than you may expect.
Who would buy one?
The Discovery is an almost ideal family car. It’s spacious, practical, safe (it’s been awarded five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests) and, thanks to the use of the lighter materials, more efficient. Furthermore, if you want a Discovery that is better on fuel then you’re well catered for with the Ingenium engine. Yes, it is expensive, but then you do get a huge amount of capability for your money, as well as a car that feels worthy of every penny.
If you’re looking for a vehicle that is going to tick every box for a family car, then you’re right to pick the Discovery.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Land Rover Discovery TD6 HSE Luxury
Price as tested: £75,570
Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel
Max speed: 130mph
0-60mph: 7.7 seconds