3.9 out of 5 3.9
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Brilliant off-roader and large family car now available as a mild hybrid

Land Rover Discovery SUV (17 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £54,530 - £73,830
Lease from new From £712 p/m View lease deals
Used price £25,250 - £72,470
Fuel Economy 23.0 - 34.4 mpg
Road tax cost £250 - £585
Insurance group 33 - 45 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Despite size, it's surprisingly economical
  • Great off-road, good on it
  • Ample room for seven

CONS

  • Premium pricing, costly options
  • Unweildy in towns and cities
  • Defender overshadows it

Land Rover Discovery SUV rivals

Written by Keith Adams on

Is the Land Rover Discovery any good?

The Discovery is the bedrock of the Land Rover product line-up, but these days it's under attack from the brilliant new Defender 110, which has a much cooler image and lower starting price. That's not to say that the Discovery's not without its charms – it's a polished performer that's as at home in Surbiton as it is the Serengeti.

From fairly humble beginnings in 1989, the Discovery has become a fully-fledged premium product, that's engineered beautifully. It should have masses of appeal for those who want to use their Discovery as their primary vehicle, and not feel they're compromised on-road by its mud-plugging DNA.

The Discovery finds itself on the same shopping lists as other upscale off-roaders, such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, which can't hope to keep up with the Land Rover off-road, but also do a jolly good job of relaxing their drives on it. That makes the Discovery a unique proposition on the market, Defender 110, aside...

Read the Land Rover Discovery verdict

What's it like inside?

Pretty much as you'd expect. You enjoy a lofty seating position and great visibility, compared with all of its rivals – you'd need a full-fat Range Rover to find a car with a more imperious view through the windscreen. Since the 2021 facelift, the interior quality has been given a lift, with more use of soft-touch materials and fine-grade leather.

The infotainment system, Pivi Pro, is new to the Discovery, featuring a 11.4-inch touchscreen – and fast, intuitive functionality. It also comes with Land Rover’s crisp 12.3-inch digital instrument display, a new multi-function head-up display, a chunky and handsome steering wheel complemented by a trigger-style gearlever in place of the old rotary control. 

Practicality is as good as ever, with ample head- and legroom for the front five occupants, and more than adequate space for the rear two. The luggage space ranges from 228 litre with all seven seats in place, 1,137 litres with five seats upright and a positively enormous 2,406 litres with the second and third rows folded.

Read more on the Land Rover Discovery interior

What's it like to drive?

As with its Range Rover and Range Rover Sport sister models, the Discovery features a sophisticated aluminium body and chassis to help minimise weight and improve efficiency. But's still a heavy beast weighing in at 2.1 tonnes even in its lightest form.

Despite its size and heft, the Discovery is a decent car to drive on the road, majoring on a comfortable ride and offering handling that's confidence inspiring and belies its weight and size – meaning it feels at home in town, on B-roads and while ploughing up the motorway.

Read more on how the Land Rover Discovery drives

What's it like off-road?

It has all of the tech. Its permanent four-wheel drive system drives through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with the now-ubiquitous (to Jaguar Land Rover) cylindrical gear selector. To ensure it's impressive off-road, it comes with a low ratio transfer case for the ultimate in mud-plugging ability. In addition, the Discovery receives all of Land Rover’s Terrain Response systems.

There is a selection of off-road driving modes, which as well as making the most of its four-wheel drive system, uses clever electronics to keep it from spinning its wheels when the going gets tough.

The Discovery has a 900mm wading depth, and its maximum ground clearance is 283mm. Not only that, but it has half a metre of axle articulation, which means it can deal with huge potholes and obstacles that get in the way of one side.

What models and trims are available?

The engine line-up is straightforward, with two diesel options (D250 and D300 versions of the excellent new mild hybrid turbodiesel straight-six) and two petrol engines; the P300 turbo four-cylinder and the mild hybrid (MHEV) straight-six P360. There is no official word on whether the plug-in hybrid system used on the Range Rover will be made available on the Discovery.

Intelligent all-wheel drive, optional Terrain Response 2 drive modes, air suspension as standard and huge wheel articulation remain Discovery staples, with enormous off-road ability.

It's also available as a sporty R-Dynamic, which gets a number of subtle stying tweaks, with gloss back finishes liberally featuring on the car’s exterior. The result is that this version looks like the most road-orientated Discovery yet.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Land Rover Discovery including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Land Rover Discovery SUV rivals

Other Land Rover Discovery models: