£47,495 - £55,995 Price range
In 2015 Land Rover launched two new trim levels for the Discovery – called Landmark and Graphite – in an attempt to bolster sales before an all new model arrives in 2016.
Despite its impending replacement, the Discovery 4 remains a popular model with families mostly because it has a robust interior, seven seats and a big boot.
Unlike some of its more road-biased rivals (such as the GLE), the Discovery is a capable off-roader, with a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system that makes it almost unstoppable in arduous conditions. It also means it is a superb tow car. Although it is extremely comfortable, it doesn’t drive as well on road as the Mercedes,.
The Discovery is only available with one engine – a 3.0-litre diesel. It is quiet and, with the help of a modern eight-speed automatic gearbox, reasonably quick, but lags behind the best for fuel economy.
The entry-level SE comes with climate control, air suspension, rear parking sensors, a heated windscreen and cruise control.
Prices start from £41,600, but if you buy your new Discovery using carwow you can save £3,720 on average.
Cheapest to buy: 3.0-litre SE diesel
Cheapest to run: 3.0-litre SE diesel
Fastest model: 3.0-litre SE diesel
Most popular: 3.0-litre HSE diesel
Land Rover is now positioned in the marketplace as a premium brand, so it’s no surprise that the Disco has a very high quality cabin, especially on the top spec HSE models, and all models get a new multimedia touchscreen interface in the dashboard.
Land Rover Discovery passenger space
There’s loads of space up front, and there’s acres of room in the rear, though one tester did state that the legroom was a bit restrictive. Even the two seats at the very back are suitable for adults, though getting to them isn’t that easy.
Land Rover Discovery boot space
The boot space is a reasonable 280 litres when all the chairs are in use, and an absolutely massive 1,950 litres once the middle and rear rows have been folded down.
Being a high-riding SUV that weighs nearly three tonnes, the Discovery isn’t going to be the sharpest car in its class to drive, with noticeable body roll in the bends hinting at its vast mass. However, most of the critics thought it had very good road manners, with relatively sharp steering and exceptional ride quality and refinement.
It’ll never be a great point-to-point car, unless the journey happens to be in a straight line across terrain. As expected from a Land Rover, the Discovery is brilliant off-road, and far more capable in the rough stuff than its street-orientated rivals.
The Disco’s huge size does make it tricky to navigate in towns, but there’s fairly good visibility and it comes with sensors that help with reversing.
There’s currently only one engine on sale, the SDV6. It got an update for the 2012 Discovery and is exceptionally refined, and comes with an excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox. With 442 lb ft of pulling power, the engine has no problem moving the heavy SUV around and makea towing effortless.
For its sheer bulk, the Disco has decent performance – 0-62mph is achieved in under nine seconds and there’s plenty of power for overtaking. Fuel economy is a not-too-bad 36.7mpg, though tax will cost £280 a year – with a £620 bill for year one!
The new SDV6 is currently the only engine on sale, and the engine updates for the 2012 model year only enhance what is already a very excellent power plant. It’s mostly just nip ‘n’ tuck, but that’s more than enough to ensure the SDV6 remains a modern diesel engine.
Compared with the previous unit, power is up from 242 to 252 bhp, and CO2 outputs are now down to a fairly impressive 230g/km. It doesn’t bring the Disco into a lower tax band than before, it's still £445 a year in tax, but the claimed 32 mpg does mean it’s more slightly more fuel efficient than before.
Overall, the changes, though minor, do add more to the Disco’s appeal. It’s not exactly the cheapest car in its class to buy and run, but if your pockets are deep enough, it’s certainly a very enticing ownership prospect.
This engine is no longer on sale, it was replaced with the new SDV6.
Compared with the new power plant, this unit isn’t quite as powerful, though there’s still a very healthy twist of torque in the lower rev range.
In reality, both engines are brilliant, especially with the new eight-speed automatic. If you’re willing to fork out a bit more in running costs, then the extra power from the SDV6 motor may be worth the financial outlay. However, there really isn’t that much between them, and the extra efficiency of the TDV6 certainly makes the Disco a more appealing package for the more cash-strapped buyer.
This generation of Discovery hasn’t actually been tested by EuroNCAP, but it’s not tremendously far removed from the Discovery 3. That car didn’t acquit itself too well in 2009, rating only 4 stars for adult and child occupant safety and a paltry one star for pedestrian friendliness – probably not too surprisingly.
While the car has been effectively in production since 2004, albeit with an update and a facelift in the middle, Land Rover hasn’t stood still on safety and a new range of airbags – including full length curtain airbags – and electronic aids adorn the 2014 car. We can’t draw any conclusion as to how the car would test, but it’s a far better proposition now than it was a decade ago despite more stringent testing routines.
Despite being one of the most rugged off-roaders on sale, the Discovery is also very luxurious so all but the basic model come with a commendable amount of kit.
There are four base versions to choose from – SE, SE Tech, HSE and HSE Luxury, but the imminent arrival of the new Discovery means that Land Rover has added two new trims – called Graphite and Landmark.
Land Rover Discovery 4 SE
SE trim is the most basic in the Discovery range, and with cloth seats and no sat-nav, we would have to say it feels it. That said all the equipment that’s core to the Discovery’s appeal is there, it comes with super comfortable air suspension an excellent eight-speed automatic gearbox and a Terrain Response system that makes off-roading easy even for those with limited experience. Huge 19-inch wheels means the SE looks smart, while rear parking sensors make reversing into spaces less of a challenge.
Land Rover Discovery 4 SE Tech
If it was our money, we would go for SE Tech trim. It comes with all the equipment you would expect of a premium car such as the Discovery, so it has a leather interior, heated front seats, sat-nav and a 380w Meridian sound system. Parking sensors at the front are another welcome inclusion.
Land Rover Discovery 4 HSE
HSE propels the Discovery to something close to luxury specification. Premium windsor leather looks classier than what you get in SE Tech models and its rear seats are now also heated. Meanwhile, up front the seats are electrically adjustable and the driver gets keyless entry so there’s no need to fumble for a key when your hands are full. There are number of exterior changes too, so the HSE gets massive 20-inch alloys, body coloured door handles and a liberal splashing of chrome.
Land Rover Discovery 4 HSE Luxury
Until the launch of the special edition Landmark model HSE Luxury trim was the range topper. Your money gets you a Windsor leather interior, but this time one that extends to the dashboard, instrument binnacle and door panels. The Meridan sound system is also upgraded to offer surround sound and 825w of power, while kids will be entertained by the car’s standard pair of eight-inch displays that are mounted to the backs of the front seats. On the outside there’s unique 20-inch alloy wheels and Xenon headlights, but as many rivals now have LEDs the latter of those two isn’t really worth shouting about.
Land Rover Discovery 4 Graphite
That leaves the two special edition models launched in 2015 and spearheaded by the Graphite. It is effectively a styling pack that adds a grey Graphite finish to the wing vents and grille, which also sports a gloss black and lighter grey frame. Its set of 19-inch seven-split spoke alloy wheels is exclusive to the model.
Land Rover Discovery Landmark
Based on the top-of-the-range HSE Luxury, the Landmark model gets its own unique style inside and out. The exterior has full length roof rails in a bright finish, black wing vents, grille and mirror caps, plus silver bonnet and tailgate badges, as well as Landmark badging to the side and rear of the car. A set of 20-inch five-split spoke alloy wheels complete the look. It’s available in a limited range of five colours, including bronze-like Zanzibar which is reserved for the Landmark edition. The interior, meanwhile, is limited to three colours – Ebony, Almond or Tan.
The Land Rover Discovery is comfortably one of the best SUVs out there. The engine is punchy and refined, there’s enough space on offer for seven people and it’s phenomenal off-road.
It’s not the cheapest car in the world to buy or run, and some of its competitors do have slightly better road manners, but very few can match the Discovery’s broad range of abilities. If you can afford such a car, we thoroughly recommend it, the Discovery 4 is one of the very best 4x4s on sale.
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