The Land Rover Discovery is a big seven-seater SUV that’s comfortable, spacious and almost unstoppable off-road – but it’s expensive and entry-level models don’t get sat-nav as standard
If you’re after a big seven-seater SUV that’s practical, posh and incredible off-road then the Land Rover Discovery is well worth shortlisting.
The Discovery’s best attribute is its huge interior. Not many large SUVs can carry seven people as comfortably as the Discovery can – even the BMW X5’s back seats feel cramped by comparison. That said, you still won’t make friends with any tall adults you convince to sit there for long journeys. With all seven seats up the Discovery’s boot is only really big enough for a weekly shop, but in five-seater mode it has a huge space that practically encourages a fortnight-long family roadtrip.
Where the interior falls a bit flat is in terms of standard equipment. You don’t get satellite navigation or a leather interior on entry-level models, both of which are standard on the Audi Q7. It’s a bit mean considering this isn’t an inexpensive car. At least material quality is pretty decent in the areas you’ll touch regularly, and the only cheap-feeling plastics are low down on the doors.
If space is the Discovery’s best attribute then comfort is a close second. All models get air suspension as standard to iron out the worst bumps you’re likely to find, and the cabin’s mercifully free of wind and road noise at motorway speeds – perfect for helping the kids drop off on long trips. The flip side of this comfort – and it’s a small one – is that the Discovery isn’t the kind of SUV you’ll want to drive fast around corners. If that’s your bag then you’ll prefer the way a BMW X5 or Audi Q7 drives, but are you really going to be setting lap times in your SUV?
As a go-anywhere family car, the Discovery is exceptionally hard to beat
You certainly won’t trouble many speed limits if you pick a Discovery with the entry-level 2.0-litre diesel engine, which struggles a bit with the car’s weight. You’re better off going for the 306hp 3.0-litre diesel which still accelerates well at motorway speeds and gives you reasonable fuel economy of about 35mpg in a mix of town and motorway driving.
Don’t be put off by the thought of piloting the huge Discovery through town – its height gives you an excellent view out the front, and the only real blind spot is caused by the small, distant rear windscreen. At least front and rear parking sensors are standard.
You won’t get frustrated with how adept the Discovery is off-road. It’s packed with electronics to help you keep moving whatever the terrain, even down to a feature that tells you how deep the river you’re driving through is. No other seven-seater SUV will go as far off-road as a Discovery, and few are as safe either – it scored the full five stars in 2017’s tough Euro NCAP crash tests. This level of safety, combined with the Discovery’s practicality and comfort, means it’s a superb family SUV, and well worth shortlisting.
See how the Discovery compares with the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7 in our video group test, and read our following interior, driving and specifications review sections for a more in-depth look at the Land Rover Discovery.