The Land Rover Discovery is hugely practical, feels very posh inside and is one of the best off-roaders you can buy, but it’s not as good to drive as some German alternatives.
If you’re after a big, posh off-roader with seven seats and bucket-loads of off-road ability, you should definitely take a look at the Land Rover Discovery.
Unlike the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE, the Discovery doesn’t try and look like a high-riding sportscar. Instead, its boxy body, black plastic trims and silver skid-plates make it look sturdy and tough – albeit in a subtle, understated way. If you want something that’ll turn heads on the school run, the futuristic Lexus RX is a better bet.
It’s a similar story with the Land Rover Discovery’s Interior. Sure, you get plenty of soft plastics and brushed metal trims as standard, but it lacks the pizzazz of the Lexus’ bonkers cabin. You don’t get satellite navigation or leather seats in entry-level cars which seems a bit mean – especially when you consider these things come as standard in an Audi Q7.
The Audi’s infotainment system is easier to use, too. But the Land Rover Discovery’s roomier interior means it’s better at carrying lots of passengers. There’s space for six-footers to stretch out in the front five seats and there’s just about enough space left over for adults in the very back – not so in many seven-seat SUVs. You’ll have to flip the rearmost seats down if you need to carry anything larger than a weekly shop in the boot, though.
If it’s some seriously bulky luggage you’ll be carrying, you can flip all but the front seats down to open up a huge van-like loadbay. When it comes to helping out with impromptu house moves, the Discovery is hard to beat.
The Land Rover Discovery is a premium family car with more go-anywhere ability than any other large SUV.
It’s also quite a bit more comfortable than most big off-roaders. You can thank the standard – and very cushy – air-suspension for that. It irons out bumps very nicely around town and helps make the Discovery very quiet to travel in on motorways.
The flip-side to the Land Rover Discovery’s supple suspension is that it never feels as agile as the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 – but don’t let that put you off. It’s easy enough to drive and doesn’t lean a great deal in tight corners so your passengers won’t have any reason to feel car sick.
It doesn’t feel as spritely as the German alternatives, either – especially with the entry-level 2.0-litre diesel – but you can always get a more powerful 3.0-litre unit if you need something a bit gutsier.
This is also the engine you need if you plan to do any serious off-roading – something the Discovery excels at. It’ll cross terrain that’ll leave the Germans stranded without breaking a sweat and comes with loads of tech to help make trips beyond the Tarmac feel like a walk in the park.
It’s not just fancy off-roading that the Discovery’s good at – it’s raised seating position and big windows make it reasonably easy to drive in town, too. You also get a decent amount of standard safety kit to help prevent avoidable accidents.
So, if it’s a safe, stylish and sure-footed SUV you’re looking for, the Land Rover Discovery is worthy of a place on your shortlist.