The Land Rover Discovery is a modern day icon,
with 1.1m sales under its belt since it first went on sale in 1989. The basic shape you
see behind me was introduced in 2004, but underwent significant changes in 2009 to become
the Discovery 4. Now just called Discovery, this rugged seven-seat
off-roader rivals models like the Audi Q7 and Jeep Grand Cherokee and costs from just
over £40,000. Inside the Discovery you’ll find a real
blend of luxury and utility, with premium materials and stereo systems, but some hard
plastics designed to take whatever mud and abuse is thrown at them. All the main controls
have a chunky feel as they’re designed to be easy to use when wearing gloves for those
jaunts to the Arctic Circle. Trim levels for the 2015 Discovery have been
changed to SE, SE Tech and HSE, with the entry-level model now getting cruise control and automatic
lights and wipers as standard. Also new are Land Rover’s InControl Apps offering sat-nav,
media streaming and internet radio, helping bring the infotainment system up-to-date.
As you may have noticed, this is hardly a small car and there’s a huge amount of space
inside. You sit high up, with a great view over the bonnet and cameras are even available
to give you a view all around the car. The rearmost seats are great for kids and can
just about be used by adults, but probably not for long journeys.
The Discovery tends to be bought by active families, and this 1,124-litre boot is one
of the biggest business. Fold all the rear seats down and there’s around 2,000 litres
of space, giving it more furniture carrying potential than some vans while it is able
to tow a trailer of up to 3,500kgs. The Discovery is anything but a light car,
so we’re glad its 3-litre diesel engine’s 252bhp is powerful enough to still feel brisk,
even if its 8.8-second 0-60mph sprint can’t match sportier rivals like the BMW X5. It’s
helped by an excellent eight-speed automatic, smoothing progress and keeping the engine
in its power band. There’s also far less body roll than you’d
expect, because the Discovery’s air suspension is able to both lower and stiffen up for road
driving. Off road this Land Rover lives up to its reputation, with huge ground clearance
and a Terrain Response system which automatically adjusts the car to suit the conditions.
This off road ability does come at a cost, with fuel economy of 35.3mpg lower than many
of its more road-biased rivals, even though this Discovery does improve on its predecessor.
If you want a proper 4×4 it’s hard to ignore the Discovery. Its design, seven seat practicality
and off-roading abilities all make it a highly desirable model.
On the downsides, its size and weight do mean smaller and lighter rivals offer lower running
costs. Still, the popularity of the Discovery shows
plenty of customers are prepared to pay a bit more to get behind the wheel of Land Rover’s
luxurious workhorse. But, what do you think of the Land Rover Discovery?
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To watch video reviews of the Jeep Cherokee and Audi A6 allroad click on the links at
the end of the video.