Land Rover Discovery review: the most well-rounded off-road option?
Search Driven for Land Rover Discovery for sale
Land Rover Discovery D250
- Defender-like off-road ability
- Spacious and luxurious cabin
- 3.5-tonne towing
- It’s big
- No hybrid options in NZ yet
- Isn't as much of a looker as the Defender
If any brand has benefitted from the world’s recent infatuation with SUVs, it’s Land Rover. Since the 1950’s, the British brand has been building high-riding vehicles that can go off-road. Sure these modern vehicles are a far cry from the workhorses that Land Rover once built, but the transition into the luxury space felt like a natural move.
What I’m trying to say is that Land Rover hasn’t had to change tact massively like other brands have had to do when keeping up with the rise of the SUV. Instead, it’s a brand that’s had time to refine the one thing that does extremely well.
The new Discovery is a perfect example of this; once a rugged (relatively cheap) off-roader, the latest generation update saw it turn into the all-rounder of Land Rover’s arsenal, blending rugged off-road ability with Range Rover luxury.
In New Zealand, the Discovery is available with two engine options, both of which make use of a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6.
The range starts with the D250 which is priced from $133,900, and finishes with the D300, starting at $139,900. Both models average 7.8L/100km on the open road, but the D300 is significantly quicker to 100km/h with better power and torque figures at 221kW/650Nm.
For DRIVEN’s time in the Discovery, we had the D250, and found that 600Nm was plenty for any application, and never really felt out of its depth.
Sitting on electronic air suspension as standard, the Discovery feels right at home on the road; but you’d expect something that costs $130,000 to do that. Where I was most surprised with this Discovery was once we left the beaten track. Even the worst corrugation that a gravel road could muster up was devoured with ease by the air suspension, and more impressively, the road noise was almost non-existent.
It’s worth noting that this electronic air suspension system is useful in more ways than one, as it comes with both an ‘Access’ mode (for getting into low garages) and two levels of off-road elevation. Just a couple of seconds is all it takes for the Discovery to hoist itself up, and allow for a generous amount of extra ground clearance.
Speaking of off-road ability, it’s evident that this new model shares a couple of tricks with the Defender – the mountain goat of the Land Rover stables. As standard, the Discovery gets a centre locking differential, and if you’re even more serious about off-roading, a rear locking diff can also be optioned. On top of this, it also gets five different off-road drive modes; one representing the extremes of each season, and then a wading mode for good measure.
Canterbury | Sockburn
$403.30 p/w $1,613.20 p/m
Auckland | Auckland City
$759.81 p/w $3,039.25 p/m
Canterbury | Sockburn
$443.63 p/w $1,774.53 p/m
Manawatu / Wanganui | Palmerston North
$274.19 p/w $1,096.76 p/m
Though I didn’t do anything too serious with the Discovery off-road, I was incredibly impressed with how it handled changing surfaces, and rough terrain. Pair this with the fact that it will happily tow a ute-matching 3500kg, and it’s already quite the all-rounder – and we haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.
I’d argue that the best part of this Discovery is the interior, and what it offers. For this most recent update, Land Rover gave it a much-needed infotainment upgrade, and it now features a curved 11.4-inch touchscreen display. As well as responding much faster than the system in the old Discovery, it also works seamlessly with wireless Apple Carplay, and is a welcome change.
As for the rest of the cabin, you’d be surprised to know that you aren’t sitting in a Range Rover. The front seats are spacious, comfortable, and come with a folding arm rest, what’s not to love?
At the rear, fitting three passengers across the rear is much less of a squeeze than what it once was, and unlike most three-row SUVs, adults can actually use the rear seats without folding themselves up.
As a whole, it’s harder to argue a case against the Land Rover Discovery than to argue for it. It’s described on the brand’s website as the “most versatile SUV” and I believe that this extends to the whole market.
From the space and luxury offered in the cabin to the off-road and towing ability, in my opinion it fills a similar gap to the Mercedes G-Wagen, while also being half the price.
So once you get over the fact that the rear number plate still doesn’t sit in the centre of the tailgate, you’ll have a hard time not loving the Disco lifestyle.
Land Rover Discovery D250
ENGINE: 3.0-litre turbo diesel
GEARBOX: 8-speed automatic, AWD