- Excellent interior
- Enough space for seven
- Off-road capability
- Inefficient engine
- Expensive to run
- Looks a little dated
Class-leading 7-seat SUV
The Land Rover Discovery is one of the most versatile cars ever to have been produced. It’s ability to carry seven people comfortably, both on, and off-road, has made it a motoring legend. Quite a lot has changed since its first introduction in 1989 though. The original Discovery was rough and rugged, whilst today the Discovery is aimed firmly at the luxury car market. Competing with cars such as the Volvo XC90, and the Audi Q7, the Discovery today has a lot of competition. There is no car, however, that has the perfect balance of luxury, off-road ability, and practicality, quite like the Discovery does.
An update in 2014 saw minor tweaks, and a new, more efficient engine was added to the lineup.
Premium feel and lots of practical space
Whereas once the Discovery was more functional than luxury, Land Rover as a brand firmly places itself in the premium market. The interior of the Discovery is designed in accordance, whilst there’s also plenty of room for both passengers and luggage. You will have to go for a more expensive model to get all the kit that you want though.
The dashboard design of the Discovery is one of elegant simplicity. There’s no futuristic stylings here, with everything laid out in a way that makes it easy to get in and drive. Controls are well-placed, though they’re not as well damped as in some rivals. Material quality is however impressive, with soft-touch materials featuring heavily. It also feels exceptionally well-built, and it’s clear that the Discovery is built to last.
Space isn’t at all an issue in the Discovery, as it has acres of room. There’s enough room for seven passengers to travel comfortably, whilst there’s also plenty of practical storage space. With seven seats up, the boot doesn’t feel the biggest, but it’s certainly no smaller than rivals. Fold the two rearmost seats down however, and you’ve got an almost van-like space, with room enough for pretty much anything you can think of.
Equipment levels in the Discovery depend on which trim you choose to go for. It’s probably worth avoiding the entry-level SE trim, as it misses out on leather seats and sat-nav. An upgrade to the SE Tech trim will have enough for most though, as it covers both of these emissions, as well as incorporating parking sensors, climate control, electric mirrors, and xenon headlights.
Few buyers are going to be disappointed with the inside of the Discovery. It’s well-built, spacious, classy, and if you avoid the entry-level SE trim, generously equipped.
Excellent off-road, comfortable on-road
The Discovery is one of the few cars in its class that’s genuinely capable off-road. Few buyers will actually take advantage of this though, but thankfully it’s decent on tarmac as well. It’s not as impressive as some more modern rivals, and it isn’t what you’d call fun to drive, but it handles itself pretty well. There is however quite a lot of body roll when you throw it into a corner at speed, and the steering is a little heavy for city driving.
Suspension and Chassis
Ride refinement is one of the Discovery’s strong points. The air suspension system fitted to the Discovery irons out all but the worst of rough road surfaces and potholes, especially at speed. Around town it’s not quite as impressive, because at lower speeds bumps can send shudders up into the cabin. Road noise is quiet however, which makes the Discovery a good motorway cruiser, though wind noise can become an issue on particularly blustery days.
Gearbox options in the Discovery come in one form only. Whichever model you choose to go for, you’re going to get an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is pretty impressive however, as it is both smooth and refined. It’s also relatively quick to respond when you need a quick burst of acceleration, though it could be a little bit more responsive at times.
Only one diesel engine offering
Whereas in most cars you have to spend weeks weighing up which engine to go for, the Discovery only offers one, so you’ll only have to think about what features you want inside the car. It’s a pretty solid offering as well, so you won’t be disappointed.
Power-hungry buyers will be pretty pleased with the diesel-powered 3.0 litre SDV6 engine in the Discovery. It’s not the most powerful in the class, but it offers enough bite. This engine packs in 255bhp, and will deliver you from 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds. Compare it with the most powerful Audi Q7 and it’s not especially impressive, but it still feels like a powerful unit out on the open road.
Eco-friendly buyers aren’t usually associated with driving SUVs, and they certainly won’t be impressed with the Discovery. The diesel engine produces 203g/km of CO2 emissions, which is a long way off being the best in class. In fact, it’s positively un-green. Money-savers won’t be too impressed either, as the high emissions make for an expensive yearly tax bill. The 36.7mpg on offer also isn’t the best, so trips to the fuel pumps might become more expensive.
The diesel-unit in the Discovery isn’t the best on offer in the SUV class. It does have enough power to get you through almost any situation, whether off, or on-road, but it’s neither the greenest, or the most efficient.
Not tested by NCAP, good standard safety kit
The latest Land Rover Discovery hasn’t actually been tested by the boffins at NCAP yet, so it’s hard to say just how safe the Discovery is. The third generation Discovery back in 2006 didn’t score especially well though, gaining a four-star result. Compare that with more modern rivals and the Discovery looks particularly unimpressive. There’s also not much modern safety kit available, even as an optional extra. You’ll get the usual array of airbags, in addition to a tyre-pressure monitoring system as standard, but not a lot else.
Not the most efficient, or the cheapest car to buy in its class
The Land Rover Discovery is actually quite an expensive car to own and run. Whereas a lot of rivals have upped their SUV game in recent years, Land Rover still runs with a fairly inefficient, thirsty, and not particularly green engine. That means no matter which model you choose to go for, you’ll be paying more out each year for both tax and fuel than you would for a more eco-conscious rival.
Insurance costs in the Discovery are also pretty expensive. There isn’t much difference between the models, with entry-level cars starting in group 40, and top-end trims finding themselves in group 42. It’s certainly not a cheap car to insure, but at least if you want a more luxurious car, you won’t be paying too much more than a basic model.
Depreciation is a factor with the Discovery, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Land Rover Discovery is easily one of the best upmarket SUVs that money can buy. It’s not perfect however, as it’s both expensive to run, and has an unproven safety record. What it does have in abundance though is class. The interior of the Discovery is positively British, with elegant design trumping some of the more outlandish designs of its rivals. If you’re looking for a luxury SUV that can take you anywhere in style, you should seriously consider the Discovery.
Buying a used Land Rover Discovery online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Land Rover Discovery for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Discovery. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Land Rover Discovery online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Land Rover? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Land Rover Discovery, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Discovery, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Land Rover to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.