2017 Land Rover Discovery Review
Andrew English’s first drive all-new 2017 Land Rover Discovery Review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: Land Rover’s generation-five Discovery is marginally bigger than its predecessor, a lot more luxurious inside and very different outside, with the deletion of the utility backpack body style and more controversially, the popular split rear tailgate. Based on the Range Rover’s aluminium frame, new Disco is quieter and more refined to drive but also loses none of its legendary off-road ability with the adoption of Range Rover’s Terrain Response 2 driveline configuration software and improved suspension travel.
2017 Land Rover Discovery Mark V TD6
Pricing From $81,590+ORC (S model will be arrive later in the year and drop entry pricing to $71,560 for the seven-seater) Warranty three years, unlimited kilometres Engine 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel Power 190kW at 3750rpm Torque 600Nm at 1750rpm Transmission 8-speed ZF automatic Drive four-wheel drive with low-ratio gears, Terrain Response 2 Dimensions 4970mm (L); 2220mm (W); 1846mm (H) Wheelbase 2923mm Turning Circle 12.7m Seats 7 Kerb weight 2223kg Fuel Tank 85 litres Thirst 7.2L/100km (EU Combined cycle) Fuel diesel Spare full-sized spare Towing 3500kg braked, 750kg unbraked. Ground clearance up to 283mm in offroad modes
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DISPENSING WITH THE body-on-frame architecture of the previous model and using the Range Rover (and Range Rover Sport’s) aluminium-intensive framing has saved the all-new Discovery about 350kg in the body, which means that, with the smallest diesel four-cylinder engine, the lightest Discovery model is now 480kg ligher than the lightest predecessor. And while the deletion of the split rear tail gate is regrettable, the seven individually power-folding seats and the fold-down shelf in the back go some way to compensating.
The range consists of three engine derivatives: JLR’s two new two-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel producing 132kW and 430Nm for the TD4 and 177kW and 500Nm for the SD4, the long-serving Lion 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel producing 190kW and 600Nm and a 3.0-litre V6 petrol producing 250kW and 450Nm of torque. The ZF eight-speed automatic is common across the range with a two-speed transfer box giving a set of low-ratio crawler gears.
There are four trim levels, S, SE, HSE and HSE Luxury and the price rises steeply through that range as the standard kit mounts up. Australian pricing for the all-new Land Rover Discovery:
- Td4dDiesel – Seven Seats – $81,590+ORC;
- Sd4 Diesel – Seven Seats – $87,990+ORC; and
- TdV6 Diesel – Seven Seats – $94,990+ORC.
- Td4dDiesel – Seven Seats – $90,550+ORC;
- Sd4 Diesel – Seven Seats – $96,950+ORC; and
- TdV6 Diesel – Seven Seats – $103,950+ORC.
- Td4dDiesel – Seven Seats – $104,350+ORC;
- Sd4 Diesel – Seven Seats – 110,750+ORC; and
- TdV6 Diesel – 117,750+ORC.
HSE Luxury – $132,160+ORC
What’s the interior like?
While the old Discovery was no slouch in the cabin quality stakes, this new model has upped the game. The dashboard oozes taste and good design with new open-pore wood surfaces and immaculate upholstery trimmed with new fabrics and a fresh take on leather seat covers.
Slush-moulded plastics are pleasant to the touch and the switch gear, with dual-zone climate control, is clean and simple to use. There’s also practicality with 21 different storage areas containing a total 45 litres of space and if you fold all the seats down, over 2038 litres of load space, two metres of load length and 1.4 metres of load width. That said, if you have all seven seats erect, there’s just 258 litres, which is the boot size of a typical super mini. The true 40:20:40 split fold system has however been lost, which was a strong point of the old Discovery’s interior.
Storage areas for front-seat passengers:
- Upper (1.4 litres) and lower (1.1 litres) instrument panel stowage
- Upper (4.8 litres) and lower (6.9 litres) glove boxes
- Front (6.2 litres), mid (5.6 litres) and rear (1.2 litres) centre console stowage
- Row 3 cubby boxes – 2.6 litres in total
- Door stowage areas (front and rear, upper and lower) – 14.6 litres in total
The door bins are big and sturdy, there’s multiple iPad storage in the centre console and even a hidden cubby hole behind the hinged dash panel. And the cabin’s packed with gizmos including WiFi hotspot for up to eight devices, six USB ports and six 12-volt chargers. The seats can be individually heated and there are four child-seat ISOFIX points, two in each of the rear rows.
Not all markets will get the seven seats as standard, but they’re worth stumping up for as you’ll genuinely fit seven adults in there. There are 21 different configurations using the one-touch power folding system and you can do that from the front and rear of the car, and via a mobile phone app.
It’s not all perfect, though. I’m still not convinced of the seat comfort after two days at the wheel across the desert plains of Utah in the US and that central touch screen is wide, but not very deep, so, the sat-nav arrow doesn’t tell you any more about what’s in front of you. And if you’ve never experienced the old split tailgate, you might be happy with the new deployable shelf, but it’s a poor substitute.
New Discovery is a big car and it feels like it. You can see out thanks to the glassy cabin, but the corners are difficult to judge, so you’ll need parking sensors around town. Technology helps here: wheel cameras, those powered seats and air suspension. There is an awesome amount of technology on this car, the power-fold seats alone required 23,000 lines of code to create the algorithms to allow them to not just crash into each other.
What’s it like on the road?
We drove all the engines and the pick of the bunch is the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel. That old Lion engine has the power and torque to waft the Discovery along, tug it up the worst inclines and suits the smooth eight-speed auto well. It’s heavy, pushing the Discovery’s kerb weight to almost 2.3 tonnes and combined fuel economy is 7.2litres/100km, which is good given its size and capability. The Disco’s V6 turbo-diesel isn’t as smooth as the 3.0-litre V6 in the Audi Q7 or as economical as BMW’s straight-six diesel, but it’s gruff and fit for purpose and suits the new Discovery’s mien if not the way it looks.
The V6 petrol is a surprise; quiet, refined and reasonably economical with a good dollop of low-down torque from the supercharger, but it’s also expensive.
What we can’t fully recommend is the 2.0-litre diesel (TD4). Fine if all you do is traverse the Nullarbor Plain, where the ZF stays in top gear, but not-so fine if you need more urge to overtake, go up a hill, or worse case, tow something. Push it and this engine gets raucous, vibrates through the pedals and is too peaky for this application. Besides, all the economy benefits of the engine’s small swept volume soon disappear if you push the throttle to the floor.
Initially soft and accommodating, the Discovery romps along, comfortable, cosseting, but not uncontrolled. It rolls into turns (with the lightweight 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel being best in this respect) but the damping control is excellent and the Discovery never floats or feels remotely less than positive.
The new Discovery continues to offer adjustable air suspension and, with its two-stage off-road mode the automatic system is able to vary between two ride heights of +40mm and +75mm. At speeds below 50km/h the +75mm setting is available and for faster speeds on rutted dirt roads, between 50-80km/h, the vehicle will operate at +40mm. In addition, the new Speed Lowering function aims to cut drag and improve fuel economy by automatically reducing the ride height by 13mm at cruising speeds above 105km/h, so, locally, we’re unlikely to see much benefit from this system.
The steering is well assisted, light weight, but responsive from the dead-ahead position and confidence inspiring.
On the 21-inch wheels of the launch cars there’s a bit of a ride issue on small sharp bumps, but taller tyres should solve this. It’s a lot of vehicle to bring to a halt and the brake pedal lacks a bit of ‘grab’ when you first push it, though the anchors are progressive and strong enough.
As for the off-road capacity, well look at the pictures, can your SUV do that? With half a metre (500mm) of wheel travel, up to 283mm of ground clearance (34-degrees approach; 27.5-degrees breakover; and 30-degrees departure), low range, all of Land Rover’s offroad tech and the ability to raise and lower the body on its air suspension, plus 900mm of fording capability, the Discovery has nothing to prove. And boy can this car climb. Even on road-biased tyres, it clambered up the slippery sandstone rocks of Utah with extraordinary agility.
We’ll have a full on- and off-road test of the new Discovery when it arrives Down Under ahead of its on-sale in July this year.
What about the safety features?
As well as the new and stronger aluminium framing, new Discovery benefits from a host of electronic driver aids from its Range Rover sister. These include camera and radar-based adaptive cruise control, traffic-sign recognition, intelligent speed limiter and a high-definition 360-degree monitor which can see front and rear junctions, in addition to a reversing camera system and an innovative towing monitoring and more importantly reversing while towing.
There’s autonomous emergency braking to help stop you tail-ending the car in front and that includes a pedestrian recognition system that recognises adults and children. The camera systems also facilitate intelligent emergency braking, which monitors vehicles in front and will bring the Discovery to a halt if they suddenly stop.
Two pieces of kit that are new for Discovery are the new Hill Start Assist, which hold the brakes momentarily to assist the driver making a getaway on a slope and Engine Drag Torque Control which will accelerate the Discovery slightly when coming down hills if it detects impending wheel lock up.
An all-new Discovery has been spotted in Australia, and we had a look at it….