The Land Rover Discovery offers buyers true luxury in a full-size package with a price point that is surprising.
What is it?
The Land Rover Discovery is a full-size utility vehicle with three rows. Capable of hauling seven passengers, and with serious off-road and towing capabilities, it is the workhorse of the now very large Land Rover/Range Rover family of crossover/SUVs.
Pricing and trims
Land Rover offers the 2018 Discovery in three trims and with two engine options. The base Discovery starts in the mid $50K range. We tested the fully-loaded gasoline-engine-equipped HSE Luxury trim with an as-tested price of $70,104. Given that a fully-loaded Ford Explorer can top $52K, we found the Discovery line to be surprisingly high in value. Our Discovery had the gasoline engine, but for those who want a bit more low-end torque, consider the diesel.
Performance, Ride, and Handling
Our Discovery HSE Luxury was quick off the line and powerful in all situations. With 360 hp on tap from the Supercharged six-cylinder engine, the Discovery feels fast for such a large vehicle. Handling is excellent on-road and the Discovery is quiet over bad sections. We didn’t take this Discovery off-road during our test, but we have been to Land Rover-designed off-road courses on numerous occasions. There is no real off-road challenge the Discovery is not able to tackle.
The Discovery also came ready to tow up to 8,201 pounds. That is sure an odd number to have as a maximum, but it is impressive considering that would be the weight of another Discovery plus a Camry. If you’re towing more than that for the love of Mike, get a Ram Power Wagon (or better yet, this Ram truck).
The heated and cooled seats in our Discovery HSE Luxury also came with front passenger massage which was the best we have experienced in any vehicle. Comfort is top-notch and the interior looks amazingly plush. Second-row passengers have no trouble with comfort either. There are two additional seats in the third row for those occasions when the whole family is out together. There are many thoughtful touches in the Discovery, but one we liked in particular, was the fold-down second-row headrests that improve the rearward view.
The cargo area behind the rear seats is 43.5 cubic feet. By comparison, a Ford Explorer has 43.9. There was a spare tire in our tester and the power liftgate featured a cargo tray that folded forward when the gate went up. You can see it deployed in the image above. It automagically folds back up when you close the tailgate.
Infotainment and controls
We’ve said many times in many reviews that Jaguar/Land Rover has the best infotainment systems in the luxury class. The Discovery HSE Luxury has a premium Meridian sound system we found to be very good. Using the menus is very simple and the navigation system uses keyword searches to quickly locate destinations.
Those looking for a full-sized, three-row, all-road and off-road capable luxury utility vehicle will find the Land Rover Discovery sets the bar, and sets it high. The Discovery HSE Luxury drives splendidly, can haul more and tow more than most of its peers, and has the added benefit of good looks inside and out. The Discovery is also a very livable vehicle. It fits in a normal parking space and “drives smaller” than its specifications would suggest. With every feature box checked, the Discovery is also surprisingly reasonable in price. From our point of view, the Discovery is difficult to match in this specialty segment.