Powered by

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review: First Australian Drive

4 years ago

Good points

  • Much lighter, and more agile
  • Comfortable for 7 people
  • Smooth, capable engines

Needs work

  • Long, complicated options list
  • Most safety tech is not standard
  • It's a big car, and it feels like it
2017 Land Rover Discovery First Edition Namib Orange Off Road – Chasing Cars

Land Rover have faced a conundrum in recent years. How do you honour your hard-earned reputation for out-and-out off-roading capability, while providing the levels of suppleness and luxury that modern buyers demand? The British brand’s upmarket Range Rover vehicles have satisfied this question for decades – with the trade-off being high prices. Combining serious capability with genuine luxury into a mainstream, sub-$100,000 Land Rover has been more of a challenge. Yet that’s what the 2017 Land Rover Discovery sets out to do – and from first impressions on the Discovery’s launch in outback Australia, it looks like the effort has been a success.

The result is a fifth-generation Discovery that is more like a Range Rover than ever. The visual similarities inside and out with the Discovery’s platform-sharing cousin, the Range Rover Sport, are obvious. So too is the way the Discovery feels behind the wheel. Immediately, it’s clear that the days of basic, agricultural Land Rovers are behind us. That’s particularly interesting given the Discovery’s place in the Land Rover range. With the hardcore Defender now gone – and a replacement now slated for 2020 or later – the Discovery will be marketed as the most serious off-roader of the group. But the overwhelming feeling is that the new Discovery has been designed chiefly to please its family buyers with true comfort on-road, and strong practicality for the Discovery’s everyday duties as a vehicle for the school run.

2017 Land Rover Discovery First Edition Namib Orange Side Profile – Chasing Cars

However, while the new Discovery’s focus is the realistic stuff families will use it for – ferrying kids, commuting, and occasional road-trips – Land Rover convincingly shot down any notion that the Discovery 5’s capability off the black top has been softened. In fact, the majority of our seat time on the vehicle’s national launch was staged off-road, including on a difficult artificial course constructed by the brand’s off-roading Land Rover Experience experts. Severe corrugations, deep wading through mud, negotiating moguls and steep ascents and descents were all present. Pleasantly, the most luxurious Discovery ever is also the most capable factory-fresh Discovery ever, too.

The British brand’s local product planners are confident that the Land Rover badge increasingly stands for guaranteed off-roading capability combined with high levels of interior luxury. That is a conscious move away from basic, utilitarian, not-luxurious off-roaders like the Defender and earlier Discovery iterations – and Land Rover accepts this characterisation. It is a move precipitated by rapidly changing consumer preferences towards luxury – and in Land Rover’s case, that includes the luxury of knowing that you own a vehicle that can tackle hard outback terrain, even if you never attempt it yourself. That is what the new Discovery is all about.

But like most modern Jaguar and Land Rover products, the Discovery is afflicted by a complicated range that makes identifying the ideal specification difficult, and spending a lot of money too easy. Five trim levels, three engines and over 80 options sees the range span from a rather sparsely-equipped Td4 S ($65,960) to the lavish Td6 First Edition ($132,160). For those that are lost in the extensive choice, a good starting point is the mid-range HSE model, with either the Sd4 ($93,550) or Td6 ($100,550) engine.

2017 Land Rover Discovery First Edition Namib Orange Rear End – Chasing Cars

Key specs (as tested)

Engine
Capacity
2.0 litres (1999 cc)
Cylinders
4
Induction
Twin turbochargers
Power
177kW at 4,000rpm
Torque
500Nm between 1,500-2,500rpm
Configuration
Torque converter
Power to weight ratio
83.7kW / tonne
Fuel
Fuel type
Diesel
Fuel capacity
77 litres
Consumption
6.4L/100km
Average Range
1,203 kilometres
Drivetrain
Transmission
Automatic
Drivetrain
Four wheel drive
Engine configuration
In-line
Gears
8
Dimensions
Length
4.97 metres
Width
2.07 metres
Height
1.89 metres
Unoccupied weight
2,115 kilograms
Cargo space seats up
698 litres
Cargo seats down
2,500 litres

About Chasing cars

Chasing Cars reviews are 100% independent.

Because we are powered by Budget Direct Insurance, we don’t receive advertising or sales revenue from car manufacturers.

We’re truly independent – giving you Australia’s best car reviews.

Terms and conditions

The estimate provided does not take into account your personal circumstances but is intended to give a general indication of the cost of insurance, in order to obtain a complete quote, please visit www.budgetdirect.com.au. Estimate includes 15%^ online discount.
^Conditions Apply

Budget Direct Insurance arranged by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd ACN 003 617 909(AGS) AFSL 241 411, for and on behalf of the insurer, Auto & General Insurance Company Limited(ABN 42 111 586 353, AFSL 285 571).Because we don’t know your financial needs, we can’t advise you if this insurance will suit you. You should consider your needs and the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision to buy insurance. Terms and conditions apply.

Indicative quote based on assumptions including postcode , 40 year old male with no offences, licence suspensions or claims in the last 5 years, a NCD Rating 1 and no younger drivers listed. White car, driven up to 10,000kms a year, unfinanced, with no modifications, factory options and/or non-standard accessories, private use only and garaged at night.

^Online Discounts Terms & Conditions
1. Discounts apply to the premium paid for a new Budget Direct Gold Comprehensive Car Insurance, Third Party Property Only or Third Party Property, Fire & Theft Insurance policy initiated online on or after 29 March 2017. Discounts do not apply to optional Roadside Assistance.
2. Discounts do not apply to any renewal offer of insurance.
3. Discounts only apply to the insurance portion of the premium. Discounts are applied before government charges, taxes, levies and fees, including instalment processing fees (as applicable). The full extent of discounts may therefore be impacted.
4. We reserve the right to change the offer without notice.