The Land Rover Discovery is hugely capable and very desirable, equally at home both on-road
You might imagine a 2.0-litre diesel would struggle in a car as big and heavy as the Discovery, but the entry-level level engine (badged SD4) delivers surprisingly adequate performance. True, there is a bit of a pause between you pushing the accelerator and the car surging forward, but once into its stride, speed builds steadily enough.
The 3.0-litre V6 diesel (called the TD6) isn’t ultimately that much faster, but it pulls harder at low revs and delivers its power more smoothly. We reckon it well worth the relatively small price premium, even though it still doesn’t deliver the sort of hot hatch-rivaling acceleration you’d get from, say, an Audi Q7. There’s also a 3.0-litre V6 petrol (Si6).
The standard air suspension delivers a suitably smooth ride. The Discovery is particularly comfortable at motorway speeds when it wafts over undulations like a jumbo jet running into very mild turbulence, but even broken town surfaces don’t cause any discomfort.
The Discovery is very much geared towards comfort rather than sporty handling. You can steer the car through corners with confidence at reasonable speeds without feeling as though you’re about to tip over, although it never feels as eager to change direction as a Volvo XC90 and leans more when it does.
The steering is slow, so getting around tight corners requires plenty of arm work. The Discovery isn’t the ideal town car, then, but it is among the best off-roaders in the world. It’ll breeze over terrain that its rivals couldn’t even dream of trying to tackle, thanks to a class-leading ground clearance of 283mm, a wading depth of 900mm (also best in class) and a multitude of clever electronics.
All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) is available as part of the Capability Pack (optional on all trims apart from entry-level S). It’s effectively cruise control for off-roading and works at speeds of up to 19mph.
You barely hear a peep from the 2.0-litre diesel engine at a steady cruise, although the smaller motor is a bit vocal when you’re accelerating hard. The 3.0-litre diesel offers, even more, serenity, and none of the engine options transmit many vibrations through the steering wheel or the soles of your feet.
Lots of glass and a lofty driving position combine to give you a great view out in all directions. Forward visibility is particularly good, so it’s surprisingly easy to thread the Discovery along narrow urban streets or between tight hedgerows.