Land Rover Discovery 2022 long-term review

AC   WW 22    LT LR Discovery Hello   20220801 1661

Is there still a place for a big, capable 4×4 like this or have newcomers elbowed it out?

Why we’re running it: Is there still a place for a big, capable 4×4 like this or have newcomers elbowed it out?

Month 1 – Specs

Life with a Land Rover Discovery: Month 1

Welcoming the Land Rover Discovery to the fleet – 10 August 2022

Over five distinct models since 1989 (but only three different generations), the Discovery has played a surprising number of different roles in Land Rover’s line-up.

The first edition presented Landie lovers for the first time with a family-oriented model they could drive every day. It was pricey but not prohibitive. However, the coming of the smaller Freelander (now the Discovery Sport) and then the Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Evoque complicated things. Sophisticated, capable Land 

Rovers positioned below the top price fllagship became common currency.TheDiscoverystarted running into own-brand competition.

The situation was further complicated when the current Disco 5 appeared in 2017, because its styling didn’t go down especially well with Discovery stalwarts (who to this day reserve warmer words for the tougher-looking Disco 4). And then came the 2020 debut of the new Defender, which offered similar powertrains and prices, plus a gigantic halo.

Disco sales struggled for a year or two with the arrival of a modernised mid-life model. But buyers came to realise that the model was (a) still a good thing and (b) the one you can buy, whereas the Defender is subject to a long waiting list and stock models are vanishingly rare.

That’s the basis for this story: what’s it like to run the full-sized Land Rover that you can actually get? Even our test car has followed the ‘what’s available’ principle: it was initially specified as a short-loans demonstrator, so it has already done 8000 miles. As with most things, this has good and bad aspects. Among the positives, there’s no need to run it in.

Among the negatives, there was no chance to deliberate over its specification and, of course, no showroom-fresh feeling, even though it came to us in perfect condition. Mind you, that ready-specified aspect can rapidly be turned into an advantage. How company people equip their own cars can be very telling. They know what matters – where the value is and what to leave out.

Thus our Disco 5 is a D300 R-Dynamic HSE, which makes it a telling. They know what matters – where the value is and what to leave out. Thus our Disco 5 is a D300 R-Dynamic HSE, which makes it a fast and powerful, road-oriented seven-seater on the plush side of par – but with a relatively modest (for a Landie) suite of options that enhance its off-road capability and make it a great tow car. That’s the recipe for most people’s ideal Disco.

I’m hard to impress when it comes to specifying options, but I almost completely approve of this vehicle’s spec. The only things I would have left out are a £1900 heating system for the third row of seating (I will never use it) and the £490 privacy glass, because I happen to dislike the way black windows make cars look.

I have to acknowledge that they make life harder for those who nick stuff from cars, though. This is my third Discovery (I had a 3 and a 4 as well), and although it started its life less popular than the others, it has displayed exactly the same attributes as its predecessors during the 2000 miles that I’ve put under its wheels in barely a month.

First among them is an unimpeachable practicality. It’s huge inside and very comfortable. The tailgate is vast but opening it is easy, and there’s a fold-out seating platform (less ritzy than the Bentley Bentayga edition, but arguably handier).

Tie-down turnbuckles are where you need them. The third-row seats don’t seriously impede carrying space and spring from the floor at the touch of a button.

But for me, the joy of the Disco is always going to be the driving. Once you get used to it, the size is usually a delight. There’s special enjoyment to be had in placing a big, stable car with nicely weighted, accurate but ever so slightly ponderous steering on narrow roads. Only in a car park does it become a serious bind.

If it didn’t sound so completely counterintuitive, I would say it was also even a pleasure to drive in the inner city, because of its great driver view, straight sides and the low-speed suppleness of the all-independent air suspension.

The last of those is a special treat: this car has active roll control, so it can afford to have relaxed ride rates, and they make it special. Of course, it’s a great road cruiser. It has terrific directional stability and plenty of road presence, so other road users mostly let you get on with doing what you want.

The Disco 5, with its integral body structure, isn’t quite as immune to motorway road noise as its two separate-chassis predecessors, but it’s still close to the top of the class. That modernised structure hasn’t helped much with the kerb weight: it’s still 2.35 tonnes, and you feel it on turn-in to tight corners and when you use the brakes even moderately hard.

Still, the fuel consumption has been a nice surprise, courtesy of its latest-tech 3.0-litre diesel with a discreet mild-hybrid system to help mostly with step-off from rest. I will usually see 40mpg on the trip computer (whose accuracy I’ve yet to check) anywhere but during extended town use. And when I fill the mighty 89-litre tank (which can cost £150 at present), I’m presented with a prediction of 740 miles. That’s a strong argument for the old ways.

Off-roading? I haven’t done any yet, but plans are afoot. Will it be any good? You might as well ask if a duck is watertight. I will report from one of the mud holes of the UK – if it ever rains again. 

Second Opinion

I’m with Steve on the Disco’s dynamic appeal. So well matched is the silky steering to the generous roll rates that these cars are often more satisfying to flow down B-roads than overly firm and all-too-serious performance SUVs. I also like how unassuming the Disco is, relatively. The Defender is a bit of a fashion accessory now and the Range Rover an S-Class on stilts. The Disco feels more authentic and usable.

Richard Lane

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Land Rover Discovery specification

Specs: Price New £67,290 Price as tested £75,120 Options Metallic paint £895, black roof £900, leather steering wheel £450, heated third- row seats £1900, active rear locking diff £1080, electrically deployable towbar £1130, privacy glass £490, wireless phone charging £300, Off-Road Capability Pack (transfer box, All Terrain Progress Control, configurable Terrain Response 2) £685 

Test Data: Engine 2996cc, 6-cyl turbocharged diesel Power 300bhp at 4000rpm Torque 650lb ft at 1500rpm Kerb weight 2362kg Top speed 130mph 0-62mph 6.8sec Fuel economy 33.7mpg CO2 220g/km Faults None Expenses None

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Source: Autocar

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