From £37,955
The Discovery is an exceptionally versatile vehicle: a grade-one off-roader, proper seven-seater and rapid and luxurious way to cover distances

Our Verdict

Land Rover Discovery
The Discovery really is the defining go-anywhere super-utility vehicle

The Land Rover Discovery has an unbeatable combination of practicality, off-road ability and on-road manners

  • First Drive

    2016 Land Rover Discovery Landmark review

    With an all-new, fifth-generation discovery around the corner, we revisit the current car in special-edition Landmark form
  • First Drive

    Land Rover Discovery SDV6

    The Discovery is an exceptionally versatile vehicle: a grade-one off-roader, proper seven-seater and rapid and luxurious way to cover distances
2 November 2011

What is it?

This is 2012 model Land Rover Discovery 4, the company’s increasingly Range Rover-esque seven-seater. It has been given a light overhaul, the most important changes being the adoption of modified (more powerful and slightly more economical) versions of the V6 diesel engine, the adoption of a new eight-speed autobox and upgrades to infotainment systems.

However, despite the changes not being flagged up by Land Rover, Autocar has uncovered the fact that the 2012 Discovery has also been fitted with a new variable ratio steering rack (which is not fitted to the 2012 Range Rover Sport) and that the chassis has benefitted from the attentions of Mike Cross, JLR’s ride and handling guru.

What’s it like?

As soon as you pull away and start to guide the Discovery along, it is clear that the steering has improved dramatically. At low speeds the steering has a much weightier, meaty feeling and also produces the sensation that the wheel is connected more directly to the front wheels.

At higher speeds, the new steering set-up is a big part of making the Discovery feel more at home on winding lanes. It now feels less top-heavy, it seems to roll less and generally feels more firmly planted. All of which adds up to make it easier for the driver to place the car on the road.

Although we haven’t been able to try the 2011 and 2012 Discos back-to-back, the ride - previously somewhat stiff legged, also seems to have been very effectively smoothed out. Overall, the ride and handling of the Disco 4 has taken a significant step forward, with the steering making the most dramatic improvement.

The V6 diesel motor remains refined and effortless, helped by the new transmission’s extra two ratios and a longer-striding top gear. This new ‘box also shifts into lock-up mode more quickly than the six-speed ‘box, giving the driver the very distinctive sensation of ‘direct drive’ to wheels more often. If there’s a fault with the new transmission, it is its keenness to shift into the top gear as often as possible.

Should I buy one?

The Discovery is an exceptionally versatile vehicle: a grade-one off-roader, proper seven-seater and rapid and luxurious way to cover distances. The 2012 model sees significant improvements to the ride and handling.

However, it is not cheap in mid-spec form, although there are few better (for which, read luxurious) ways to carry seven, shift big loads or tow. However, its uniqueness makes its own case if you have deep enough pockets.

Land Rover Discovery 4 SDV6 HSE

Price: £51,195; Top speed: 112mph; 0-62mph: 9.3sec; Economy: 32.1mpg; CO2: 230g/km; Kerb weight: 2583kg; Engine: V6 turbodiesel, 2993cc; Power: 252bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 443lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd auto

Join the debate

Comments
18

4 November 2011

Had a brand new 2006 model of this car and loved it. BUT didn't love the fact that it spent nearly a year, out of 5 years ownership, in the garage. I really want to love this car, but couldn't trust another one. Shame.

if it's heavy, it ain't happenin' 

289

4 November 2011

I have questioned L-R's reliability in this Forum before, every time I do I am told" it isnt true"..".they are much better than they used to be"

Thank You Lotus Man for being honest enough about your L-R...and to all the nay sayers...I told you so!

4 November 2011

To counter the above, my 2008 Range Rover TDV8 has given no trouble whatsoever apart from one brake light bulb going pop.

4 November 2011

reliability is purely subjective on cars such as this. Its one of the major problems. I know people who have had no problems at all.

Ironically I have found that the drivers who tend to treat them the hardest seem to have the least problems (or realise the problems are related to the treatment)

I remember the shock on peoples faces when I reversed my 4x4 into a lake to launch a jetbike - but as far as I am concerned if you are going to treat it like a car then buy a car.

It does sound as if its really come on a lot, but £51K FFS! they are getting so expensive it means they wont get used for the purpose they were originally designed for anymore.

4 November 2011

I quite agree fatboyfat, mine is used for pulling a 2 berth horsebox all over the place, I am not the only driver but pay for the fuel.

The mpg figures suggest others treat it somewhat harder than I do.

4 November 2011

lol, gotta love the review. Another apprantly perfect car by JLR with no downsides (aside from the mention of the slight over-keeness of the transmission) according to the oh so objective Autocar testers.

You only really get any proper idea of what Autocar testers think of JLR cars when they are replaced by newer/updated models. A case in point: this review states:

".....the ride - previously somewhat stiff legged, also seems to have been very effectively smoothed out. Overall, the ride and handling of the Disco 4 has taken a significant step forward.....".

So, naturally you would think in the review of the pre-update version Autocar would've covered the car's ride (and handling) shortcomings, but this is what they said then:

"....Ride comfort is everything in this car. Both large and medium-sized intrusions are dismissed with silent disdain. Only very sharp, small irregularities catch the car off-guard and send a shimmy through the bodyshell.

More difficult to pin down is the way the Discovery seems to always be at a saunter regardless of where the speedo needle is pointing: this is a chassis that never allows itself to be flustered on-road and whose limiting factor is grip. There’s a margin of stabilising understeer and on wet asphalt it doesn’t take too much effort to have the DSC stability system chiming in. But overall, the car’s imperturbability is mightily impressive."

http://www.autocar.co.uk/CarReviews/RoadTestsOnTheRoad/Land-Rover-Discovery-2.7-TDV6-HSE-Auto/212356/

Like I said, truly "objective" test reviews when it comes to JLR cars.

4 November 2011

This exactly is my experience too, either the Land Rover complainers don't get on this forum to tell us their woes too often or those who regularly express their opinion on L/R products have ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE of them in regular use. I've now had three Rangies in succession (following two Jeep Grand Cherokees) and have had only one incident involving a transmission breakdown - sorted under warranty with a loan vehicle provided by my dealership. I am much looking forward to reading the definitive article on the next generation sometime soon, so that I can spec up replacement of my TDV8.

4 November 2011

[quote Lotus Man]Had a brand new 2006 model of this car and loved it. BUT didn't love the fact that it spent nearly a year, out of 5 years ownership, in the garage. I really want to love this car, but couldn't trust another one. Shame.[/quote]

Yes, similar story with a 2007 Discovery of my work colleague. Very good car but many problems, mainly electronics. He said he took back the car to the dealer an average of 5 times a year...

4 November 2011

[quote 289]I have questioned L-R's reliability in this Forum before, every time I do I am told" it isnt true"..".they are much better than they used to be"[/quote]And in the early 60's Vauxhalls cars all rusted away after a couple of years and it was many years before that poor rust control performance period was lost from buyers memory.

In this years J D Power survey the Discovery is ranked No 5 and BMW X5 No 9.

4 November 2011

As for the gearbox comment, is this a ZF unit? Dont know, but my experience on my 5 series is that it too likes to fly through the gears and unless you have a lead foot seems to go through the first 3 or 4 in such a rapid way it seems almost pointless.

A big 4x4, which may be hauling heavy loads probably favours a 5 or six speed with a nice steady dollop of torque to pull it along rather than nippy changes between gears.

It would be interesting to see how this box performs if a double horse box was attached to the back?

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