From £37,955
Still the ultimate rural commuter, but there are better urban alternatives

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

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8 September 2008

What is it?

It's the facelifted Discovery. Honest. Land Rover has given the third generation of its seven-seat SUV a mild mid-life revamp.

The changes (are you ready for this?) include new front and rear bumpers, a new style of 19-inch wheels, body-coloured wheelarches, clear indicator lenses, a body-coloured tailgate handle and 'tungsten' flares to the side vents and door handles.

Inside there's the option of a new trim colour and an improved Bluetooth set-up. All of this means that, when placed alongside the old model, the new version will look very slightly fresher, but nothing more than that.

What's it like?

Incredibly like the previous Discovery 3 - which is to say reassuringly solid, frustratingly weighty, appreciably comfortable and just about luxurious enough to justify a £45,000 price tag.

All of the basics, including Land Rover's fine Terrain Response system, are still present, and the Discovery is surprisingly accomplished at cruising at motorway speeds; wind and road noise are suppressed more effectively than you might expect, resulting in a decent long-distance tool.

Yet for all its real-world qualities, you still feel a wally driving this car down narrow side streets; now, more than ever, the Discovery feels like it's been made for the big outdoors.

Should I buy one?

The latest Disco remains one of the ultimate vehicles for rural commutes. But if you're looking for urban practicality, there are alternatives that are more economical, just as spacious and, dare we say it, a little more socially acceptable.

The Discovery should still be the automatic choice for a select few, but its ability to pull in casual buyers must be on the wane.

Join the debate

Comments
26

8 September 2008

Is it now Autocar's policy to apply the "socially acceptable" rule to all 4x4 roadtests?

8 September 2008

I'm with you, Julian. Everyone else seems to say that its the best 4x4 there is but not this place. Socially acceptable ! What a load of nonsense. Maybe John McIlroy is happier in his Kia C'eed with no options (see blogs). He doesn't seem to know what he's talking about.

8 September 2008

is the disco really the best 4x4 there is?

i guess where land rover beat their competitors is in actual off road ability, but do the majority of 4x4 buyers even scratch the surface of this ability?

fair enough, if you want a can do / go anywhere SUV then a landie/rangie is a good option, but many just like the elevated driving position, sense of security, space, luxury, and a degree of traction/off-road ability not offered by your average family saloon.

ok, an audi a6 quattro avant (estate) offers much the same for most people requirements, but we all have free choice ... nothing wrong with a 4x4/SUV if that's what you want, but there are plenty of choices.

where i think landrover falls down is in reports of shocking build quality, suspension faults, and generally unacceptable problems in such an expensive car ... for £40K+ you can have a BMW X5, which admittedly comes with stigma of it's own, but which is arguably better built, will cope with heavy rain and snow, and will be far better to drive on the road.

and for far far less money, less than £30K, you can get a fully loaded Honda CR-V if you're not image conscious ... a stonking car and spec for the money.

i do have a soft spot for landies and rangies, but i wouldn't put my own money into one, i've no need to scale mountains, so there are better options available.

8 September 2008

You're a bit out of date on your build quality rant there, Chris. Five years ago maybe but not any more. You'd also be surprised how useful the 4x4 is. Its gets you off the line much more quickly and if you are mainly on B roads (as I am) then it is much less of a crashier ride than anything else more sporty. In fact, the Disco is superb on the motorway too and you can get 5 people in plus all their luggage or 7 people in without all in total comfort. There are not in fact that many choices if those are what you want. An X5's rearmost seats are occasional at best. If anyone says buy an MPV I will hit them. They are not comparable on price, quality, image .

8 September 2008

hi bruce.

i'm not sure my post was a "rant", but it was certainly a ramble :o)

i know the disco is popular, i'm sure it is great - i was just defending autocar's assertion that for similar money there may more suitable options for some, i agree few cars can compete with it directly.

as for the build quality issues - i was aiming that more at landrover in general, than the disco per se - based on the number of people i know personally with new landies/rangies with problems i find inexcusable in such cars ... i know 3 people who've had suspension faults and leaks on their new rangies - i don't know anyone other 3 people with the same faults on whatever they drive (not that other cars are faultless, it just seemed a high % of the RR owners i know)

i also read this blog, with interest, but it may be outdated i concede (though it is still about the III):

http://www.haveyoursay.com/

as for 4x4 i think you've misunderstood, i'm not doubting 4x4 for a second, my own car has 4 wheel drive, i'm well aware of the virtues, and i wouldn't be without it ... my point is that landrovers are not the only cars with 4x4 if you must have it, nor is it exclusive to SUVs (per my reference to the quattro system available on audis, just as an example), and whilst LR's 4WD also offers low ratio gearbox and greater offroad ability, 'other' 4WD systems are more than adequate for road use (for the reasons you suggest, and more)

8 September 2008

Fair enough, Chris. Horses for courses. We are all different with different needs.

8 September 2008

And where on earth is the V8 diesel that this car desperately needs?

8 September 2008

Why haven't Land Rover made it a bit lighter? it would improve alot of the car's negative features (fuel consuption, high emissions).

8 September 2008


Is it now Autocar's policy to apply the "socially acceptable" rule to all 4x4 roadtests?
You don't get it... ...the idiotic drunken party is over, most people have sobered up and your SUV is the lampshade you are still wearing on your head. Take it off; it looks bloody ridiculous.
When you get sober you will realize that people were in fact NOT jealous that you had a lampshade on your head and they did not....

...the band was playing Dixie: double-four time...

8 September 2008

But I don't have an SUV. Or a lampshade for that matter.

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