Loved for its go-anywhere ability and practicality, the Land Rover Discovery 5 is a green Barbour jacket on wheels, as happy foraging for parking spaces in Kensington as traversing muddy fields in the Cotswolds. Indomitable on road and capable of wonders off it, few rivals can match its all-round appeal.
This fifth generation features an aluminium monocoque and is based on the same architecture as the contemporary Range Rover Sport, weighing in substantially less than the much-loved Mk4 Discovery it replaced. Its looks remain, but it offers vast amounts of interior space and seven very usable seats.
There’s a good choice of engines, too, with four cylinders or six. There are three diesels, the 237bhp 2.0-litre SD4, the 254bhp 3.0 TD6 and the 302bhp 3.0 SDV6, or petrols that include a 296bhp 2.0-litre Si4 and a supercharged 335bhp 3.0 V6.
Four equipment levels make up the range, starting with the least expensive S, which gets air conditioning, alloy wheels and a 10in touchscreen. SE adds electric leather seats, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers. HSE features a panoramic glass roof, heated second-row seats and keyless entry, while top-of-the-range HSE Luxury adds electric sunroof, heated and cooled seats and four-zone climate control.
Now, you can get your hands on a good Discovery 5 from around £30,000, this for a 2017 2.0 SD4 diesel with average mileage and a full history. Look for a 3.0-litre diesel of the same vintage for around £31,000. Spend around £33,000 on a 2018 2.0 SD4, between £33,000 and £40,000 on a larger-engined and higher-specced 2018 model, or between £38,000 and £45,000 on 2019 cars from a franchised dealer.
On the road, this is a comfortable and assured car with an upmarket air and some smart interior touches, only let down by a fiddly infotainment system. The tall driving position and excellent visibility give a commanding view of the road, and the standard air suspension gives a delightfully wafty ride. All the engines are refined, too.
But it’ll cost a bit to run. The most economical (on paper) SD4 only records an official 33.6mpg, and the 3.0 SDV6 a mere 31.5mpg. Expect even lower real-world figures. You’ll pay the supplementary luxury car tax on top of the standard VED, too.
You’ll also find that servicing and repair costs are high. Once your car’s out of warranty, find an independent specialist to look after it; they usually charge significantly less than Land Rover dealerships and are often just as knowledgeable, if not more so.
Then there’s reliability: Land Rover doesn’t have the best reputation. While some swear by their Disco, others mutter only mild oaths towards it. You have been warned.