The Mk5 Discovery may be significantly lighter than its predecessor, but the car’s motive character remains mostly unaltered.

This is a big car that drives like one – like its looks suggest it should, like you’d expect it to and like you’d hope it would with genuine dual-purpose on and off-road use in mind.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Roll is only a factor in sharper corners. In quicker ones, the Discovery’s handling response is very respectable

Land Rover’s familiar care over the details of the driving experience extends to an accelerator pedal whose sensitivity and calibration make the Discovery somewhat unwilling to be hustled away from a standstill but easy to waft into motion smoothly.

Which is as you’d want it and should make the car supremely controllable when towing heavy trailers and covering slippery or rough terrain.

On the move, the pace the Discovery wants to adopt is more gentle than that of its six-cylinder diesel rivals. Whereas a Q7 3.0 TDI 272 takes little more than six seconds to hit 60mph from rest, this Land Rover needs almost nine – and despite that healthy-sounding 443lb ft of mid-range torque, the Discovery isn’t much closer to the Q7 on in-gear pace, either.

But the Land Rover’s saving grace is that, much of the time, you wouldn’t really want such a tall, wide car to be any quicker. Its engine is big on torque but revs to only just beyond 4000rpm, and although its gearbox will shift away smoothly enough however you drive it and is smart and obedient in manual mode, it’s at its best when ushering the car along in swift but unhurried fashion.

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The Discovery isn’t quite as mechanically refined as some large SUVs and perhaps more understandably, given its upright shape and size, it doesn’t cut through the wind as quietly as some.

That it stops, on the road and in safety-critical circumstances, with the slightly qualified urgency of a heavy car fitted with pseudo-off-road and ‘all-season’ tyres, is equally as much to do with the car’s dual-purpose brief as anything.

In light of that, hauling up from 70mph in less than 54 metres is no bad showing.  

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