The fifth-generation Land Rover Discovery may look like a quite different prospect from any namesake, but driving it is like being with an old friend who has been given a new waxed jacket and a new lease of life to go with it.

This is such a comfortable, calming and assured car on the road – a proper Land Rover whose real talent is to put you at ease, despite its considerable size, and to be ready to do almost anything you might ask of it.

A proper Land Rover, modernised, refined and as likeable as ever

And by taking road miles so comfortably and effortlessly in its stride, somehow it only underlines its ability to take you farther off the beaten track than any other SUV likely could – and without even getting its tyres mucky.

The way we use SUVs has changed a lot in 28 years, and many of the Discovery’s rivals now serve many people’s needs better.

But this is an authentic Land Rover with incredible breadth of ability, a better Discovery than ever before and a hugely appealing modern family car.

It won’t be for everyone – but for those who have a use for its Amazon-wide range of abilities, it’s a brilliant and unrivalled product.

With all that in mind we have ranked the new Discovery just behind its sibling, the Range Rover Sport, and ahead of the Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and BMW X5.