2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

The all-new Patrol and Land Cruiser alternative top dog family SUV from Land Rover

By Shahzad Sheikh

Click below to watch the video of our 2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

Check out the all-new Land Rover Discovery – yes this is all new. It’s either the third generation or fifth depending on whether you count it the Land Rover way or my way – which is just looking at the three different body styles. And I remember reviewing the first version back in 1989!

This time it’s not just the styling that’s been changed though, for the first time, this Discovery – which we knew in our region as the LR3 and LR4, but is now called Discover again – is not a body on frame construction, but a unibody beast.

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

And thanks to sharing an aluminium architecture with the current Range Rover and Range Rover sport, this means it’s nearly 500kg lighter than before – although it’s still hefty at well over 2000kg.

Design wise it looks a lot like the smaller Discovery Sport, it has a much sleeker and more rounded look compared to the upright boxy machine we had before. It must certainly help the aerodynamics on this thing. At the back it’s tapered off too with now horizontal taillights rather than vertical units.

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

It’s also bigger of course – 132mm longer, 51mm wider, 47mm taller and the wheelbase increases by 38mm. Put all the seats down and you have over 2400 litres of luggage space. And this thing can tow up to 3500kg.

There’s no  V8, but we get one standard engine now, which is a 3.0-litre V6 supercharged unit producing 340bhp and 332lb ft of torque to all four wheels of course, through an 8-speed auto with paddleshifts. The 0-100 acceleration time is in 7.1 seconds and top speed is 209kph.

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

Prices start at AED236,200 ($64k), but this Silicon Silver car you see in the video and pictures is a First Edition trim model and prices for these start at AED323,200 ($88k).

Standard spec on this includes these 22-inch wheels, LED lights, an astonishing 825W 15-speaker sound system, 10-inch touchscreen with 10GB of storage for up to 2000 songs. It also has 360 degree camera, seven seats, seven airbags, electronic air suspension, lane keep assist and tons of drivers’ aid tech.

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

This particularly car with options goes up to AED344,166 as gets full leather trim inside, roof rails, a leisure key, and some other accessories.

Starting with the boot, the split folding tailgate is gone replaced by a one-piece hatch. But Land Rover felt so bad about people not being able to sit on the lower part of the old tailgate any more that they put in an artificial seating plank that can be pulled down or lowered electronically. A thoughtful touch I grant, but it seems a bit unnecessary and convoluted, particularly as it then robs the luggage compartment of a bit of space if the third row of seats are up.

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

Talking of the third row of seats, both the second and last row can be raised and lowered through buttons in the boot, and an clever feature is how the second row will move slightly forward to allow the third row to drop fully flat, before reclining back into place. The only issue is that the head rests all drop automatically, but don’t snap back up again by themselves. Frankly though you want to leave them down if you don’t have passengers because they do rob of you significant rear visibility if they’re all up.

I can actually get into and just about sit in the third row – as you’ll see in the video – but it’s definitely a bit too tight for me, and if memory serves I feel there was a little more room in the old Disco. However both rearmost seats have ISOFIX anchor points for child seats – as do the outer middle row seats and the front passenger seat – and there are cubby boxes for each with individual USB ports – nice!

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

For the second row there are also two USB ports, plus ac controls and you can both slide the 60/40 split folding bench and recline the back if you wish. There’s ample space and comfort here, although the optional saddle bag accessory fitted to the test car seemed to be an unwarranted encroachment on rear legroom.

Up front and the good news is that you definitely still feel like you’re sitting in a Land Rover Discovery. It has the same upright, high-mounted, imperial, elbow-perfectly-positioned-on-door-sill feel that the Discovery originally borrowed from the flagship Range Rover, and which both still thankfully retain. You feel special, Royal even.

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

The interior is much nicer than the old car, nearly right up there at Rangie levels, I say nearly because this car was let down by some wonky trim in the passenger side footwell. But there are big screens and obvious buttons, features galore, soft touch trim and a subtle elegance about the cabin.

On the move, more good news. I was expecting this car to feel completely different from the old Discovery because of the new construction, but somehow they’ve engineered the feel of the old car back in. Yes, that does mean it still leans heavily, almost exaggeratedly so perhaps, but the rise-and-float-above-it-all sensation remains intact.

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

There’s that feeling of invincibility, there’s that sense you could turn in any direction and go anywhere. I didn’t do much off-roading, but with an updated Terrain Response system which is essentially now fully automated so you don’t really need to select anything anyway, you do feel this is still a proper 4×4.

The brakes take a bit of hammering, the steering can hardly be described as sporty, the performance is adequate for such a vehicle – though you feel the V6 works hard as despite losing mass this is still a heavy beast of burden – and the grip and turn-in is keen, if you don’t mind making your passengers a little woozy for all the body movement.

Cruising along motorways – with its more slippery shape – and barging about town with surprisingly agility for something so big is what it excels at, and that’s precisely what it will be called on to do most.

So overall then, despite a few foibles and flaws, I would thoroughly recommend the new Discovery as a great family hauler with a wide extent of abilities and a depth of style and desirability that some of its key rivals might lack. And it somehow feels both modern and classic at the same time.

Land Rover LR4 Black Edition

On the other hand though, I would say the old LR4 – as we know it here – right now would be a great car to pick up. It’s still an awesome machine, with an immense likeability and honesty about it, despite its heft and archaic architecture. I never tired of borrowing and driving those, and I will certainly miss it!

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