Land Rover launched their 5th generation Discovery in Australia in August 2017. The Discovery model lineage stretches back 27 years.
We are testing here the Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE which is a middle range model with the biggest engine.
The 5th generation Discovery seems to have addressed some issues that plagued previous models. For me that is a great thing as I have always been a big fan of the Discovery.
Unlike many of us the Discovery has gotten better looking over the years and has gone soft in its looks. Unlike the 4WD boxy shape of previous generations, this latest version looks much rounder, softer and way smaller than it actually is, especially from the front.
The shape is also misleading in appearance, especially when you look at the approach and departure angles, wading depth and ground clearance. You scratch your head and wonder how.
Again clever and very stylish design.
The 5th generation Discovery is a comfortable place to sit for all drivers. With heated leather front seats and additional lumbar support my large frame settled nicely.
The height and reach adjustable steering wheel feels just right in the hands.
The dash has two clear dials on the outside and a MFD in-between. The ergonomics are spot on for the driver. I love the dial transmission selector, however I recently tested a RAM 1500 and it had a similar design but on the dash.
The centre stack houses the A/C controls etc. and above is the 10 inch touch screen. There are convenient storage spots everywhere, including a double glove box arrangement, door holders, rear cup holders etc.
One thing that is pleasing is that visibility, especially through the ‘A’ pillars is better than most other similar vehicles.
The 5th generation Discovery continues the customary stadium seating configuration. The rear seats are better suited for two adults and a child.
Third row seats are accessed from the sliding middle row and are definitely amongst the better in similar vehicles for comfort and size accommodation.
Both third-row seats incorporate ISOFIX mounting points (four in total), so families have the freedom to put child seats in the most appropriate seat for any journey.
The boot is large and can accommodate enough luggage for a family trip. Rear seats fold flat and the middle row folds flat in a 40/20/40 configuration to allow a huge and practical storage area.
It’s almost impossible to state the features of a Discovery as there are so many options and variants individualised for buyers. It is easy to consume $20-$30,000 in options.
Some key features and options include:-
- InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with a 10-inch touchscreen
- 14-speaker Meridian digital surround system with an additional subwoofer
- Up to six 12V charging points and as many as nine USB sockets
- Optional Land Rover Activity Key wristband
- Intelligent Seat Fold technology, allows owners to rearrange the seats from inside a shop while they queue to pay for large or bulky items
- All three rows are available with heated seats
- Auto Access Height technology reduces the ride-height by up to 40mm as passengers prepare to enter or exit the vehicle
- Automatic LED headlights with LED DRL’s and rear fog lights
- New dual-purpose powered inner tailgate
The Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE is powered by a V6 Turbo diesel engine that produces 190kW/600Nm.
This runs through a smooth and responsive ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox that seemingly is mated perfectly to the engine characteristics. Fuel is sipped at an ADR rate of 7.2L/100Km combined.
On road the Discovery drives more like a sedan that a 2000+ kg SUV. It’s definitely not a sports car, but drives better than almost any other true 4WD on the market.
I didn’t have the opportunity to take it far off road or on the sand this time, or tow anything. However I have with previous models and, well let’s just say, it matches any other 4WD.
Towing is effortless and matching any other similar vehicle with a 3,500kg towing capacity and semi-autonomous Advanced Tow Assist to take the stress out of difficult reversing manoeuvres
Discovery’s legendary 4WD performance comes from Land Rover’s multi-mode Terrain Response 2 system which optimises a range of settings, to suit the driving conditions at the turn of a rotary controller.
As you would expect the Land Rover Discovery has a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating. It’s full of features which include:-
- A bunch of airbags everywhere
- Lane Keep Assist With Driver Condition Monitor
- Adaptive Cruise Control With Queue Assist
- Autonomous Emergency Braking
- Blind Spot Assist With Reverse Traffic Detection
- Dynamic Stability Control
- Electronic Traction Control
- Roll Stability Control
- Cornering Brake Control
- Gradient Acceleration Control
- Hill Descent Control
- Emergency Brake Assist
- 4WD capability
- Engine performance
- Ride, Handling and Safety
Not So Good Bits:
- No third row A/C vents
- Lack of 4WD Tyre options for 21 inch wheels
- Expensive and long options list
Originally designed as a more affordable 4WD than the Range Rover, the Discovery has morphed into a luxury 7 seat family SUV that sees most of its time doing the school run or towing a horse float to riding school. At these tasks the 5th generation excels.
However despite the softer appearance and on our test vehicle, low profile tyres, the Discovery also offers the prospect of real adventure, even if it’s only an aspiration for most.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE
- Engine: 3.0L V6 turbo diesel producing 190kW/600Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic 4WD
- Warranty: 3 years/ 100,000km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: UK
- Price: from $101,731