Land Rover Discovery 2017 review

Moving Well | Greg Hill | Posted on 23 January 2018

RACV tests the Land Rover Discovery HSE Sd4.

Land Rover Discovery in nature

At a glance

Price: $96,950 plus ORC.
Engine: 2.0-litre Sd4 diesel.
Safety: Five-star ANCAP, six airbags, autonomous emergency braking, lane-departure warning.
Economy: 9.4L/100km
Overall: ✩✩✩✩

Land Rover Discovery has been a hero of the large four-wheel-drive market for a long time, and the latest, fifth generation, displays all its award-winning traits: it’s big and bold with traditional British-style luxury appointments, plenty of smart technology, a plush ride and genuinely serious all-terrain ability.  

Gone is the previous model’s distinctive boxy, square-line look, replaced by a curvier body styling that still has an unmistakable Discovery family resemblance, including the characteristic stepped roofline that has been a feature of past generations (albeit no longer as prominent). A lot of work has gone into weight reduction with extensive use of aluminium, including the monocoque body and panels, but it still tips the scales at more than 2100 kilograms. 

A personal touch

The new Discovery model range is extensive, spread across five equipment grades and with prices and standard features varying significantly. All except the top-of-the-range limited-run First Edition model are available with the choice of three turbo-diesel engines (two four-cylinder units and a V6), and five or seven-seat cabin configuration. A smooth-changing eight-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel-drive with a two-speed transfer box has been employed across the range. In total, you will find 25 variants, starting from $65,960 plus on-road costs for the relatively basic five-seat S model Td4, through to the immaculately dressed First Edition that comes standard with seven seats and the powerful 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine at $131,871 plus on-road costs.  

For those wanting to personalise their vehicle or enhance its already substantial off-road ability, there’s a lengthy list of options available across the range (including some which other manufacturers provide as standard on cheaper models, particularly advanced safety technologies). Start ticking a few option boxes and the price will grow very quickly.  We drove the mid-range HSE Sd4 seven-seat model, which from initial sales is one of the top-selling versions. It has a recommended retail price of $96,950, but with a few options the cost jumped to $113,780 plus on-road costs.

Interior view of Land Rover Discovery

Intelligent interior

Discovery is a full-size, high-riding premium SUV wagon. The new model is longer than its predecessor but also a fraction narrower, so the cabin is still quite spacious. ‘Auto access height’ and ‘easy loading mode’, which is part of the HSE’s standard ‘electronic air suspension system’, means getting in is a little better than many other large SUVs but it’s still a climb. Once in the driver’s seat you’ll find a commanding view despite the chunky pillars. The second and third-row seats are close to the floor and not everyone will like the bent-knee posture it creates. 

Claiming to be an industry first, the Discovery’s optional ($1140) ‘intelligent seat folding’ technology is impressive. The second and third-row seats can be folded and unfolded in four configurations at the touch of a button in the luggage compartment. Using Land Rover’s InControl remote smartphone technology, the seating configuration can also be rearranged before you even reach the vehicle.

Adults will find the third-row roomier than most other seven-seat wagons, but for long trips it is still more suitable for children. Child-seat mounting points are provided. When the two rear rows are down, luggage space is cavernous, and even with the second row up it is good. When all seats are occupied, the space behind is better than most similar vehicles but not massive. The high standard of build quality and trim materials of our test vehicle was in keeping with the Discovery’s premium image.

Rear view of Land Rover Discovery

A hefty ride

For the most part, Discovery is like a luxury car to drive but you are very aware of its size and weight, particularly in city traffic and tight spaces such as shopping centre carparks. The ride on Land Rover’s ‘electronic air suspension’ (standard on all except the entry-level S models) is relatively soft, comfortable and cosetting over all road surfaces. Discovery’s height and weight means some body roll is inevitable, particularly at low speeds around town and through roundabouts, but otherwise there’s a surefooted feel to the vehicle, with steering and suspension upgrades improving the overall handling. While we don’t expect that too many owners will push the rugged off-road ability to the vehicle’s limits, it is reassuring to know Discovery is one of the best in its class when the terrain gets tough.  

The Sd4 is the higher output version of the two 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines. It comes from Jaguar Land Rover’s family of advanced Ingenium engines and is the first to feature sequential turbo technology. Maximum power of 177kW at 4000rpm and 500Nm of torque at 1500rpm make it a strong, very comfortable cruiser with plenty in reserve for rapid passing, once you are up and rolling. Taking off, however, is not always as smooth as you might expect or like, as there tends to be a slight lag in the initial response. This can be a little annoying in stop/start traffic or when accelerating to get across an intersection. 

An official ADR fuel consumption of 6.4L/100km is impressive for a vehicle of its size. With a variety of drivers, mainly operating around the city and suburbs, our test vehicle was thirstier, averaging 9.4L/100km, but this figure is still respectable.

The verdict

The new Discovery brings a smoother look to traditional Land Rover values. Large and luxurious, it has a pleasing level of new technology but is missing features expected as standard in a vehicle of this price. Tight city streets and stop/start driving highlight its bulk. 

  • These comments are from RACV’s experienced team of vehicle testers. Check out the full range of RoyalAuto car reviews, news and other motoring information at

The Land Rover Discovery was photographed on private property.

Land Rover Discovery HSE Sd4


$96,950 + $6460 (est) ORC. Premium paint $2010/$4020. Model range $65,960-$131,871.


ESC. ABS. 6 airbags. Autonomous emergency braking. Hill descent control. Lane departure warning. Reversing camera. Front/rear visual parking aid. Auto lights/wipers. ISOFIX fittings. Front/rear fog lights.


10” touch-screen. Sat-nav. Bluetooth. Premium audio. Front/read USB ports.

Vehicle features

Seven-seater. Three-zone climate control. Leather upholstery. Eight-way powered front seats. Powered tailgate. Leather trim. LED headlights.

Driver features

Seat memory. Paddle-shifters. Folding door mirrors. Power-adjustable steering column.


Drivetrain: 1999cc 4cyl turbo-diesel engine. Four-wheel drive. 8spd auto. 177kW@4000rpm, 500Nm@1500rpm. 

Fuel: 9.4L/100km (RACV test); 6.4L/100km (govt test). 77L tank.

Wheels: 20” alloy, 225/55 20” A/T tyres. Full-size spare. 

Towing: 3500kg (braked trailer), 350kg towball limit.

Environment: 168g/km CO2.

Category ratings

Pricing:                                ✩✩✩½

Features & equipment:    ✩✩✩½

Presentation:                      ✩✩✩✩

Seating comfort:                 ✩✩✩✩

Space:                                   ✩✩✩✩

Noise:                                    ✩✩✩✩

Performance:                      ✩✩✩½

Economy:                              ✩✩✩✩

Handling & braking:           ✩✩✩½

Safety (ANCAP):                    ✩✩✩✩


24 month/34,000km services. 3yr/100,000km warranty.

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