The Land Rover Discovery has a rich heritage. It was one of the first proper family vehicles that could tow and take on an overland adventure without breaking a sweat.
But in a quest to take the Discovery more upmarket, Land Rover started playing with the design and gradually increasing the price. It’s also fitted more powerful engines and new-age technology to keep up.
In today’s day and age, is the Discovery still true to its original goal? It it a family vehicle that can take on an overland adventure?
I hopped behind the wheel of the 2022 Land Rover Discovery P360 R-Dynamic S (yep, quite a mouthful) to see if it was any good.
We reviewed what is technically the 2022 Land Rover Discovery. Buyers who purchase a car today will receive the MY23 vehicle with minor changes to the vehicle we tested.
Pricing now starts at $103,915 before on-road costs for the entry-level Discovery D300 S.
To compensate for this price hike, Land Rover is making a wireless charging pad standard across the range, along with its clever, wearable Activity Key which you can use to lock and unlock the doors. It’s also adding a standard black contrast roof on R-Dynamic variants.
This 2023 line-up continues the recently simplified, repositioned model line-up with more standard equipment and fewer options.
Every Discovery model has an inline-six powertrain, either turbo-petrol or twin-turbo diesel, with a 48V mild-hybrid system.
A Jaguar Land Rover spokesperson said these 2023 Discovery models will arrive on Australian soil from April 2022.
Land Rover Discovery pricing (MY23):
- Land Rover Discovery D300 S: $103,915 (+$2040)
- Land Rover Discovery D300 R-Dynamic S: $110,845 (+$3670)
- Land Rover Discovery P360 R-Dynamic S: $110,845 (+$3670)
- Land Rover Discovery D300 SE: $110,235 (+$2160)
- Land Rover Discovery D300 R-Dynamic SE: $117,165 (+$3790)
- Land Rover Discovery P360 R-Dynamic SE: $117,165 (+$3790)
- Land Rover Discovery D300 R-Dynamic HSE: $124,510 (+$3935)
- Land Rover Discovery P360 R-Dynamic HSE: $124,510 (+$3935)
Discovery S highlights:
- 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in all-terrain tyres
- Single-speed transfer box (high range only)
- Electronic air suspension
- Adaptive dampers
- ‘Terrain Response’ selectable drive modes
- 11.4-inch ‘Pivi Pro’ touchscreen infotainment system
- Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- DAB digital radio
- Digital instrument cluster
- Wireless charging pad (NEW)
- Online pack with data plan
- Automatic LED headlights
- Rear fog light
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Heated and electrically-folding side mirrors with memory, puddle lights and auto-dimming driver’s side mirror
- Fixed dual-pane panoramic sunroof
- Keyless entry
- Activity Key (NEW)
- Dual-zone climate control
- Power tailgate
- ‘Ebony DuoLeather’ upholstery
- Gloss black trim finish
- 14-way electrically adjustable front seats with armrests
Discovery R-Dynamic SE adds:
- 20-inch satin dark grey alloy wheels
- Front fog lights
- Darkened LED tail lights
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
- ‘Light Oyster/Ebony Duo’ leather upholstery with ‘Light Oyster’ stitching
- ‘Shadow Aluminium’ trim finish
- Metal treadplates with R-Dynamic
Discovery SE adds:
- ‘Premium LED’ headlights with auto-levelling
- Auto high-beam
- Sequential indicators
- 21-inch alloy wheels
- 18-way electrically-adjustable front seats with memory
- 12-speaker 400W Meridian sound system
Discovery R-Dynamic SE gains:
- 21-inch gloss dark grey alloy wheels
Discovery R-Dynamic HSE adds:
- 22-inch gloss dark grey alloy wheels
- Matrix LED headlights
- Leather steering wheel
- ‘Premium’ cabin lighting
- Electrically-adjustable steering column
- 20-way electrically-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats with memory
- 14-speaker 700W Meridian sound system
If you want to get a more detailed look at the options and pricing for those options, check out our 2023 Land Rover Discovery pricing and specifications story.
The Land Rover Discovery wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating, based on tests conducted in 2017.
It received an adult occupant protection score of 90 per cent, a child occupant protection score of 80 per cent, a pedestrian protection score of 75 per cent, and a safety assist score of 73 per cent.
The 2023 Land Rover Discovery comes standard with:
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane-keep assist
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Safe-exit warning
- Rear pre-collision warning
- Traffic sign recognition with adaptive speed limiter
- Driver attention monitoring
- Surround view cameras
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Front, front-side and curtain airbags
There’s little to dislike about the Discovery’s interior. It’s big and spacious and, prior to this latest update, you could only really take issue with the infotainment system.
It was a hangover from JLR’s older products and was really a point of frustration with operating the vehicle.
That changes with the inclusion of an 11.4-inch infotainment system Land Rover calls Pivi Pro. The curved screen sits proudly within the dashboard and is a quantum leap forward from the previous generation InControl Touch Pro system.
It fires up as your bum hits the seat, and allows over 40 control modules to be updated over-the-air. For example: Land Rover will roll out an update to the system in coming months that adds wireless smartphone mirroring, a feature that normally would require a hardware update.
It also fixes the painful wait for the system to load before the owner could enter a navigation destination by booting up faster. Jaguar Land Rover has announced Alexa is now integrated into the Pivi Pro infotainment system for cloud commands and home control from the vehicle.
Outside of its fast operation, the infotainment system is easy to use and one of the best implementations of a big screen on the market today.
Directly beneath the infotainment screen is a cluster of dials for the climate control. It’s disappointing Land Rover went with a big block of piano black for this bottom section. It hides a cubby hole once it folds down that allows you to conceal valuables.
In terms of material fit and finish, Land Rover has employed similar rugged fabrics and materials throughout the cabin to the new Defender. It’s hard to describe because they look premium, but when you touch or stroke them they have a rugged feel. It’s like the materials are built to withstand a battering and deal with mud and scuffs.
The Discovery really shines when it comes to room inside the cabin. Up front there’s a heap of room, as you’d expect with a big SUV like this. But it’s the second row where it really begins to shine. There’s plenty of leg- and headroom for taller adults, and the second row can move forwards and backwards to afford more room for the third row.
Our vehicle had the optional tri-zone climate control fitted, which added proper temperature controls for the second row.
Seating for kids comes in the form of ISOFIX points on the two outboard second row seats and two ISOFIX points in the third row. Additionally, there are four top-tether points (two in the second row, two in the third).
The third row is what sets the Discovery apart from others in the segment. Adults can comfortably fit back there, especially with the second row moved forward slightly. It’s also fairly easy for adults to climb into the third row through the second row doors.
While you’re in the third row you’ll find storage bins on either side with USB connectivity. What you won’t find is any air vents – but on the positive side, the third row is fully covered by side airbags unlike some vehicles in the segment.
Cargo capacity comes in at 258 litres behind the third row, more than some of the vehicles in the segment and enough to store a small amount when the third row is in place.
Dropping the third row increases the space to 1137 litres and then folding the second row flat increases the space again to 2391 litres. It’s a big space, and the seating arrangement makes it versatile for carrying things if you don’t have any passengers on board.
It’s worth noting our vehicle was optionally fitted with an electrically folding third row, a worthwhile $900 investment if you’re buying one of these.
Land Rover has stepped up the engine game in the Discovery by introducing a set of mild-hybrid options.
The 2023 Land Rover Discovery has a choice of two inline six-cylinder engines, with one petrol option designated as P360 and a diesel option designated as D300.
D300 variants use a 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbocharged diesel with 48V mild-hybrid technology, developing 221kW of power and 650Nm of torque.
P360 variants (like our tester) are powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six turbocharged petrol engine, also with a 48V mild-hybrid system, which produces 265kW and 500Nm.
All models are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four wheels through an all-wheel drive system.
Our test vehicle was the P360 variant. During our time with the car, it averaged around 11 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle. According to Land Rover, the official fuel economy figure comes in at 9.2L/100km.
Without a doubt, the new mild-hybrid drivetrain for Land Rover is one of my favourites at the moment. It reminds me of the turbocharged inline six-cylinder engines we used to get locally in the Ford Falcon.
They’re smooth, sonorous, and have a meaty punch of torque when you need it.
This mild-hybrid engine system uses an integrated starter/generator designed to offer imperceptible stop/start, and to allow the vehicle to switch off while it’s still moving under low engine load. The 48V system runs ancillary devices, while the internal-combustion engine is turned off to save fuel.
The engine also uses an electric supercharger driven by a 7kW motor, which creates an increase in air pressure within the turbocharger before there’s exhaust gases driving it. It means there’s a reduction in turbo lag between throttle application and the feeling of torque.
It’s all mated to an eight-speed torque converter automatic that smooths out gear shifts and offers little fuss at low speeds in comparison to a dual-clutch transmission.
That smoothness is backed up by a silky ride enabled by adaptive damping and air suspension. The combination delivers excellent ride compliance on smooth city and choppy country roads.
Part of that is also thanks to the 55-profile tyres on 20-inch alloy wheels. They provide that extra layer of bump absorbsion you just don’t get with sportier rubber.
If you’ve driven an older Discovery you’ll know there is a unique driving position that gives you a commanding view over the road, while also cocooning you within the car. It’s the same story here with the Discovery 5. There’s a space to rest your arm on the window and excellent visibility out the front and sides.
Rearward visibility can be a little compromised when the third row is in place due to the height of the headrests and stadium seating setup.
Like the Defender, if you switch the drive mode to Dynamic, the Discovery is surprisingly agile. It’s an SUV weighing in at a little over 2400kg, there’s no escaping that, but when it’s driven hard on sweeping bends and fast stretches of road it feels like a much smaller SUV. It’s hard to explain.
Road noise and tyre noise suppression is excellent with little wind noise from the decently-sized wing mirrors. It really is difficult to fault as an all-encompassing family vehicle.
In a straight line it’s quick enough, with the 0-100km/h dash taking 6.5 seconds according to Land Rover. While the claimed fuel economy of 9.2L/100km sounds good, it’s hard to hit that figure with just city driving. It’ll creep up over 13L/100km if you’re exclusively around the city.
But once you throw in some highway driving it comes down closer to the 11L/100km mark.
Off the beaten track is where the Discovery is built to shine, especially compared to most luxury SUVs. It comes with a 3500kg braked towing capacity, plus ground clearance of 253mm. Off-road dimensions are 26 degree approach, 24.8 degree departure, 900mm wading, 21.2 degree break over angle, and there’s a low-range transfer case.
If none of that makes any sense to you, you can check out an article and video we produced a little while back explaining the basics.
In addition to those items, there’s a centre differential lock and an optional rear differential lock. I’d tick that $1100 box if you’re doing any serious off-road driving.
Off-road it’s hard to match the technology Land Rover employs. There’s simple mode selection using Terrain Response to meet the conditions. The system will then either increase the ride height or lock differentials (or both), and then tailor the stability and traction control to suit.
It’s the perfect system for a novice who just wants to set and forget their four-wheel drive mode. We certainly didn’t punish it off-road, but it was able to do some incredible things just as a stock vehicle on a basic off-road course.
The Land Rover Discovery is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, which also covers the paint, while the bodywork is covered for corrosion for six years.
2023 Discovery models, like every Land Rover vehicle purchased new in Australia, have a complimentary roadside assist program that runs for the life of the warranty.
D300 variants have a five-year/130,000km servicing plan that costs $2650, whereas P360 variants have a five-year/102,000km servicing plan that costs $2250.
I think this is the perfect specification for the Land Rover Discovery. There wasn’t a great deal missing from this spec and after ticking a few option boxes you can land on the right mix without having to spend huge dollars further up the range.
I’m also a big fan of this drivetrain. It delivers a nice balance between performance and off-road ability. It’s let down by fuel use though. Despite being a mild-hybrid drivetrain, it still uses a lot of fuel and it could be worth looking at the diesel as an alternative if you’re conscious of your fuel bill.
I can also happily report the Discovery is now more appealing than ever as an all-round family vehicle. It tows, drives off-road and can seat seven adults in comfort; it really doesn’t put a foot wrong.
Land Rover now also offers a five-year warranty and prepaid service plans for surety in running costs. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better vehicle than this to deliver the core needs of a family that loves being outside in the great outdoors.
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