- We like...Superb space, driving ability
- We don't...High CO2 output
Big seven-seat 4x4 may draw flak from the Green lobby, but it's a wonder, on- or off-road and a great all-rounder
Land Rovers take quite a beating from the anti-4x4, eco-brigade. Which, for the Discovery, is unfair. They focus on its admittedly high CO2 exhaust output – but ignore what else it can do. For not only is the Disco as smooth and as soothing to drive as the best executive saloons - a BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-class - it’ll also seat seven.
And we haven’t even begun to bang on about what a fantastically agile, reliable friend it’ll be whenever you need to traverse a muddy field or forest track.
First things first, though. Because of its height and squared-off styling, this feels a big car. Perched behind its big wheel, you’ll feel a long way from its corners, unless you’ve previously driven something as big or as high. In truth, it’s no longer than a BMW 5-series saloon, shorter than a Mercedes E-class and only 12-15cms wider than either.
What’s more, its flat, chunky bonnet and sawn-off tail make it easiest of the three to place on the road. It is, however, a very heavy car, tipping in at 2494-2718kg, depending on set-up. But its 2.7-litre V6 turbodiesel makes light work of hauling it. Get-go from a standstill is impressive and this punchy unit glides the car around serenely.Its CO2 output of 270g/km (with auto gearbox) won’t win friends among the green lobby and will ramp up your tax bill if yours is a company car. But its fuel consumption of up to 33.2mpg overall is good for such a monster.
Height-adjustable air suspension delivers a remarkably fluid, absorbent ride but keeps the body neatly under control should you hoon into a bend more quickly than you’d meant to. A big dial between the seats allows you to set the suspension according to the work you expect the Disco to do. If it’s a trip through snow, you point it to the snowflake icon, and so on. A big yellow button works the hill descent control, which enables the car to inch safely down a steep, muddy hillside.
Inside it’s simply huge, a feeling boosted by its big windows and twin glassed roofs. There’s good space for seven grown-ups. The rearmost pair of seats occupy nearly all the boot space when in use but they are comfy for adults and drop neatly into the floor until needed.
The cabin feels high-status but utility, its big chunky dials and sturdy fittings underlining its purpose. Our car is the top-spec model, the HSE and as you’d expect, it’s kitted to the max: the leather seats and sat-nav come as standard. Out back, the split tailgate is great to pop open and drop in shopping, while the lower section, when dropped, makes a terrific picnic table, or place to sit while pulling on walking boots.
Second-hand, such is the Disco’s image and popularity that the current Discovery 3 continues to command steep-ish prices, although the occasional petrol-engined examples that crop up among the classifieds are way cheaper than any with diesel power.
New or used, it’s an exceptional car, to drive and to live with. If you need seven seats, it’s one of the best: but even if you don’t, it is marvellously comfortable, smooth and quiet.
- Engines2.7 V6 turbodiesel
- 0-60 mph11.0sec
- Economy33.2mpg (a
- Insurance groups14
Motors.co.uk value verdict: