by Brent Romans, Senior Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
Expectation: Land Rover’s website grandly displays pictures of its Discovery charging across majestic rocky terrain in search of adventure and fun.
Reality: I can personally attest to doing little more in our 2017 Discovery this month than driving to work and taking my kids to school while listening to sports talk radio sipping a Starbucks flat white. Adventure is all about where you find it, I guess.
Still, as an urban adventure vehicle, the Discovery works out well. Here’s the latest report on what we love and what we don’t.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We drove about 1,300 miles in February. Since we largely stuck to city driving, our fuel economy was a rather underwhelming 15.4 mpg. You’re not buying a Discovery to help offset global warming, that’s for sure.
Average lifetime mpg: 16.9
EPA mpg rating: 18 combined (16 city/21 highway)
Best fill mpg: 21.3
Best range: 449.9 miles
Current odometer: 10,309 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
“It’s not a straight apples-to-apples comparison, but I’m shocked at the number of features and the materials quality of the Discovery versus our long-term 2017 Jaguar F-Pace. Though it feels powerful, looks fantastic and has lovely seats, the F-Pace’s interior is underwhelming. Cabin design is fine, but there are a lot of hard touch points in a car of that price. Even the soft-touch plastics don’t really feel all that nice.
“The Discovery, on the other hand, looks every bit its price tag. You pay more for it — our Discovery First Edition rings in at $76,843 versus the F-Pace’s $62,325 — but you get a lot more: a leather-trimmed dash, silver aluminum trim, a cooler up front (which works really well), nicer upholstery, a third row and real off-road ability. Even if you selected a model closer to the F-Pace’s price, the Discovery would be a more inviting place to live. Bottom line: The Discovery’s luxurious cabin justifies its high price tag.” — Cameron Rogers
“The interior armrest and door grab panel for the driver’s door don’t have the solid feel I’d hope for in a luxury SUV. The armrest’s padded of course, but the underlying structure is oddly flexible. You can kind of wiggle it around a bit by pulling or pushing on it. And if it’s cold outside, it creaks when you pull on it to shut the door after getting inside. It just brings up memories of Land Rover’s dubious reputation for quality and reliability, whether or not it’s actually true.” — Brent Romans, senior editor
“In an otherwise upscale interior, I don’t understand why the center armrest hinge isn’t damped in some way. Closing and opening it require deliberate effort to avoid it slamming shut. I’d even settle for some rubber bumpers.” — Jonathan Elfalan, road test manager
“Our Discovery feels stable and solid when driving around turns. It’s more stable than I would have thought given the Disco’s reputation for axle-flexing, off-road ability. It doesn’t hurt that our test car has the optional 22-inch wheels. Those skinny tire sidewalls no doubt sharpen on-road handling. It also has the air suspension, which could additionally be playing a positive role. Don’t get me wrong: This isn’t sporty like a Porsche Cayenne. It’s still a big and heavy SUV. Still, if you need to make a quick swerve, the Discovery should respond responsibly.” — Brent Romans, senior editor
“I like the Discovery’s gas pedal calibration. In some cars, they make the gas pedal respond quickly as soon as you start to press on it, perhaps to give the impression that there’s a lot of power when there might not be. Not so here. The Discovery’s supercharged V6 is smooth and natural. It’s easy to get just the right amount of acceleration. Maybe it’s because Land Rover knows that having a smooth, responsive gas pedal is important when off-roading. Whatever the reason, I like it.” — Cameron Rogers, staff writer
“Our Land Rover Discovery has 22-inch wheels. Twenty-twos, optional from the factory! No need to pimp this ride. The upside: They look great! The downside: The ride quality is far from smooth. Drive over a pothole and the Disco’s skinny tire sidewalls just can’t absorb it all. The resulting clomps and shocks enter the cabin in a very unluxurious fashion. I can’t imagine going off-road with these wheels either. The Discovery’s 19- or 20-inch standard wheels seem like wholly better choices.” — Brent Romans
“My favorite feature by far in our Discovery is the one that allows you to fold and unfold the second- and third-row seats electronically right from the infotainment touchscreen. I know some of my co-workers have complained about how it can be confusing trying to get the seats to work using the physical buttons mounted in back. I think it’s better using the touchscreen. As someone who folds seats on a regular basis, it is one convenience that genuinely improves my quality of life.” — Jonathan Elfalan
“The filaments in the heated windshield are annoying enough in the day, but only really in a ‘once you see it you can’t unsee it’ way. At night, however, they create a flare effect around light sources that’s downright unacceptable to me. It’s a constant, inescapable intrusion and visual distraction. You can see in the picture: That’s a freshly cleaned windscreen creating that effect.” — Will Kaufman, associate staff writer