Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
You might imagine a 2.0-litre diesel would struggle in a car as big and heavy as the Discovery, but the entry-level engine (badged Sd4) delivers surprisingly adequate performance. True, there is a bit of a pause between you pressing the accelerator and the car surging forward but, once into its stride, speed builds steadily enough.
The 3.0-litre V6 diesel (called the Sd6) isn’t ultimately that much faster, but pulls harder at low revs and delivers power more smoothly. We reckon it's well worth the relatively small price premium, even though it still doesn’t deliver the sort of hot hatch-rivalling acceleration you’ll experience in, say, an Audi Q7 50 TDI.
There’s also a 2.0-litre petrol called the Si4. With 296bhp, this engine delivers surprisingly decent straight-line performance, too: Land Rover claims an official 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds. However, the fact you need to rev this engine much harder than the diesels makes it feel less appropriate for a big SUV than the diesels.
Suspension and ride comfort
The standard air suspension delivers a reasonably smooth ride. The Discovery is particularly comfortable at motorway speeds, wafting over undulations like a jumbo jet running into very mild turbulence.
However, it’s not as comfortable as many rivals, in particular the Q7, around town. In fact, the Disco stumbles over imperfections a bit like a tottering toddler, with every impact sending subtle but noticeable shudders through the body.
The Discovery isn't geared towards sporty handling. You can steer the car through corners with confidence at reasonable speeds without feeling as though you’re about to tip over, but it never feels as eager to change direction as a Q7 or BMW X5 and leans more when it does. Ultimately, through tight twists and turns the Discovery feels somewhat cumbersome.
The steering is slow, too, so getting around corners in town requires plenty of arm work. The Discovery isn't the ideal city car, then, but it is among the very best at tackling rough terrain. It’ll confidently explore where rivals fear to tread, thanks to class-leading ground clearance of 283mm, a wading depth of 900mm (also best in class) and a multitude of clever electronics.
All-Terrain Progress Control is available as part of the Advanced Off-road Capability Pack (an option on all trims apart from entry-level S). In effect, it's a cruise control for off-roading and works at speeds of up to 19mph.
Noise and vibration
Although the 2.0-litre diesel engine is a bit vocal when you’re accelerating hard, you don't hear much from it at a steady cruise. The 3.0-litre diesel offers more serenity, though, and the 2.0-litre four cylinder petrol is smoother still. None of the engines transmit too many vibrations through the steering wheel or the soles of your feet, but the engines in the Q7 and X5 are even smoother.
Previous incarnations of the Discovery sliced through the air about as well as a double-decker bus. This latest version is hardly a masterclass in streamlining either, so there's more wind noise than in rivals such as the Q7 and Mercedes GLE. However, there isn't much road noise, so you won't need to shout to communicate with your passengers.