2014 Land Rover Discovery review
* Revised Discovery driven in the UK * Tweaked looks and lower emissions * On sale now, priced from £39,990...
The Land Rover Discovery has long blended go-anywhere ability with executive car prestige and MPV practicality. However, it was starting to look a little dated compared with newer Land Rovers, so this refresh is a welcome one.
Visual changes include a new front grille and bumper, redesigned headlights, LED daytime running lights and new alloy wheel designs.
More significantly, though, the word ‘Discovery’ has replaced ‘Land Rover’ on the leading edge of the bonnet; it’s rumoured to be the first stage in a plan to turn the Discovery name into a sub-brand that encompasses several models.
Also new is stop-start technology, which improves the 3.0-litre diesel engine’s economy from 32.1mpg to 35.3mpg, while cutting CO2 emissions from 230g/km to 213g/km.
What’s more, Land Rover is offering extra equipment, including a premium Meridian sound system, T-junction cameras and wade-depth and blind-spot warning systems.
What’s the 2014 Land Rover Discovery like to drive?
Unsurprisingly, given its height, the Discovery suffers from quite a bit of body roll in bends. However, it never feels ungainly to drive, and the ride is good, aside from a bit of patter at urban speeds.
As a bonus, the Discovery remains extremely capable off-road, thanks to its massive ground clearance and clever all-terrain electronic aids.
The only engine available in the UK is the 3.0-litre diesel, and it gets the Discovery up to speed with ease, despite having to haul around the best part of three tonnes.
In fact, the only thing that can get in the way of smooth progress is the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox; it’s too eager to kick down under gentle acceleration and continually hunts for the right gear on the motorway.
Refinement is more impressive, because the Discovery is brilliant at shutting out road noise, while its engine stays smooth and quiet, even when it’s cutting in and out in stop-start traffic.
In fact, were it not for the wind noise generated at speed by the bluff windscreen and chunky door mirrors, the Discovery would be as quiet as many top-end saloons.
What’s the 2014 Land Rover Discovery like inside?
Nothing has changed here, so the cabin is solid and smart, but nowhere near as plush as the one in the new Range Rover Sport.
This also means you have to put up with a rather dated touch-screen sat-nav system that’s a stretch to reach.
Another feature that's less than easy to access is the single USB socket in the top glove box. There are some new superminis that get a pair of sockets within the centre console, so to only find one in a far less practical location is a bit of a disappointment.
Fortunately, the rest of the dashboard is simple to use and there’s a wide range of adjustment to help drivers of different sizes get comfortable.
It's practicality that really sets the Discovery apart from most rivals, though, because it's a genuine seven-seater; even those in the third-row get loads of head- and legroom.
Like other Land Rovers with air suspension, the Discovery also has a useful 'Access Height' setting that lowers the car to make it easier for passengers to clamber in when parked.
The second and third row seats also fold down to leave a flat load floor, while the tailgate is split so the lower half can double as a picnic bench or viewing platform.
Should I buy one?
The Discovery remains a superb multi-tasker; if you’re looking for a prestige SUV that can seat seven in comfort, the only thing that gets close is the far pricier Mercedes GL.
Just bear in mind that the Discovery is feeling its age inside, and the running costs – although lower than they were – are still pretty high.
For these reasons, we'd recommend people who only occasionally transport seven choose the Range Rover Sport, instead. The cheapest seven-seat version of this costs £6300 more than our favourite Discovery, but it should hold its value more and is classier and quieter, as well as being more efficient and better to drive.
What Car? says…
Land Rover Discovery
Engine size 3.0-litre diesel
Price from £39,990
Torque 443lb ft
0-60mph 8.8 seconds
Top speed 112mph
Fuel economy 35.3mpg