New Land Rover Discovery Sport & Mercedes GLC vs Audi Q5

The Land Rover Discovery Sport lost its seat to the Audi Q5 in the 2017 election of posh large SUVs. Can it regain its place with major changes of policy? A previous outsider with a similar plan...

Audi Q5 back seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

It’s the Mercedes GLC that has the most head room for exceptionally tall drivers, and its driver’s seat goes back the furthest. The Audi Q5 isn’t far off, but the Land Rover Discovery Sport with an optional sunroof (£1100) has the lowest roofline. Still, even a six-footer is in no danger of messing up their hair. Each has plentiful storage up front and big, secure cupholders.

Land Rover Discovery Sport rear seats

For those with flamingo-like friends, it’s the Discovery Sport that has the most rear leg room and the GLC the least, while the GLC has the most head room and the Q5 the least. It’s worth pointing out that the GLC’s rear seats are the least comfortable, but a six-footer sitting behind another will have room to spare in any of these cars.

Every rear bench can be folded down from the boot – via electric switches in the GLC and Discovery Sport or manual levers in the Q5. While the GLC has a useful 40/20/40 split, those seats don’t slide or recline. The Q5 gets the same split as standard, but you can upgrade to a sliding and reclining bench for £350. The Discovery Sport wins by having a three-piece sliding-and-reclining rear bench as standard, as well as a third row of seats. Head room is tight way back there, but leg room isn’t bad. Admittedly, shallow footwells will stop adults from wanting to stay there for long, but these extra seats could come in very handy.

Mercedes GLC rear

You can fit seven carry-on suitcases beneath the tonneau cover of the Mercedes GLC, but it also has a vast underfloor storage area. The Land Rover Discovery Sport goes one better with eight cases, while neither has a lip that you must lift items over. The Audi Q5 wins with nine cases, even if it does have a bit of a lip. 

Audi Q5

Audi Q5 boot

Optional sliding and reclining rear bench lets you prioritise boot space or rear passenger comfort. The seats lie level with the boot floor when folded, but there’s no real underfloor storage space.

Boot 550-1550 litres Suitcases 9

Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover Discovery Sport boot

There’s no lip to lug heavy items over here. Sliding second row has more range than Q5’s, but access to the third row is still tight, and there’s nowhere for the load cover with those seats in place.

Boot na-1651 litres Suitcases 8

Mercedes GLC

Mercedes GLC boot

The GLC’s rear seatbacks are spring-loaded, so they fold down as soon as you press the release switches; you have to give the benches in the other two cars a shove before they’ll fold flat.

Boot 500-1400 litres Suitcases 7

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