The release of a new Land Rover is always exciting because of what you know and what you don't know. You know that the new vehicle will combine the best of British luxury and world-class go-anywhere 4-wheel-drive capability, but you don't know exactly what new technology and equipment the Land Rover engineers will offer this time around.
The all-new 2017 Land Rover Discovery is a perfect example. The Discovery badge goes back to 1989, and has always represented a more affordable full-size Rover than the top-of-the-line Range Rover. That tradition continues with the new model, as the Discovery offers all the luxury and 4WD chops of the Range Rover Sport, including the same compact rear suspension design that gives both vehicles an excellent on-road ride as well as extra interior space for seven adults.
Land Rover offers two 3.0-liter V6 engine options with the Discovery. There's a supercharged gasoline engine at 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque and a turbocharged diesel engine at 254 horsepower and 443 pound-feet. Both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with Land Rover's legendary 4WD. Buyers can choose from a single-range 4WD system or a dual-range system for more serious off-road use.
Both 4WD systems include Land Rover's Terrain Response system, which allows you to optimize performance for general driving; grass, gravel and snow; mud and ruts; sand; and even rock crawling if you have the dual-range 4WD option. You also get All Terrain Progress Control, which allows you to set a slow speed and let the Rover figure out how to get you moving. One final note on the off-road capability — the Discovery uses an air suspension that will raise the vehicle by three inches for off-road use.
Inside, the new Discovery is every bit as nice as any luxury SUV on the market. Notable features include stadium seating, which means each row of seats is higher than the preceding row. This allows everyone to see out the windshield and reduces car sickness. There's also amazing storage capacity in a variety of cubbies and bins, and lots of window space to let in natural light. And of course you get leather, heated seats in all three rows, and a great sound and entertainment system, including second-row video screens. The seats fold and unfold at the touch of a button.
On-road or off, the Discovery drives as well as any SUV on the market. There's plenty of engine power and great handling. In the event you find yourself in a tough off-road situation, the Rover has the ability to make you look like you know what you're doing. There's really no other SUV that can match the Discovery package at this price point.
2017 Land Rover Discovery
Base price: $50,985
Price as tested: $59,945
Type: Full-Size SUV
Engine: 3.0-liter Supercharged V6 (340 hp, 332 lbs-ft) or Turbo-Diesel (254 hp, 443 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 16/21 (gas) or 21/26 (diesel)
Road noise: Very Quiet
Curb weight: 4,916 pounds
Final assembly: Solihull, England