Reviews

2017 Land Rover Discovery Driving Impressions


Both engines and the ZF-supplied transmission perform brilliantly. The gasoline engine provides smooth acceleration and bountiful passing power, but rumbles even more than the diesel when idling. Passengers probably won’t hear the diesel engine, but its clatter is noticeable when outside. Diesel torque output peaks at low engine speed, and the driver can feel a refined power burst.

Whether on-pavement or off-road, handling can most accurately be described as phenomenal, made possible by accurate electronic power steering. Few vehicles approach the Discovery’s masterful balance of on- and off-road capabilities. Ride comfort ranks as glorious. The air suspension (if installed) simply smothers modest pavement flaws, while subduing sizable potholes with minimal notice to passengers.

Land Rover offers a number of valuable off-road features, but most of them cost extra. That height-adjustable air suspension is best for serious off-roading. Touching a button increases the regular 11.1-inch ground clearance to 12.8 inches. Water-fording depth reaches 35.4 inches. Approach and departure angles also expand.

Discovery SE and HSE models have a single-speed transfer case. A two-speed unit is available for more severe duties. Choosing Terrain Response 2 adds a batch of traction-control modes, including a helpful automatic setting.

For a vehicle that can approach 5,000 pounds, the Discovery is almost thrifty, especially with diesel power. Partial credit goes to switching from a boxy body, losing nearly 1,000 pounds in the process. The gasoline V6 is EPA-rated at 16/21 mpg City/Highway, or 18 mpg Combined. The turbodiesel is rated at 21/26 mpg City/Highway, or 23 mpg Combined. A start/stop system shuts the engine off at stoplights.

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