There is no unhappier child in the Land Rover family than the Discovery. Teased for its awkward appearance from birth, lambasted for its inability to capture the charm of its predecessor and uncomfortable in its position as a car that calls itself a Land Rover but drives more like a Range Rover – even that is not the end to its indignities. Now there is also the Defender to add to its woes, with people like me endlessly pointing out it is the true replacement for the old, beloved Disco.
When you discard sentiment and look at it as a car, the Discovery is one of the best-value premium full-size SUVs out there. And never more so than now, thanks to a suite of revisions. There are new hybridised engines, new suspension settings, better steering, an almost unbelievably improved infotainment system and external visual tweaks that sadly do little to improve its appearance.
I tried a 3-litre diesel – now a straight rather than V6 – and found myself driving a comfortable, refined and luxurious car that just happened also to be able to go places at which a mountain goat might blanch. It’s spacious, easy to operate (at last) and feels beautifully constructed.
This renewed Discovery is more like a seven-seat Range Rover than ever. A Land Rover should always retain a rugged charm, and the Disco doesn’t. A Defender is inferior in many ways, but it’s still the one I’d choose.
2021 Land Rover Discovery D300 SE statistics
- Price £56,440
- Engine 3 litres, 6 cylinders, turbocharged
- Power 296bhp at 4000rpm
- Weight 2362kg
- Power to weight 125bhp per tonne
- Transmission Eight-speed manual, four-wheel drive
- 0-60mph 6.8sec
- Top speed 130mph
- Economy 33.9mpg
- CO₂ 218g/km
- Verdict Capable car; but those looks!