For the first time, Land Rovers venerable Discovery arrives as a unibody crossover rather than a body-on-frame SUV. This mid-size premium offering shares its platform with the Range Rover Sport and the full-size Range Rover. The new 2018 Discovery is placed just above the Discovery Sport in the Land Rover lineup, starting at a base $61,500 in Canada. For the premium price, buyers gain high quality, luxury SUV with stellar off-road performance and over 60 years of world-famous British pedigree heritage. Available with either a V6 gas engine or a diesel, for now, no hybrid or plug-in electric offering as yet is available. But, this is sure to change as hybrids of some kind ease into the Range Rovers family in the future.
We tested the diesel-powered 2018 HSE TD6 which starts at $70,500. And $77,000 for the Luxury version, respectively. The interior of the Discovery is as expected – a premium pleasure center of sumptuous leather, metal details, and high-quality materials. Models feature a very nice soft open-pore wood accents throughout the cabin and a piano black lacquer finish on the center stack. Land Rovers new InControl Touch Pro system makes itself known via a 10.2” touchscreen, featuring a bevy of touch controls. Equipment and luxury are very high. The HSE Luxury ($77,000) adds standard features such as the two-speed transfer box, 20” wheels, Windsor leather seats (power 16-way front seats), three-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, air suspension, a powered third-row seat, and the fantastic sounding 825W Meridian audiophile quality stereo.
The driving position is always good in Discovery models thanks to a tall upright cabin. There is lots of room in every direction in the first two rows. The third row, as usual, is mostly for kids or adults on short journeys. A panoramic sunroof offers a bright, sunny ambiance to the cabin. The Td6 engine is a 3.0L V6 with 254 horsepower at 3,750RPM and 443 lb-ft. Of torque at 1,750RPM. The engine is a torque centric motor but feels way more refined than and as smooth as the non-diesel engines in the Land Rover line up. The drivetrain is, of course, exceptional with Land Rovers 8-speed transmission, All-Wheel-Drive and all the associated hardware such as air suspension. There is the Terrain Response 2 system with a two-speed transfer case, and adjustable parameters for the four-wheel-drive system, throttle, and transmission mapping. The Terrain Response knob can be preset for conditions such as Rock Crawl, grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud, and Sand. The Discovery can also wade through a river up to 35.4 inches deep. With its 34-degree approach and 30-degree departure angles, the Discovery is pretty much unstoppable on any terrain.
On-road, the Discovery feels stable and well-planted thanks to its four-corner air suspension and excellent body control management systems. The diesel does have a muted unmistakable diesel clatter, but it is not intrusive like the diesel of old. The V6 provides excellent passing power on the highways and proceeds to be docile and refined in the mid-range around town. The 8-speed transmission is a smooth shifting unit that is well paired with the diesel. The steering is well weighted, more to the neutral, than sport-tuned and offers excellent reflexes. There is a tiny bit of roll on fast cornering – to be expected, given the tall, narrow profile, but nothing to get concerned over. The Discovery Td6 is a satisfying fuel miser as well. We managed an outstanding average fuel economy fuel figure of 9.8 L/100km – in our week with the Discovery. Very impressive considering the hefty weight and blunt, upright, tall. Boxy body. Paying the extra $2000 for the diesel is well worth it in my opinion.
To sum up, the Discovery offers incredible good looks that will make everyone stop and stare but also backs it up with phenomenal off-road performance, and a high fuel torque happy, efficient diesel engine. With a versatile seven-seater format, high luxury quotient and a reputation that’s hard to beat, the Land Rover Discovery is well worth considering if you want something with pedigree and character.
2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE Td6 priced from $61,500- $77,000