2017 Land Rover Discovery

Starting MSRP: $49,990 - $73,950

Estimated MPG: 16 city / 21 hwy

2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

Off-road capability isn't paramount within the luxury SUV segment, but the 2017 Land Rover Discovery is one of the few models that's at home whether you're on the highway or trekking through remote muddy trails. That ability comes without compromise, as the Discovery also offers a refined driving experience and a spacious interior that's among the most luxurious you'll find in a three-row SUV.

By Jim Sharifi
Last Updated 08/21/2017

The Land Rover Discovery is an all-new SUV that serves as the successor to the Land Rover LR4. This luxury midsize SUV offers seating for up to seven and is sold in SE, HSE, HSE Luxury and First Edition trims.

An eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive are standard, and the Discovery is powered by a supercharged V6 engine. A turbodiesel V6 is available as an option on HSE and HSE Luxury models.

Exterior

Exterior
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The 2017 Discovery is notably sleeker than the outgoing Land Rover LR4, but it still maintains a rugged-looking exterior that communicates its impressive off-road capabilities. The Discovery has a wide, muscular stance when viewed head on, which is emphasized by a prominent front fascia. A slim upper grille is framed by sleek headlamp assemblies that house halogen headlights in the base Discovery SE. Nineteen-inch wheels and a liftgate spoiler complement the Discovery's profile, and standard puddle lights help illuminate the way into the cabin at night.

The Discovery's most polarizing angle may be from the back, where an oversized liftgate provides plenty of utility, but detracts from this SUV's visual interest. Still, the design grew on us during our week of testing.

Base models come with front and rear recovery hooks, a fixed-glass panoramic roof, automatic headlights, heated power-folding side mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a hands-free power liftgate. Exterior upgrades include 20-, 21- and 22-inch wheels, LED headlights and a power-adjustable sunroof.

Interior

Interior
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Like its uplevel Range Rover siblings, the Land Rover Discovery surrounds its occupants in a luxurious environment that's built with high-quality materials. Our test SUV featured an attractive padded dash, as well as a center stack and console that were adorned with piano-black trim. The gear selector and controls for the four-wheel-drive system are prominently located on the center console, serving as reminders to the Discovery's go-anywhere capability.

The base Discovery SE seats five, while an optional third-row increases seating capacity to seven. The driver and front-seat passenger are treated to comfortable and supportive front seats, as well as an upright seating position that offers excellent outward visibility. Passenger space is very good in the second row, though the third row is best reserved for smaller passengers.

A useful amount of cargo space enhances the Discovery's utility, at least with the third row folded. There's 45 cubic feet of room behind the second row, and lowering the second and third rows opens up a maximum of 82.7 cubic feet of space.

The Discovery comes standard with leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats and 60/40-split folding rear seats that slide and recline. Upgraded leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front seats and heated second-row seats are among the Discovery's available features.

Performance

Performance
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Composed, capable and comfortable, the 2017 Discovery treats its occupants to a rewarding experience whether they're on the highway or navigating challenging off-road trails. A supercharged 3.0-liter V6 is standard, delivering 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. That engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a four-wheel-drive system with Land Rover's Terrain Response System, which provides drive modes that are designed to optimize performance for different types of terrain.

HSE and higher trims get a two-speed transfer case with dedicated low-range gearing, which makes the Discovery even more capable should you venture off the beaten path. HSE and HSE Luxury models bring in the option for a turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6. That engine delivers 254 horsepower and an impressive 443 pound-feet of torque.

With the supercharged V6, the 2017 Discovery gets an EPA-estimated 16/21 mpg city/highway. Opt for the turbodiesel engine and fuel economy improves to 21/26 mpg.

Our test Discovery came with the supercharged V6 engine, and we were impressed with the ample power that it provides. Despite its somewhat boxy dimensions, the Discovery offers excellent highway passing power and quick acceleration from a stop. The eight-speed automatic transmission is alert in all driving situations, too, with prompt, smooth gear changes.

Handling is another strong suit for the Discovery, at least when equipped with the electronic air suspension that came standard on our HSE Luxury model. While the ride may not be as compliant as that of the larger Land Rover Range Rover, our test Discovery provided a thoroughly enjoyable driving experience, with composed handling and responsive steering. Combine those attributes with the willing supercharged V6, and the Discovery easily stands as one of the best-performing three-row SUVs in the class.

Technology

Technology
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The 2017 Discovery offers a competitive set of tech features, though Land Rover's InControl infotainment system can be a little difficult to use. There's nothing overtly wrong with the system, but we'd like to see quicker response times and on-screen menus that are a little easier to use.

An 8-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port and a 10-speaker audio system come standard on the base Discovery SE. Higher trims bring in features like navigation, a 10-inch touch screen and the choice of 10- or 16-speaker Meridian audio systems.

Safety

Safety
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The base Discovery comes with rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. A number of driver-assistance features are offered, including automatic parking, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, a driver drowsiness monitor, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and a surround-view camera system.

The Discovery has not been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, that lack of crash-test data is not unusual for an SUV in this class.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The 2017 Land Rover Discovery starts at $49,990, not including a $995 destination charge. HSE and HSE Luxury models are priced from $56,950 and $63,950, respectively, and the top-tier Discovery First Edition carries a suggested price of $73,950.

While we enjoyed the additional bells and whistles that came with our test HSE Luxury model, we think many shoppers will be well served by the slightly less expensive Discovery HSE. That trim brings in features we would want, including a Meridian audio system, navigation and the upgraded infotainment system with a 10-inch screen. The HSE trim also brings in the diesel engine option and a standard two-speed transfer case, which provides some additional capability if you venture off the beaten path.

Overall

Overall
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Buyers who want a three-row luxury SUV have some compelling choices, including the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and the recently redesigned Audi Q7. The Land Rover Discovery is a fully competitive entry in this segment, offering exceptional driving dynamics, plenty of interior space and exemplary fit and finish. The ace up the Discovery's sleeve, however, is that it also offers off-road performance that none of its competitors can match.

We think the new Discovery occupies the sweet spot within the Land Rover lineup, providing buyers with the opulence and capability you'll find on the Range Rover Sport, but at a significantly lower starting price.