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Land Rover Discovery 2022 review: D300 off-road test

Daily driver score

4/5

Adventure score

4/5

The Land Rover Discovery is a bit of a classic with 4WDers – and while it’s never attracted a massive and passionate fanbase like its hard-core stablemate, the Defender, it’s done okay for itself.

There used to be a clear distinction between the Discovery and the Defender. The Discovery was always your Landie of choice if you were after a luxurious smooth-riding 4WD, while the Defender was a gruff, rough-riding, hard-core adventure machine.

Read More about the Discovery

The Land Rover Discovery is a bit of a classic with 4WDers. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The Land Rover Discovery is a bit of a classic with 4WDers. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Well, with the new Defender being so refined, so well-appointed, so comfortable and so nice to drive – it’s almost like a Discovery in disguise – is the 22MY Discovery even relevant any more? 

More importantly, does it make sense as your next seven-seat 4WD wagon?

Read on.

The Discovery is a luxurious smooth-riding 4WD. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The Discovery is a luxurious smooth-riding 4WD. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

For reference, this Discovery D300 S has a price-tag of $101,875* (plus on road costs).

As standard, the seven-seat Discovery’s list of features is considerable, as it should be at this price-point, and includes a 11.4-inch Pivi Pro multi-media touchscreen (like an all-in-one vehicle operating system, but more about it later), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, fixed sunroofs, 3D Surround Camera, height-adjustable air suspension, 20-inch five-split-spoke, gloss silver wheels, and a whole lot of driver-assist tech.

The Discovery includes a 11.4-inch Pivi Pro multi-media touchscreen. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The Discovery includes a 11.4-inch Pivi Pro multi-media touchscreen. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

There are also plenty of optional features available, which obviously push the price up the more you add to your Disco.

Our test vehicle was equipped with a stack of those extras and, because of that, its price-tag was $110,910* (plus on-road costs). (Prices correct at time of writing.)

The interior has a real premium feel about it. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The interior has a real premium feel about it. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Optional features on our test vehicle include Advanced Off-Road Capability Pack ($3970, twin-speed transfer box (high/low range), All Terrain Progress Control, Terrain Response 2, Configurable Terrain Response; Active Rear Locking Differential $1110; Tow hitch receiver $1000; Leisure Activity Key $960; Black Roof Rails $940; Privacy glass $920; Premium carpet mats $640; and wireless device charging $455.

By the way, the Discovery is available in a variety of colours including Fuji White, which is on our test vehicle, as well as versions of black, blue, grey and silver.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

As always, I’ll avoid waxing lyrical about the styling of a vehicle – suffice to say, it looks good.

The Discovery is a good looking unit. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The Discovery is a good looking unit. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

In terms of dimensions, this Discovery is 4956mm long (with a 2923mm wheelbase), 2220mm wide and 1888mm high.

It has a listed kerb weight of 2437kg.

This Discovery is 4956mm long. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) This Discovery is 4956mm long. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?

The Discovery has a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel engine – producing 220kW at 4000rpm and a whopping 650Nm at 1500-2500rpm – working with a mild hybrid system. 

The Discovery has a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel engine. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The Discovery has a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel engine. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Those impressive power and torque figures don’t tell the whole story of just how well the Disco’s engine is able to punch this big unit along the road at a comfortable clip and – bonus – its chunk of torque, useable across a decent rev range, comes in very handy when off-roading.

It has an eight-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system.

How practical is the space inside?

The interior has a real premium feel about it, but it still serves as a very practical space.

There is 258 litres cargo space with all rows in use. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) There is 258 litres cargo space with all rows in use. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

In terms of cargo space, there is 2391 litres with the second and third row stowed away; 1137 litres with the third row stowed away; and 258 litres with all rows in use.

With the third row stowed away, cargo space comes in at 1137 litres. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) With the third row stowed away, cargo space comes in at 1137 litres. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

The third-row seats can be either manually folded down into the floor to use that area as cargo space, or lifted up into a seating position.

Third-row seats can be manually folded down into the floor. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) Third-row seats can be manually folded down into the floor. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

There is a load-space cover, light, luggage tie-downs, bag hook and 12v in the rear, and two USB charging sockets for the third-row passengers.

The second row is a 60:40 electric-folding set-up with manual slide and powered recline, centre headrest and armrest, as well as map pockets, and door-moulded recesses. Second-row passengers get two USB C and one USB A charging points, air vents, air-con controls and more.

The second row is a 60:40 electric-folding set-up. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The second row is a 60:40 electric-folding set-up. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

The front seats are 14-way electrically-adjustable with captain’s armrest, grained leather seat facings with Ebony interior; the Pivi Pro 11.4-inch touchscreen with digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; as well as one USB A and three USB C points.

The front seats are 14-way electrically-adjustable. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The front seats are 14-way electrically-adjustable. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

The Discovery has a fixed front and rear panoramic roof.

Featuring a panoramic roof. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) Featuring a panoramic roof. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

What's it like as a daily driver? 

The Discovery is very impressive on-road. No surprise really as it has always had a reputation as a comfortable on-road cruiser – and it's lost nothing in this latest iteration. 

It is a smooth driving experience: quiet, refined and you suffer little to no noise from outside intruding into the cabin. 

The seats are very comfortable and supportive, and that makes it perfect for long-distance trips. 

The Discovery is very impressive on-road. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The Discovery is very impressive on-road. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

The straight-six engine and eight speed auto are a nice combination, quietly effective, and well-managed. 

Acceleration is good with sharp throttle response, so you can crack on the pace when you need to, say, for instance, from a standing start or when you need to overtake a vehicle. 

In terms of overall driving experience, there’s nothing too outrageously exciting or dynamic on offer here, because this is a large SUV, but it’s always comfortable and it’s lively enough if you want to give it the boot. There are paddle shifters if you want to get fancy with your up- and down-shifting.

Acceleration is good with sharp throttle response. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) Acceleration is good with sharp throttle response. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

It’s not all good news: visibility from the driver’s seat is a bit pinched out the rear of the Discovery (due to its styling); there is pronounced body-roll through corners; the brakes are quite spongy, with a real delayed-action feel about them; ride is a tad harsh because you are rolling along on 20-inch tyres and rims, which is something I’m not so used to; and, the steering column is manually adjustable only, which I reckon is a bit slack for such a pricey vehicle.

What's it like for touring?

Very impressive.

When you get onto dirt tracks and loose-gravel roads, the Discovery retains most of its positive on-road characteristics – it’s comfortable, refined, well-controlled – and a few of its not-so-positive aspects: a slightly squeezed real-world visibility, spongy brakes, and the 20-inch tyre-and-rim combination soon comes back to haunt you – but more about that later.

The Discovery is comfortable, refined, well-controlled off-road. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The Discovery is comfortable, refined, well-controlled off-road. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Also, for something so comfortable on-road, it tends to thump through deeper potholes, producing a bit of a jarring ride at times.

The Discovery benefits from very effective all-wheel drive and a comprehensive Terrain Response system that tweaks throttle response and torque to the wheels, among many other things to subtly adjust to suit the terrain. So the Discovery works supremely well across all terrain, which is why you have different settings: grass, snow, mud, rock-crawling mode. It’s as seamless as you’d expect for driver-assist tech built into a modern-day Landie.

It has an electronic air-suspension system, the efficacy and adaptability of which really sets it apart from most other city-focussed SUVs. The driver is able to switch from an easy-access, get-in-and-out height to an on-road drive height, and then to an off-road drive height, which offers you plenty of ground clearance and immensely improves the vehicle’s off-road angles – approach, departure and ramp-over.

The Discovery benefits from very effective all-wheel drive system. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The Discovery benefits from very effective all-wheel drive system. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

As points of reference, the Discovery at standard height has ground clearance of 207mm and approach, departure and ramp-over angles of 26 degrees, 24.8 degrees and 21.2 degrees respectively. 

When set at off-road height, the Disco has 283mm of ground clearance (an increase of 76mm), and approach, departure and ramp-over angles of 34 degrees (up eight degrees), 30 degrees (up 5.2 degrees) and 21.2 degrees (up 6.3 degrees) respectively. 

Perhaps all those figures mean little to you but watch the video review and witness the Discovery in action on steep rocky hill-climbs and how well clear off the deck it is lifted. 

Maximum wading depth is listed as 900mm when the Discovery is being driven at off-road height and, while we never had a chance to drive through any water crossings that deep, we did go through a lot of substantial mudholes, and one or two that were at least about 600mm deep, if not more. The Discovery was not troubled.

Maximum wading depth is listed as 900mm. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) Maximum wading depth is listed as 900mm. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Bonus: you can closely monitor the Discovery’s drive systems, as well as height and off-road angles, among many other vehicle characteristics, via the Pivi Pro screen which dominates the dash. The screen is clear and easy to read, and the system is easy enough to operate, once you have a few minutes to understand how to navigate your way through the various functions and modes. 

But some Disco characteristics are not so handy off-road: as mentioned earlier, visibility from the driver seat down the sides and through the rear window is quite pinched. Older versions of the Disco were more straight up and down in terms of styling, and more glass afforded the driver ample visibility in all directions, which is very handy when you’re out in the bush.

The Discovery works supremely well across all terrain. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) The Discovery works supremely well across all terrain. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

Sure, this Discovery has a surround-view camera that shows you the view down the sides and to the front of the vehicle, so you can correctly position your tyres, and you can get the line right up and down hills, but I'm a traditional bloke, so if I don’t have clear vision I’ll get out the vehicle and have a good look around, checking for potential hazards ahead or, at the very least, I’ll stick my head out of the window and have a look along the side of the vehicle and all around, while I’m on the (slow) move. 

Now, to the rubber choice. It’s completely understandable why vehicle manufacturers put tyres that are designed for on-road comfort rather than off-road capability on a showroom car, but, if you do want to tackle any 4WDing that’s more difficult than light-duty touring (dirt roads, gravel tracks etc), this Discovery needs tyres that are much better suited to off-roading than the Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season tyres (255/55 R20) it’s wearing at the moment. This 20-inch wheel-tyre combo does not belong on an off-road tourer. I'd much prefer an 18-inch or, better still 17-inch, which gives you a lot more flexibility in terms of dropping tyre pressures to suit the terrain, and also the possibility of sustaining incidental rim damage is reduced if you’re not sporting big 20-inch wheels.

This Discovery needs tyres that are much better suited to off-roading than the  tyres it’s currently wearing. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) This Discovery needs tyres that are much better suited to off-roading than the tyres it’s currently wearing. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

As mentioned, I’m a bit of a 4WD traditionalist so I’m wary of an off-road vehicle that relies so heavily on electronic driver-assist wizardry – because ultimately you’re at the mercy of a plethora of computers and sensors working correctly – and if a particularly touchy component suffers water or dirt ingress then it might be all over, red rover but – you know what? – it’s the same story with all modern off-roaders.

In terms of touring packability, the Discovery has a listed payload of 823kg (including 80kg roof-load), and a maximum towing capacity of 750kg (unbraked) and 3500kg (braked). 

How much fuel does it consume?

Fuel consumption is listed as 7.5L/100km on a combined cycle. 

Fuel consumption on this test was 9.8L/100km. That’s sound considering I did a lot of high- and low-range 4WDing on this test and the Disco is quite a hefty unit.

Fuel consumption is listed as 7.5L/100km on a combined cycle. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) Fuel consumption is listed as 7.5L/100km on a combined cycle. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)

The Land Rover Discovery D300 S has an 89-litre fuel tank, so, going by those fuel-consumption figures, I’d expect an effective touring range of about 860km, but remember that figure includes a built-in 50km safe-distance buffer. 

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?

The Land Rover Discovery D300 S has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, based on 2017 testing. 

As standard, its suite of driver-assist tech includes AEB, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot assist, lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, front and rear parking aids, and trailer stability assist (TSA).

Don’t forget the Discovery’s terrain response system, and front and rear diff-locks.

The Discovery D300 S has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating. (image credit: Glen Sullivan)  The Discovery D300 S has the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating. (image credit: Glen Sullivan) 

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?

The Land Rover Discovery D300 S is a great family-friendly 4WD wagon.

It’s quiet, refined, and supremely well appointed; it’s also very nice to drive on-road and it’s a lot of fun – and very capable – off-road. 

It’s packed full of driver-assist tech and its Pivi Pro system is a real treat to use once you’ve mastered the art, which doesn’t take long.

But you could say all of those same things about the new Defender. 

So, is the Discovery still relevant? I reckon it is … at least for the time being.

 

$105,975

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Daily driver score

4/5

Adventure score

4/5

adventureguide rank

  • Light

    Dry weather gravel roads and formed trails with no obstacles, very shallow water crossings.

  • Medium

    Hard-packed sand, slight to medium hills with minor obstacles in all weather.

  • Heavy

    Larger obstacles, steeper climbs and deeper water crossings; plus tracks marked as '4WD only'

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.