Looks – 10/10
Handling/Performance – 9/10
There is only one choice of engine in the Discovery, but you don’t need any others. The supercharged diesel 3.0-litre SDV6 provides ample power, offering 255PS and a whopping 600Nm of torque. Even for a 2.5 tonne car this means 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds and a top speed of 112mph. This wonderful engine is attached to an even better 8-speed ZF automatic transmission which is a delight. The ample ratios mean that power delivery is smooth but also that the revs are kept down on the motorway. There are paddles behind the wheel should you wish to change gear yourself, but I can’t see why you’d want to. The biggest thing that’s apparent is how quiet the Discovery is on the motorway. Within that 2.5 tonnes there must be a decent amount of soundproofing material, because once you shut the window the cabin is serene and you can talk in whispers.
The Discovery operates an air suspension system as you would find in Range Rover models. This means that once on the motorway the car hunkers down to become more stable, making the ride smoother. The suspension also absorbs bumps incredibly well, and this is one of the most comfortable cars I have ever driven. Through corners the Discovery shows its size, but I have to say that the lean isn’t as bad as you would expect. The steering is actually quite direct, and that big V6 diesel wants to pull you from one corner to the next. And because you don’t notice the bumps and potholes, you’ll soon realise you’re going faster down the A-road than you would have thought. This car really does go anywhere, and it’s a delight to drive wherever it does.
Economy – 8/10
Now I think you have to be realistic with your expectations of economy in a car such as this. For starters it weighs 2.5 tonnes, so it’s going to take a fair amount to get something that hefty motoring along at motorway speeds. Consider too that it has permanent 4WD and is an automatic, and you are probably fearing the worst. But I think the reality is rather good. You see Land Rover have fitted start/stop technology to the automatic gearbox and that helps a lot in traffic. It works rather well; re-starting the engine as soon as you move off the brake to set off. Combined fuel consumption is 35.3mpg, which I don’t think is too bad at all. And this is achievable in the real world, as I found after a long run to Beverley and back. The CO2 emissions of 213g/km put the Discovery in VED band K. Although the first year of £640 may seem steep, I think the £290 every year thereafter is not too bad at all for such a big, powerful car.
Practicality – 10/10
Total Score – 45/50