What the experts say about the 2017 Land Rover Discovery

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2017 Land Rover Discovery

New for 2017, the Land Rover Discovery is the rugged British brand’s full-size replacement for the recently retired LR4 sport utility vehicle. It’s also one of the few cars on the market that manages to feel luxurious whether driving up a sand dune or pulling up to the valet at a Beverly Hills hotel, turning heads in equal measure.

The luxury SUV seats five, but an optional third row boosts capacity to seven. Like the LR4, the Discovery’s standard four-wheel-drive system shines off road, where it can vanquish a variety of terrain — and inclines — in comfort and style.

Note that if the nameplate sounds familiar, that’s because the Discovery, originally launched nearly 30 years ago, never went away; it was just known briefly as the LR3 and then LR4. The redesigned model, which sheds about 1,000 pounds due to the increased use of aluminum, is actually the fifth-generation Discovery.

The Discovery’s four trims — SE, HSE, HSE Luxury, and limited-production First Edition — come standard with four-wheel drive. The base powertrain is a 340-horsepower, 3.0-liter, supercharged V6, but HSE and HSE Luxury buyers can opt for a 254-horsepower, turbodiesel engine. All trims come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and features that customize driving dynamics for the terrain, such as hill descent control, hill start assist, and gradient acceleration control. With a towing capacity of 8,201 pounds, the SUV can also pull a small boat or trailer with ease.

The Discovery’s interior features what Land Rover does best: upscale, leather-clad cabins with all of the tech trimmings. The base Discovery is equipped with a 10-speaker audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, and Jaguar’s InControl infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. Buyers can upgrade to four-zone climate control and a 10-inch touch screen. Additionally, the Discovery can be outfitted with nine USB ports, six 12-volt power outlets, a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to eight devices, and a backseat entertainment system that features two screens embedded in the headrests. The redesign touts versatility, too. The back rows fold into the floor, allowing for a maximum of nearly 83 cubic feet of space, putting the Discovery near the top of its class for cargo capacity. In an industry first, those seats can also be configured remotely through Land Rover’s smartphone app.

The Discovery’s gasoline engine returns 16 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, and the diesel version delivers 21/26 city/highway. The SUV has not been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but it comes standard with safety equipment such as a rearview camera and rear parking sensors.

The 2017 Land Rover Discovery starts at $49,990.

What the experts say

Refined heritage

“The all new Land Rover Discovery is a departure from the rigid lines of the LR4 that it replaces, while still maintaining the brand’s iconic presence. The brand is assumed to be the high-water mark for luxury SUVs, but it has become more efficient and user-friendly. Due to the vehicle’s aluminum construction, Rover has shaved 1,000 pounds from the LR4 it replaces. This provides far better fuel economy as well as substantially improved acceleration and handling. Discover truly balances luxury and sport utility as no other mark has duplicated yet. The third row is very useful and larger than most; it also has a power-folding option to make the transformation from five to seven passenger quick and easy. All of this paired with the Rover history of rugged durability and sure-footed traction makes for a big Rover win in this very competitive segment.” – George Chambers, executive general manager, Herb Chambers Jaguar Land Rover Sudbury

Slimmer body

“Similar to the transformation undergone a few years ago by its luxury kin the Range Rover, the latest Land Rover Discovery has shed nearly 1,000 pounds thanks to its extensive use of aluminum. This vehicular diet pays off in better handling and improved efficiency. The de facto replacement for the LR4, the 2017 Land Rover Discovery stands apart from rivals with its serious off-road capability, all while offering refined on-road manners. Its rounded and softer exterior design is a big departure from the rugged, blocky looks of the SUV it replaces. Inside, the seven-passenger Discovery has commendable room, even in the third row. Under the hood, the standard supercharged V6 is more than adequate, but there’s something especially appealing about the grunt and efficiency of the optional diesel engine.” – Matt Degen, senior associate editor, KBB.com

Styled for luxury

“The Discovery has come along at a good time for Land Rover since SUVs are keeping luxury sales afloat,  making up more than half of the market. Luxury SUV share has risen to 56 percent in 2017 while luxury cars have fallen to 44 percent. Consumers in this space are trend-conscious so the new styling language of the Discovery should grab the attention of these buyers and make this a successful product for Land Rover.” – Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis, Edmunds