2017 Land Rover Discovery Monthly Update for April 2018
by Dan Frio, Staff Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
April was a workhorse month for our 2017 Land Rover Discovery. We used it for local running around as per usual, but we also got it out on the open highway for a Grand Canyon road trip where the Disco returned decent fuel economy while carrying a family of four and gear.
While the Discovery continues to impress with its capability and overall panache, the verdict is in: This navigation system has got to go.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
The Disco got a good workout in April. We added 3,090 miles to the odometer, filling 11 times with 194 gallons of gas. That averaged out to 17.6 mpg combined — exactly the same result as the month before. That's a bit of a head-scratcher. How does that happen when we put so many long-distance miles on the engine in April?
The answer lies with a terrible tankful right at the end of the month, our worst tank yet of the long-term test. We burned through 18 gallons to drive just 235 miles, averaging 13.1 mpg. Boo.
If we subtract that tank, which was nearly all city driving, and just look at most of the Grand Canyon road trip fill-ups (which accounted for about 1,300 of the month's miles), the Disco comes out looking much better at 19.7 mpg — close-ish to its EPA highway rating of 21 mpg.
Average lifetime mpg: 16.3
EPA mpg rating: 18 combined (16 city/21 highway)
Best fill mpg: 21.3
Best range: 449.9 miles
Current odometer: 15,210 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"I put about 1,200 miles on the Discovery in the past five days. It shuttled four of us, including two in car seats, to Grand Canyon National Park and back. This wasn't our first 1,000-plus-mile family road trip in the Land Rover, and it again proved its worth as a long hauler.
"Up front: We broke our trip into 4- to 5-hour legs, which was near-optimum for seat comfort. The center storage cooler kept the sandwiches fresh. Large cupholders and deep door pockets gave numerous snack-stashing options. But the nav system gave us trouble each time we entered an address, especially the city field. Start to type a name and it gave a confusing list of city and county options. Oddly, it worked best when you input the ZIP code instead.
"In back: The second-row tikes were thrilled that there was enough room to store their distractions. This isn't always the case considering the bulk of their car seats. Rear-zone climate controls alleviated some of the inevitable complaining, as did the massive sunroof. Despite the light-colored interior, size 1 footprints cleaned off the front seatbacks without much scrubbing. We dropped the third-row seat for additional storage. The space it gave us was plenty for our gear and didn't even obscure the rear view." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations
"I've said it a million times before, and I'll say it a million times after: Damn you, Will Kaufman. While I've noticed the Discovery's windshield heating elements during the day, I've been able to Magic Eye my way past them at night. Then he makes a comment in February about how they obscure his vision at night. Now I can't unsee it either." — Cameron Rogers, staff writer
"We recently brought in a short-term Jaguar XF S Sportbrake for testing and rating. I started messing around with the voice controls, a feature that is admittedly somewhat in my blind spot. Even though the XF had onboard navigation, there were no voice controls that allowed me to set a destination or interact with the nav system in any way. Thinking I was missing something, I tried to do the same in our Land Rover Discovery, which uses the same infotainment system under a different name.
"Lo and behold, our Discovery also does not allow destination input through voice commands. I've had my experience with wonky voice recognition in the past, but these systems are absolutely necessary for getting to where you want without pulling over and entering a destination manually or, worse, attempting to do so while you're already driving. Every other modern car I've been in with navigation will let you input a destination through voice controls even if it's through a cumbersome state-city-street-street-number format." — Cameron Rogers
"One thing I really like about the Discovery is its undeniably cool styling. I can totally see how an image-conscious parent with cash to burn would pick this thing over, say, a Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer, let alone a minivan. How many three-row family haulers can moonlight as a valet-approved date-night ride? When it comes to family-oriented vehicles, that kind of versatility is a rare perk." — Josh Sadlier, senior manager, content strategy