Monthly Update for November 2017 - 2017 Land Rover Discovery Long-Term Road Test

2017 Land Rover Discovery Long-Term Road Test

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2017 Land Rover Discovery: Monthly Update for November 2017

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

Where Did We Drive It?
You're in luck. This 2017 Land Rover Discovery update contains bonus material. Our new Disco arrived just after October's midpoint, so we decided to save the late October impressions and roll them into November's update. You're getting six weeks for the price of four. Such a deal.

Even with that in mind, we're still surprised at the miles our new Land Rover has accumulated. The final November gas station visit occurred on the 27th of the month and the odometer was already showing 5,718 miles.

A look at the logbook shows why. One of our editors had driven the Discovery to Yosemite National Park. Another loaded it with dogs and gear and took it on a duck hunting trip. And I've piloted it to Oregon and back to see family in two parts of the state. Add in the usual commuting and that big number makes more sense.

2017 Land Rover Discovery

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Because this is the first official update, all of the milestones are new. But who can say if the best-range mark of 449.9 miles that I set on the last leg of an Oregon road trip will hold up? Maybe someone will beat the best tank fuel economy of 21.3 mpg set on the return from Yosemite. The latter is a great first effort because our gasoline-powered Discovery is rated at 21 mpg on the highway. But it remains to be seen if that someone else does better in the coming months.

Our average fuel economy is 17.96 mpg at the moment, which rounds up to match the Discovery's EPA combined rating of 18 mpg. But it's unlikely this figure will hold up because of the sheer number of highway road trip miles that make up our current average. The coming months will likely settle into a more normal driving pattern for the Disco, and the average mpg will probably dip somewhat to match.

2017 Land Rover Discovery

We're far more certain about the Land Rover's dash-mounted mpg meter: It's a big fat liar. But we're not fooled. Our mpg figures come from measurement and math using hard numbers.

Looking at 16 fill-ups (two others were excluded from this analysis because the mpg meter reading was not recorded in the logbook), the onboard mpg meter consistently overstated the facts by more than 2 mpg. Our best tank of 21.3 mpg coincided with a meter reading of 24 mpg. If we took the display's number at face value, we'd assume (falsely) that our Discovery has been routinely exceeding 20 mpg. That's simply not the case. Reality is 2 mpg less.

Average lifetime mpg: 18
EPA mpg rating: 18 combined (16 city/21 highway)
Best-fill mpg: 21.3
Best range: 449.9 miles
Current odometer: 7,518 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
Nothing yet, but the first oil change and tire rotation are due soon.

Logbook Highlights

2017 Land Rover Discovery

Performance
"The supercharged 3.0-liter V6 always feels pretty eager, and its power delivery is smooth and effortless. Once it gets going, it feels like it'll pull forever." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing

"The Discovery feels sure-footed and responsive on the many undulating and winding mountain roads in Northern California and Oregon. The steering feels accurate, body roll is nicely constrained, and the Discovery generally goes right where you want it to. The trouble comes on long, straight highway cruises, where the same steering feels a bit too touchy. It tends to stray too easily if there's a crosswind, if the driver reaches across the cabin to adjust a control, or even at night when the driver can't see as far down the road and winds up making more minor course adjustments. The passengers can sense all of this, too, because the elevated SUV seating position amplifies the tiny body motions that result." — Dan Edmunds

2017 Land Rover Discovery

Comfort

"The Discovery generally rolls down the road smoothly, and it feels controlled and buttoned-down on winding two-lane back roads. That said, the ride occasionally gets a bit busy on patched asphalt surfaces and truck-damaged freeway lanes. It doesn't help that the somewhat elevated seating position tends to amplify head-toss motions a bit." — Dan Edmunds

"This driver seat was built for long-distance comfort. Three days ago I drove the Discovery six hours with a 15-minute stretch break midway. No complaints. Today I went another 5.5 hours straight, though I found myself squirming a bit at the 3.5-hour mark. My front passenger was equally comfortable. The second row couldn't chime in on the matter because, well, they were in child seats." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager of vehicle testing operations

"I'm of two minds on these seats. Yes, they are well-shaped and that gives them a good level of basic comfort. But I wish the cushioning was just a bit thicker and slightly softer so the surface delivered a touch of softness and made the pressure feel a bit more uniform. The side bolsters barely seem far enough apart at their widest setting, too. As it stands, I find it necessary to remove my wallet from my back pocket, and I look forward to getting out and walking around every couple of hours." — Dan Edmunds

"I really like the heated seats. The controls are easy to use, and the seats get really toasty. I was ready to give them an A-plus, but then it got down to 28 degrees overnight in Bend, Oregon. Next morning I punched the button and was surprised that it took them two or three minutes to get kinda-sorta warm. I expected the heat to feel more immediate, seeing as how such things do not rely on engine-generated heat." — Dan Edmunds

2017 Land Rover Discovery

Interior

"Our Discovery's take on the traditional three-dial climate controls is great. I especially like the way you access the seat heating or ventilation features. Just tap the driver or front passenger climate control dial and the display switches to the seat control. Then you dial clockwise for three levels of heat or the other direction for ventilation. It's a smart way to reduce button clutter in an intuitive manner." — Mark Takahashi, senior writer

2017 Land Rover Discovery

"Time for another rant about interior surfaces! I've said it before and I'll say it again: Stop putting in surfaces that cause glare or harsh reflections! The center console of the Discovery has shiny piano black and silver surfaces. Under the right conditions, the sun will reflect off these elements, right into your retina. Ugh! To combat this, I just tossed a jacket over the console, but I'd rather not have to resort to this." — Mark Takahashi

2017 Land Rover Discovery

Technology

"Land Rover and Jaguar don't quite offer the level of infotainment features as other luxury brands, and that's really not a big deal to me. The problem for me is the consistency of the system. Sometimes the system will simply stop working and reboot. More often, it will no longer allow control over my iPhone, forcing me to either stop the car and restart it or skip songs by using the phone itself. I'm hoping it's just a software bug that will eventually get updated." — Mark Takahashi

"Oddly frustrating infotainment system. Upon restart, sometimes it will revert to the XM radio station I was listening to before I stopped the car; other times it will not. It more often defaults to AM/FM radio (which could be static if I drove into a dead area while listening to XM or my iPhone) instead of what I had on because that is the first module that reboots when the system initiates. This can be a slow and deliberate process. XM can come on up to a half-minute after that, followed by Bluetooth, and then the USB phone connections. But it won't necessarily remember which of those you were listening to before you shut the car down. I often had to reselect the audio submenu on the touchscreen. Once there I'd choose 'Source,' then pick XM, my phone USB connection or Bluetooth all over again. Our test car does seem to be slightly better at this than an earlier press car I drove a few months back, but it's still not right." — Dan Edmunds

2017 Land Rover Discovery

Utility

"I understand the purpose of this mini tailgate in the cargo area. It keeps your stuff from rolling out in case it falls over in transit. Some might find it pretty neat. So far I find it to be a bit of a hassle. But I learned something that softens my initial impression. According to the manual, the open tailgate can hold up to 440 pounds. That is far more than I expected." — Mike Schmidt

"We loaded and unloaded our suitcases and bags multiple times, and I came to love the mini tailgate that kept our stuff from spilling out whenever the hatch went up. Having the option to have what amounts to a fence when loading made it easier to pack it full, too. And when you leave after unloading, you don't have to fold it up separately because the overhead hatch-closing button also commands the tailgate to fold up at the same time." — Dan Edmunds

2017 Land Rover Discovery

"Now that I've had several opportunities to install and remove child seats from the second row of the Discovery, my opinion has changed. I have a newfound respect for the auto-fold arrow buttons. Tap forward once to begin lowering the seatback. Tap again to stop. Install the upper LATCH tether and arrow-restore to its original position. I like it more, though I still tend to press it accidentally when tightening the upper tether." — Mike Schmidt

"I packed up the Discovery for a quick duck hunting trip, complete with two dogs and all the gear I thought necessary. The Discovery easily handled all of it and provided a comfortable ride. It was particularly good that we had the all-season floor and cargo mats to handle wet and dirty dogs and gear. Even though off-road capabilities weren't really needed, it was nice having something with those abilities on an uneven dirt road. Cleanup was super easy and nobody would know of this adventure otherwise." — Mark Takahashi

2017 Land Rover Discovery

Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing @ 5,718 miles

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