2018 Land Rover Discovery

2018 Land Rover Discovery Review

If you're looking for luxury and off-road prowess in one place, the Discovery offers plenty of both.
7.6 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Reintroduced last year as a redesigned and renamed LR4, the 2018 Land Rover Discovery has an appealing combination of luxury and off-road capability. Few vehicles on the road can match this specific blend, and even fewer do it as well as the Discovery does. It surrounds passengers in a premium cabin, turns other motorists' heads with its sleek styling, and makes molehills out of mountains thanks to its capable four-wheel-drive system.

For a vehicle that is as large as the Discovery, it steers and handles remarkably well, has prodigious thrust, and boasts very respectable maximum tow ratings north of 8,000 pounds. It's quiet and comfortable, and it has a commanding presence on the road yet is nimble enough to navigate busy city streets.

It isn't one attribute or virtue that makes the 2018 Land Rover Discovery stand out from the crowd — rather it's a combination of all its likable features wrapped up in one attractive and modern package.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, the Land Rover Discovery comes standard with frontal collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking. Additionally, the Td6 diesel engine is now available on all three trim levels. On the inside, the base SE trim level gets some upgraded equipment, including a 10-inch touchscreen, and a new, larger head-up display has been added to the HSE and HSE Luxury models.

We recommend

The Land Rover Discovery has a relatively simple lineup of three trim levels, and we recommend the midlevel HSE. It's got an impressive amount of standard equipment, plus it gives you access to most of the top Luxury model's available equipment, some of which is unavailable on the base SE.




Trim levels & features

The 2018 Land Rover Discovery is a midsize luxury SUV available in three trim levels: SE, HSE and HSE Luxury. A supercharged 3.0-liter V6 (340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque) is standard, and a turbocharged diesel V6 (254 hp and 443 lb-ft) is optional. Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.

The base SE trim comes standard as a two-row, five-passenger SUV. A third row of seats is optional, increasing passenger capacity to seven. Standard feature highlights include 19-inch wheels, a hands-free liftgate, power-folding mirrors, rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, a fixed panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, power front seats, and 40/20/40-split sliding, reclining and folding rear seats.

On the technology front, the Disco has a rearview camera, forward collision mitigation with emergency braking, a 10-inch touchscreen (Land Rover's InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with navigation), compatibility with the InControl remote smartphone app, a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 10-speaker audio system with USB input.

The HSE trim adds features such as 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, front parking sensors, a powered inner tailgate, upgraded taillights, a power-sliding front sunroof, tri-zone climate control, wood interior trim, additional interior storage features, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver-seat memory functions, a digital driver display, USB ports for the second-row seats, and an upgraded Meridian audio system with satellite and HD radio.

Going with the HSE Luxury gets you the third row of seats, which increases capacity to seven. It also includes an air suspension, a two-speed transfer case with low-range gearing, power-folding third-row seats, configurable ambient interior lighting, premium leather upholstery, additional leather trim, upgraded power front seats with winged headrests, heated front and second-row seats, power-sliding and -reclining second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, and a 14-speaker Meridian premium surround-sound system.

Many features on higher-trimmed Discovery models are available on supporting trims at additional cost. Other options for HSE and HSE Lux models include the Vision Assist package, which adds adaptive headlights, LED running lights, automatic high beams, a surround-view camera system and auto-dimming exterior mirrors. The Drive package brings blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a drowsy driver warning system, a speed limiter and a traffic sign reader. And the Drive Pro package includes the features from the Drive package plus adaptive cruise control, reverse traffic detection and lane departure intervention.

Other Discovery add-ons include 21- or 22-inch wheels, roof rails, a heated windshield, an automated parking system, a trailer hitch with electrical connections, an advanced towing system with reverse trailer steering, a head-up display, a waterproof activity key bracelet, four-zone climate control, massaging front seats, and a cooler box in the front center console.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury (supercharged 3.0L V6 | 8-speed automatic | 4WD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.6 / 10

Driving

7.5 / 10

Acceleration6.5 / 10
Braking7.5 / 10
Steering8.5 / 10
Handling8.5 / 10
Drivability7.5 / 10

Comfort

8.5 / 10

Seat comfort8.5 / 10
Ride comfort8.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.5 / 10
Climate control8.5 / 10

Interior

7.5 / 10

Ease of use6.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out7.0 / 10
Driving position8.5 / 10
Roominess7.5 / 10
Visibility8.0 / 10
Quality8.5 / 10

Utility

9.0 / 10

Small-item storage9.0 / 10
Cargo space9.5 / 10

Technology

5.5 / 10

Audio & navigation4.0 / 10
Smartphone integration6.0 / 10
Driver aids7.0 / 10

Driving7.5

The Discovery is composed and pleasant to drive. The V6 engine makes a respectable amount of power, but the economy-minded calibration in D mode dulls the edge unless you use S mode. Off-road clearance and articulation aren't nearly as good as in the outgoing LR4, but it still acquits itself well.

Acceleration6.5

The supercharged 3.0-liter engine delivers sufficient oomph for merging, passing or climbing hills, but those in a hurry should use S mode instead of D because it sharpens pedal response. In either mode, acceleration to 60 mph takes 7.1 seconds, a mediocre result for a luxury SUV.

Braking7.5

Around town, the pedal feels reassuringly firm and linear. But the Discovery's 5,500-pound bulk starts to show in emergency brake use; our simulated-panic stop from 60 mph took 126 feet. That's a bit longer than average, but the Disco did remain utterly stable and composed.

Steering8.5

The steering has a precise feel, and the amount of returnability — how quickly it comes back to center if you let go after turning — is amazing. Its positive sense of straight ahead makes it effortless on the open road, even in the face of crosswinds or severely canted roads.

Handling8.5

The Disco doesn't lean nearly as much as you'd expect when driving around turns. It changes direction willingly, and it remains composed through long corners. It's a really nice vehicle to drive up winding mountain roads on the way to the cabin or the ski lodge.

Drivability7.5

The smooth-shifting transmission feels generally willing and able. But the gas pedal spring feels powerful; you can't necessarily squeeze gently on the pedal and roll onto the gas, you've got to be a bit more deliberate. Rotate the shifter from D to S mode, and everything gets much more responsive.

Off-road7.0

It's better than expected off-road because, even in Auto mode with one wheel off the ground, the traction control system keeps the Discovery going forward without unnecessary wheelspin. But articulation and clearance are worse than in the previous LR4, and its lower door edges are ultra-low.

Comfort8.5

It'd be easy to spend a full day on an extended road trip in the Discovery, and that's just what we did. The seats are supportive, the ride is comfortable on a variety of surfaces, the cabin is quiet, and the air conditioning easily copes with elevated summer desert temperatures.

Seat comfort8.5

The firm yet nicely shaped seats proved to be comfortable over long distances. Readily adjustable lumbar is a welcome touch, and the center armrests can be set to whatever angle you want. Has tri-level heated seats, and cooling is available.

Ride comfort8.0

The Discovery strikes a very good balance, neither too soft nor too hard, when driven in the default Auto mode. Its independent suspension makes it agreeable on washboard dirt roads, too.

Noise & vibration8.5

The cabin is pleasantly quiet, and those doors do seal tightly. The Disco's sleek shape helps keep wind noise to a minimum.

Climate control8.5

The powerful system cools the cabin effectively, and the controls are very easy to understand and use. The heated and cooled seat controls are nicely integrated into the temp setting switches, too. Middle-row passengers have easy access to controls and vents of their own. It's hard to find fault.

Interior7.5

It's easy to get in and out of the Discovery — provided you can open the long doors far enough. Once inside, you'll find a commanding driving position with good outward visibility. Some of the controls are odd, though, and the otherwise roomy cabin can feel narrow at the elbow and shoulder.

Ease of use6.5

The Discovery is generally OK, but the rotary shifter is odd and the off-road terrain dial icons are hard to decipher. The window switches sit on the top edge of the doors. The audio system operation is 100 percent touchscreen, except for a volume knob on the passenger side.

Getting in/getting out7.0

The air suspension lets the Disco lower when parked, and overlapping doors make for a narrow sill that stays mud- and slush-free in inclement conditions. But the doors are very long, and they can be hard to open fully when you're parked in tight spaces.

Driving position8.5

The commanding seating position is highly adjustable, and the steering wheel and gauges are placed just about perfectly. The telescopic steering wheel pulls back a fair amount, but our resident tall guy wouldn't complain if it came back another half inch.

Roominess7.5

The Discovery lots of head- and legroom, but the door feels a little close at the elbow and shoulder, and the high center console lid forces your elbow close to your side. Rear legroom is OK most of the time, but a tall driver could change the experience.

Visibility8.0

It is really easy to see out, even over the hood. A rearview camera offers many angles, but the selection controls are fiddly. Biggest problem: those bulky rear headrests, especially the center one in the middle seat. It does fold but not elegantly.

Quality8.5

This Discovery feels very well put-together inside and out. The materials are gorgeous, and the design is effective at hiding seams and joints, making it all feel carved, not assembled. We have no complaints.

Utility9.0

The Discovery looks less boxy than the LR4, but that doesn't mean it has lost a significant degree of utility. There's ample cargo space; the available automated seat-folding system is terrific; it easily accommodates child seats; and it has the chops to be a decent tow vehicle.

Small-item storage9.0

It has two glove compartments, a decent-size console box that can cool drinks, big front door pockets, a cubby for a phone, and a hidden cubby where the CD player lives. The rear-seat door pockets are tiny, but each front seatback makes up for that with two pockets.

Cargo space9.5

You can remotely fold the rear seats from a few different locations. The resulting load floor is flat and expansive. The rear liftover is agreeably low for a luxury SUV, too. The fold-down inside tailgate can be used to fence in loose cargo or as a place to sit and change shoes — or diapers.

Child safety seat accommodation8.5

There's excellent access to the well-marked LATCH/Isofix anchors in the middle row, and the top tether anchors are equally easy to find and use. Note: The optional headrest-mounted entertainment screens are bulky and might complicate the installation of rear-facing infant seats.

Towing8.0

We're always a little unsure of European automaker tow ratings, but the stated 8,201-pound capacity is excellent. The Discovery's air suspension system can compensate for tongue weight, and the backup camera has multiple angles. A trailer backup assistance system is also available.

Technology5.5

For a brand-new car, we expected better. We can understand non-standard driver aids on a luxury car, where everything seems to be optional. But the weak performance from the infotainment system — the slow boot-up cycle and the wonky touchscreen interface — is below average for the class.

Audio & navigation4.0

During our initial test of the Discovery, we had some serious issues with the boot-up of the audio system. In subsequent testing, we've found the Disco's touchscreen and boot-up to be more reliable but still slow. Audio quality is good when the system is working, but the bugs aren't gone yet.

Driver aids7.0

Our test car had adaptive cruise, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist. They were unobtrusive and didn't issue false alarms. Most of these features, however, are optional. You'd expect them to be standard on a vehicle like this.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.