Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery
Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery Chris Benny Imaging

2017 Land Rover Discovery road test: Outside the square

MUMS on the school run in well-heeled areas are in a tizz because the sleek new Land Rover Discovery looks smaller than the box-shaped seven-seater it replaces. How are they going to ferry a squad of kids to weekend sports?

The crisis hasn't prompted an emergency meeting of the P&C yet but some are already looking at alternatives. The outgoing Disco has been around for 13 years, so there is a lot riding on this new model.

That's why this drive starts in the back seat.

"Surely Land Rover couldn't be so stupid as to make the back seat smaller,” says mother of four Julie, the owner of an old model wanting to update.

Land Rover Discovery 2017
Land Rover Discovery 2017 Chris Benny Imaging

There is good news. The third row seats are big enough for two 180cm-plus adults. There's enough head and knee room to spare (about 10cm each way) and feet fit easily under the second row seat.

There may not be quite as much room as before in the corners of the roof but overall there's more than enough for a family seven-seater. To make clambering into the third row easier, the second row slides well forward, though the rear is still better suited to nimble kids than tired adults.

Need to transport little ones? There are four Isofix child restraint mounting points, two each in the second and third rows - among the few other SUVs with third-row points are the Ford Everest, Audi Q7 and Mazda CX-9.

Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery
Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery

There are three diesel options, a 2.0-litre turbo four in two states of tune and a 3.0-litre V6, matched to an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.

Each comes in four equipment grades - S, SE, HSE and HSE Luxury - so selecting from the dozen variants requires patience and a calculator to tot up the options.

Dearer models with the high output four-cylinder and V6 arrive in August and the cheaper ones in October.

Prices start at $65,960 plus on-roads for a five-seater and top out at $131,871.

Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery
Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery Chris Benny Imaging

The options list is long and expensive. Metallic paint is between $2010 and $4020. And only one non-metallic colour forms the basis of all RRPs.

The base model lacks such basics as built-in navigation (standard on a $17,990 Suzuki Swift) front sensors (standard on a Hyundai i30) and a 360-degree camera (standard on a Mercedes GLC).

Other missing tech: Apple Car Play and Android Auto are still not ready for Jaguar Land Rover vehicles. When they are eventually added (a year or so away) they can't be retrofitted.

Handy safety aids such as radar cruise control, rear cross traffic alert and side blind zone warning are part of expensive option packs on even the dearest models.

Automatic emergency braking is standard but only works up to 40kmh (in other luxury brands it's effective up to 100kmh) and it's forward facing only.

Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery
Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery Chris Benny Imaging

Six airbags are standard when some other luxury brands have eight or nine (the Discovery lacks a knee airbag and seat mounted airbags in the second row seats) but the curtain airbags have head protection for all three rows.

The new cabin has more than a dozen storage cubbies, including a cavernous centre console, digital speed display, push-button start and a wide touch screen for audio controls.

The optional headlights each have seven bright white LEDs but they don't dim individually for oncoming traffic. High-beam in the Land Rover is old school: all on or all off, although it will do so automatically if you prefer.

Aircon vents to the second row are in the door pillars; third row air vents are optional.

TIME TO DISCO: The 2017 Land Rover Discovery arrives next month.
TIME TO DISCO: The 2017 Land Rover Discovery arrives next month. Chris Benny Imaging

ON THE ROAD

A brief drive on the straight, flat roads around Uluru gave little insight into how the Discovery will handle the daily grind of roundabouts and speed humps.

We simulated a corner or two and found the Disco still likes to throw its weight around even though the new all-aluminium body construction trims 480kg - it is still substantial at 2.2 tonnes or so.

We'll withhold observations until we drive it more than 20km on sealed roads.

Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery
Photo of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery

VERDICT

Early signs are good but the price escalates quickly with a few basic options ticked. The RRP is just a tease.

At a glance

Land Rover Discovery

PRICE From $65,960-$131,871 plus on-roads

WARRANTY 3 years/100,000km

CAPPED SERVICING $1210-$1860 over 5 years

SERVICE INTERVAL 24 months/34,000km (V6 12 months/26,000km)

SAFETY 5 stars, 6 airbags

ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo diesel, 132kW/430Nm and 177kW/500Nm; 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel, 190kW/600Nm

TRANSMISSION 8-speed auto; AWD

THIRST 6.3L-7.2L/100km

DIMENSIONS 4970mm (L), 2073mm (W), 1846mm (H), 2923mm (WB)

WEIGHT 2174kg-2298kg

SPARE Full-size

TOWING 3500kg


Why you should change your iPhone passcode

Why you should change your iPhone passcode

Do you use a six-digit passcode for your iPhone?

Splendour tickets sold out in minutes

Splendour tickets sold out in minutes

If you missed out, don’t panic and read on

The joy is in the giving, and giving, and giving

The joy is in the giving, and giving, and giving

The joy is in the giving, and giving, and giving

Local Partners