Time Well Spent: Land Rover Discovery Sd4 HSE Luxury – 9/10

Mike Humble

The Midas touch seems to keep on happening at JLR. New models and revisions arriving seemingly faster than tube trains – marvellous. Here we have Land Rovers all new Discovery and despite the incredible talent the car possesses, I have yet to test a car that’s brought so much controversy with it…


Someone recently told me that we all now live in a classless society – what a load of cack! of course we don’t. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that and neither do the majority of the public. Aspiration is what drives us isn’t it? Want a nice holiday? then earn it, want a better house in a nicer area? then work at it, want a flashy car instead of the old nail currently parked outside? well its down to you isn’t it?

Without aspiration and a soupcon of ambition we’d be living in a society where everything is given to you on a plate. I don’t subscribe to that notion as I’m a grafter at heart that makes me appreciate the finer things in life as and when I am able to indulge. So that’s the political rant over – besides no one cares about my political bent (that’s my business)… and I certainly don’t care about yours. Why have I mentioned this? Quite simply because of a few negative comments the car received on social media – most surprising they were.

Right then… rant over – the all new Land Rover Discovery. Launched earlier this year I was able to attend one of the media gatherings for said motor a little while back. We all drove the 3.0V6 diesel version which, as you’d expect, was a fine weapon – fast, smooth and crushingly capable off road. With each version that’s come along they’ve got bigger, more efficient, better built and of course… more expensive.

As is the case with most new models, the impressive stuff is often the parts you cannot see – this all new Discovery really is cutting edge technology on wheels

But perhaps this new version is showing the Discovery in its current zenith. Armed with all the technical know how of alloy construction pooled from the huge Jaguar Land Rover engineering resource that goes back decades, we now find a car that’s seriously cutting edge. As is the case with most new models, the impressive stuff is often the parts you cannot see – this all new Discovery really is cutting edge technology on wheels.

With overall construction utilising mainly alloy technology, the new car has shed almost half a ton from its unladed weight and yet it doesn’t feel any the worse for it. Fit and finish of the exterior panel work and trim is really top notch. The shut lines between doors and boot are more on a par with a luxury car. Whereas before some shut lines were so large that small children could enter without even opening a door!


Bigger and roomier than before and lighter too to the tune of almost half a ton. Jaguar Land Rover have pooled their body technology and expertise in alloy construction for the all new Discovery. Leaner and greener maybe but by no means a flimsy featherweight drive either… its rock solid.

“…it seems the rear end styling and number plate is a popular topic. I tend not to get too embroiled into styling as its totally an opinionated thing, but I will say I personally find it clumsy looking”

The styling is well… erm… open to discussion. When mentioning the car on social media platforms it seems the rear end styling and number plate is a popular topic along with the aforementioned snobbery. I tend not to get too embroiled into styling as its totally an opinionated thing, but I will say I personally find it clumsy looking round the back. Though in Discovery tradition that’s where the plate has always sat and I think its been placed there for that reason – as well as to make it stand out from smaller current Land Rover product.

Taking a few steps back, its most certainly a Discovery although it does emulate a “pumped up” version of the Discovery Sport. That’s no bad thing to be fair and the paint finish, the quality feel and overall large size of the car really does radiate a sensation of premium motoring. Where it really counts though is in the inside. The outgoing model wasn’t exactly shy in terms of style and fittings – one again the JLR engineers have hit the spot when it comes to creature comfort and presentation.


Wonderful comfy seats with adjustable armrests smell as good as the feel and support


Rear space is ample for three. Complete with their own climate and USB features. Ride comfort is notably ruffle free and relaxing.


Spacious cargo deck with electric folding seats and optional third row. Practicality is top notch stuff.

In HSE luxury trim (£62,695) there’s little to complain about in terms of look, feel and smell. The front chairs are expansive each with their own adjustable armrest and one of the most commanding views of the road ahead imaginable. The in house instrument cluster shared with other JLR cars is somewhat smaller than the old model but by no means harder to decipher at a glance. I also noticed an improvement in quality overall too from the launch cars I experienced a few months back.

As is the case with all car manufacturers these days, if you poke and peer hard enough there are some hard to the touch plastics – you have recyclability to thank for that as well as the never ending search to loose a few pounds from the all important kerb weight. But one thing you will notice in the new model are the pleasing lack of rough or sharp edges the previous model possessed. No squeaks, no rattles and very little to gaze at disapprovingly at when it comes to build quality – still a yard or so away from an Audi but the best yet in terms of Land Rover fit and finish I think.

Amongst the rather long list of “dead good stuff” includes a massive increase in storage capability for those personal nick-nacks and chattels. The floor mounted console features not only a fridge that goes from ambient to cool in literally minutes, but a double cup holder that slides forward to reveal a storage box that’s almost a foot deep. The climate control display also hinges to reveal a fabric lined hidey-hole big enough for smart phones, pens, sweets – whatever you fancy… a very simple yet clever feature for those, like myself, who hate their odds and ends skidding around the cabin when driving. Oh, and there’s more personal gizmo charging points than I’ve ever seen in a car in my life!


Glorious hand stitched leather is everywhere. But the wood veneer on the test car emulated something you’d find in a carvery pub chain. Different finishes are thankfully available.

Over on the passenger side you’ll find two glove boxes – both more than ample in size that open and close with a quality feel with a nice audible clunk. Large door pockets round off the practicality in the front. There’s rear trinket places inside the rear armrest along with equally sized door pockets, even the third row of chairs feature individual USB points, air vents, heated seats and storage boxes with lids. Rear seat folding is done electronically and there’s even the facility to remotely lower them by means of a smartphone Land Rover app – a first for the company. The wood trim on the dash and doors lets the side down though – looks a bit the finish you’d find in a Harvester pub.

Boot space is plentiful but of course you can’t have your cake and eat it. With both rear rows of seats in use there’s little more than token space for luggage. When in five seater mode however, cargo space is more than enough. Interior passenger space is very good, notably in the rear where the bench seat will genuinely take three passengers in complete comfort. Staying with the comfort theme, I’ll put my neck on the chopping block by stating the new Discovery is one of the comfiest vehicles I have driven in recent months, ride comfort, cruising refinement and ease of operation are truly superb.


2.0 diesel Ingenium power is upped to 240bhp and a credible 500nm of torque from as low as 1500rpm. it cruises at over 40mpg, goes rather well and when tramping the motorway is nigh on silent. Gets a bit vocal when poked but does rather well for a small unit in a large car. There’s a moment of hesitation when quickly pulling away from rest… a seemingly inherent Ingenium trait that’s slightly annoying.

The all round air suspension takes the sting out all but the deepest ruts and the nice touch of lowering a few centimetres when switching off the engine looks very stately and makes for a slightly more dignified entry and exit. Just don’t expect Caterham style cornering capability out on the road. The steering is a little bit lacking in feel and slow in rack response but tug on the wheel a bit sharpish and you’ll find the body control is pretty good. It is after all a car the size of a three bed semi and not a hot hatch pocket rocket but you will notice the wheel needs the odd bit of correction compared to the normal family car.

“Being such a large car with a relatively rinky dinky engine I was expecting the car to struggle or feel slightly sloth like in its behaviour. Far from it…”

Nothing to report on the brakes – they’re excellent, well weighted and immensely powerful in hard usage. Its the rather pleasant surprise I had with the new 240PS version of JLRs 2.0 “Ingenium” diesel engine that impressed me most. Being such a large car with a relatively rinky dinky engine I was expecting the car to struggle or feel slightly sloth like in its behaviour. Far from it – of course its not a creamy smooth as the V6 3.0D nor does it have the same gurgly soundtrack but it does rather well. A sprint to 60 takes around eight seconds and it spins at 2500rpm at the legal motorway cruise. The eight gears are well spaced and part throttle up changes are virtually unnoticeable.

“Its closer to a Range Rover than ever before in terms of opulence, especially in this HSE Luxury trim. But bear in mind a similarly equipped Range Rover will be in the region of a six figure sum…”

Its only when you really press the pedal hard does the engine note intrude. Its got a slightly agricultural sound to it but thanks to very soft engine and gearbox mountings vibration is barely noticeable. Fuel economy is notably agreeable with well over 40mpg when motorway cruising – even when pushing on it refused to dip below 36mpg. If there is one noticeable trait I’ve experienced with other automatic Ingenium models, its the moment of hesitation if you want to pull away quickly say at a roundabout or busy T – junction. Once acclimatised though its not really a serious issue… just a slight annoyance.

To conclude, its a very well thought out, practical, stylish and worthy holder of the green oval badge. It does countless things very well and nothing poorly – only the styling causes concern to some. That said it doesn’t seem to be faring that badly in the showroom and those I have spoken to who run them seem to adore them. Its closer to a Range Rover than ever before in terms of opulence, especially in this HSE Luxury trim. But bear in mind a similarly equipped Range Rover will be in the region of a six figure sum, the Discovery HSE Luxury comes in at a shade under £63K.


The Humble Opinion

Smart looking, well equipped and notably economical… the new Discovery seems to have it all. Whatever your view of its styling or price in top level trim it has a lot going for it. Its lost the rough edged character the outgoing model had but its lost none of its off road ability – its actually better in that respect.

The pumped up Discovery Sport styling works well in the showroom and delving deep under the skin you’ll find a demonstration of body engineering that isn’t far short of being a work of art. The level of visual tech including a new generation of adaptive terrain control is hard not be impressed about.

Big bold and dripping with style, I recommend you try one and spend some time with one to appreciate it – its really quite a damn fine motor car.

MODEL TESTED: Land Rover Discovery Sd4 HSE Luxury

Price: £62,695 (excluding options)

Power Unit: 2.0 16v Eu6 Turbo diesel

Driveline: ZF electronic 8 speed auto with Land Rover terrain response

Power / Torque: 240bhp / 500Nm @ 1500rpm

Performance: *0-60 in 8.0 seconds with 121mph max

Fuel Economy: *43.5mpg combined (42.6mpg on test)

Co2: 189G/km

* = Manufacturers or Govt claimed data


  • Fuel economy
  • Refinement when cruising
  • Decent performance
  • Vastly improved build quality
  • Packed full of clever technology
  • All new Land Rover app feature
  • Superb Practicality and storage space
  • Extremely effective off road ability
  • Well equipped
  • Delightfully nice to drive and travel in


  • Co2 output could be a bit better compared to some rivals
  • Styling seems to split opinion 50:50
  • Slightly hesitant engine when you need to go sharpish
  • Vocal engine under hard acceleration
  • Slow and lifeless steering


For further information on the new Land Rover Discovery click HERE







  1. I think there’s more than an element of We Fear Change within fan circles. Each model has courted criticism with each model being more successful than the one before. That’s my penny’s worth anyway.

  2. Those who mock and only scoff are probably only jealous. May be a while before I trade my series four Discovery but I’ve driven the new one albeit in 3.0 diesel format and walked away quite pleased.

    Hope it does well for Landie!!!!!

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