2017 Land Rover Discovery Review

Discovery

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2017 Land Rover Discovery Overview

Land Rover’s newest SUV may have a familiar name, but it sports an all-new look and a host of updated technology. The debut of the 2017 Land Rover Discovery full-size SUV marks the return of the Discovery name, which last graced a 7-passenger off-roader sold in the U.S. from 1994 to 2004 before being replaced by the LR3 and later the LR4.

The 2017 Discovery harkens back to its predecessors with a stepped roofline and seating for up to 7 passengers. But under the sheet metal is an 85% aluminum unibody about 1,000 pounds lighter than that of the outgoing LR4, giving the Discovery a total weight of just 4,835 pounds. All Discoveries get a larger, 1-piece tailgate to replace the LR4’s signature 2-piece tailgate, and an optional inner tailgate increases the trunk’s utility by folding down for easier access or seating.

Two engines are available for the Discovery. A turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 engine marks Land Rover’s first diesel offering in the U.S.—rated at 254 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, it can propel the massive Discovery to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. A supercharged gasoline V6 is also available and is good for 340 hp, 332 lb-ft, and a 0-to-60 time of 6.9 seconds. Both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission controlled by either a rotary shifter or paddles. The Discovery has not yet been rated by the EPA, although its combination of diesel efficiency, weight savings, and an aerodynamic body should make the new model more economical than the outgoing LR4 with its 15 mpg city, 19 highway, and 16 combined.

In keeping with its history as an off-roader, the Discovery offers a host of technological and design elements tailored for all-terrain driving. Available features include hill-descent control, Gradient Acceleration Control (for standing starts on an incline), and All-Terrain Progress Control (a low-speed cruise control for tricky situations). Like other Land Rovers, the Discovery comes standard with an electronic Terrain Response system that adjusts the throttle and steering response and suspension and traction control to optimize vehicle performance via 4 drive modes: General Driving; Mud and Ruts; Sand; Rock Crawl; and Grass, Gravel, Snow.

Equipped with the optional 4-corner air suspension, the Discovery can raise its ride height by 2.95 inches for up to 11.14 inches of ground clearance. Land Rover promises wheel articulation of 19.7 inches, a wading depth of 35.4 inches, an approach angle of up to 34 degrees, a breakover angle of 27.5 degrees, and a departure angle of 30 degrees. The Discovery comes with a full-time 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system and a 1-speed transfer box, but serious off-roaders can opt for a 2-speed shift-on-the-fly transfer box with a 50/50 front/rear torque split for shifting between high and low ratios at speeds up to 37 mph.

Whether your Discovery is intended for off-roading adventures or grocery-store runs, you’ll have three trims to pick from: the SE, HSE, and HSE Luxury. The entry-level SE is available only with the gasoline engine and starts at $49,990. It comes with seating for 5, 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Options include a third row of seating and the 4-corner air suspension.

Stepping up to the Discovery HSE trim, which costs $56,950 with the gasoline engine and $58,950 with the diesel, adds an InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with navigation, 20-inch alloy wheels, and LED headlights. Third-row seating is still optional, and a Dynamic Design package is now available that includes 21-inch satin-finish wheels, a contrast roof, deleted exterior badging, black mirror caps, and an updated grille, bumpers, and fender vents. On the interior, contrast-stitched upholstery, a sports steering wheel, and updated pedals complete the look.

The Discovery HSE Luxury trim is priced at $63,950 with the gasoline engine ($65,950 with the diesel) and comes with the air suspension, third-row seating, a panoramic sunroof, and upgraded Windsor-leather upholstery. The Dynamic Design package is still available, with larger 22-inch wheels.

Finally, the all-new Discovery First Edition ($73,950) will be limited to a 500-vehicle run and is equipped with the gasoline engine, special badging, and unique add-ons and color combinations.

Across all Discovery trims, options are numerous. An Intelligent Seat-Fold feature, available on the HSE and HSE Luxury trims, enables the second- and third-row seats to be folded in the vehicle using the dashboard display or rear-seat controls or remotely via a smartphone app. An Activity Key weatherproof wristband replaces the key fob, and the vehicle can be outfitted with a rear-seat entertainment system and the all-new InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with remote smartphone access. Those who want to tow with their Discovery can add trailer-reversing assist, a rear-height-adjust mode, trailer-stability control, or camera-based hitch assist.

Updated

A member of the New England Motor Press Association who has owned everything from a Town Car to a Prius, Keith has contributed automotive coverage to outlets including Wired, Car & Driver, and USA Today.

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