2019 Land Rover Discovery Review

Discovery

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2019 Land Rover Discovery Overview

Land Rover’s Discovery series, which includes the LR3 and LR4 models, is iconic. The fifth-generation model was introduced for 2018. As a result, 2019 brings incremental changes.

Last year’s redesign took the exterior of the Discovery in a drastic new direction, exchanging the former version’s boxy shape for something more dynamic. Still, a few of the traditions remain. The strong C-pillar, the nearly vertical rear end, and the asymmetrical liftgate make the Discovery stand out in a sea of competitors. Land Rover has added color-contrasting roof options this year, in black or gray, to provide a bit more style. The interior is more than up to snuff for a luxury SUV, with large, high-resolution displays and plenty of soft-touch and stitched materials. As before, there’s room for up to 7 people and 88.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the first and second rows folded, or 42 cubic feet with the third row stowed.

One of two engines lays beneath the hood of every Discovery. The base unit is a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine with a stout 340 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, plus the ability to tow 8,201 pounds. Buyers can move to a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 engine with 254 hp and 443 lb-ft, along with a tow rating of 7,716 lbs. The diesel engine gets better fuel economy, at 21 miles per gallon city, 26 highway and 23 combined, compared to the gasoline engine’s 16, 18, and 21 rating. Both engines hook up to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Since this is a Land Rover, there’s far more to the Discovery than basic on-road capability. All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard, replete with the brand’s Terrain Response 2 system. Terrain Response 2 has several modes that either enable the SUV detect the terrain underfoot and proceed accordingly, or empower drivers to choose for themselves. For 2019, there’s a new Wade Sensing System on offer that provides real-time wading depth information when fording water. And, in a nod to active owners and families, the Discovery can be equipped with an Activity Key, consisting of a thin waterproof bracelet that can be worn during physical activities like sailing or skydiving and still provide access to the vehicle in lieu of the key fob. A two-speed transfer case with high- and low-range modes is optional.

The Discovery’s options are spread across three grades: SE, HSE, and HSE Luxury. The SE trim comes equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels, a fixed panoramic sunroof, power-folding heated door mirrors, keyless access and start, 12-way power front seats, a 250-watt sound system with 10 speakers, a power tailgate with gesture recognition, and a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation. For 2019, Land Rover has added LED headlights with lighting signatures and a power inner tailgate.

The HSE trim bumps the wheels up to 20 inches and adds a premium grille, a panoramic electric sunroof, front and rear fog lights, auto-dimming door mirrors with approach lights, grained leather upholstery, a 380-watt sound system with 10 speakers and a subwoofer, a LCD instrument cluster, and three-zone climate control.

Finally, the HSE Luxury trim comes with premium 20-inch alloy wheels, third-row seating, a two-speed transfer case, air suspension, chrome door handles, 16-way power front seats with Windsor leather, heated front and rear seats, an 825-watt sound system with 14 speakers and a subwoofer, ambient lighting, and a heated steering wheel.

The Discovery doesn’t lack in safety. Along with the usual suite of airbags, all units come with a 360-degree camera system, parking sensors all around, rain-sensing wipers, and, for 2019, lane-keeping assist and rear cross-traffic detection. There’s even a clear exit monitor, which warns rear occupants of approaching obstacles to each rear door, via a warning light next to the door handle. Scale the trim ladder, and you’ll gain blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with a traffic crawling function, high-speed emergency braking, and traffic-sign recognition with adaptive speed limitation. There is no published crash-test information regarding the Discovery.

In a world of crossovers and SUVs that look handsome and go down the road in reasonable comfort, the Land Rover Discovery stands out for making good on the promises that its name and styling make. There’s plenty here to please anyone looking for a large, versatile luxury SUV.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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