Land Rover Discovery Review

Gumtree Rating

4.0 rating

First launched in 1989, the Land Rover Discovery is a familiar sight on UK roads, frequently donning many roles including uptown limo, off-road giant and caravan-tug. This boxy workhorse may have its roots in the brutish Range Rover series, but it has the dependable feel of a family car. The fact that there are still several 30-year-old Discoveries traversing UK roads is testament to Land Rover’s reliability. If you’re looking for the perfect car to make some great family memories, the Discovery is everything you need and more.

Visit the Land Rover Discovery model page to explore available cars and learn more about the model

What we think about the Land Rover Discovery

The Land Rover Discovery delivers the sought after Terrain Management System from Range Rover in a plush and practical package.



Supreme off-roading


Interior space


Bit pricier than counterparts

Some models can seem low in tech

The Land Rover has long had the image as the more practical off-roading brother of the Range Rover series. A transition in styling with the 2004 Discovery 3 added some impressive modern design touches from the luxury SUV segment. A fourth and fifth generation brought in more design changes, with a particular focus on the interiors and tech. As you’d expect, this is most notable on the highest of the four trims, the HSE and HSE Luxury.

Driving performance of the Land Rover Discovery

Our Driving Rating8 / 10

One of the many joys of a true petrolhead is testing out the proficiency of Land Rover’s Terrain Response System. Be assured that even if you aren’t car mad, this system will have you feeling like a kid at Christmas with its bells and whistles. All generations use a permanent 4X4 configuration and have a wide base with good ground clearance, which means the Discovery is more comfortable off-road than on. However, if you want to stretch out and take the Discovery for a spin on the motorways, the lofty suspension makes for a pleasant journey.

Safety and reliability of the Land Rover Discovery

Our Safety Rating8 / 10

From 2004 models onwards, theft alarm, airbags, and an anti-lock braking system that prevents skid during braking have been standard across all models. While this generation was rated four stars by Euro NCAP for safety, the next generation released in 2009 was awarded the full five thanks to several additions in the standard kit list including lane-keeping and blind-spot assistance. Older generations haven’t been tested, but generally pose no issues with safety. Some would say that reliability and build quality were compromised in the oldest models, but true 4X4 fanatics don’t seem to be a bit put off by this.

Under the bonnet of the Land Rover Discovery

Our Engine Rating7 / 10

Throughout its life, the Discovery has come in a choice of 2.0 to 4.0-litre size engines. The 3.0-litre diesels are undoubtedly the most popular choice in the UK thanks to a good balance of efficiency and performance. Most cars from 2011 on have a smooth, responsive eight-speed automatic transmission. The latest Ingenium 3.0-litre diesel accelerates from 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds, which is impressive for this two-tonne giant, and the 2.0-litre engine isn’t far behind at 8.3 seconds. The petrol unit manages the same in seven seconds, but you pay the price when it comes to efficiency (more on that below).

What you'll find in the Land Rover Discovery

Our Design Rating7 / 10

This Land Rover’s kerbside appeal is all about size. Expect a gargantuan car with sharp lines – a bold, confident 4X4 SUV. The classic headlights on the older models are probably the most significant feature, but Land Rover was slick in adding LED Daytime running lights on the 2014 facelift, complementing the new look with a menacing grille. Despite Land Rover’s supposed addition of softer detailing on the latest models to expand appeal, we still reckon that this beast does little to hide its rough and ready style.

Comfort and interiors in the Land Rover Discovery

Our Comfort Rating9 / 10

While older models aren’t the most comfortable, rear seats still do a reasonable job for long journeys. However, by 2004 the Discovery had the interior design down to a T. Now this SUV has luxury written all over it, and the results are spectacular. Apart from cosy seating for all occupants, the superb build quality and cabin detailing really live up to the upmarket appeal. The latest edition uses a monocoque aluminium chassis, which creates even more interior space.

What features you'll find in the Land Rover Discovery

Our Features Rating7 / 10

All trims on the latest Discovery come with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and a DAB radio. The infotainment and sat-nav system is a serious piece of tech that does more than you’d think. It can fold down the rear seats at the touch of a button (even on your smartphone) and you can connect it to your Apple smartwatch. It should be noted that many features on older cars – like sat-nav, leather seats, parking sensors and metallic paint – were optional. However, plenty of trims made up for the lack of equipment on the base models. If you’re big on creature comforts, choosing a mid-line model is the best option.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Land Rover Discovery

Our Fuel Consumption Rating7 / 10

The vast size of the Discovery doesn’t equal excellent fuel efficiency, but it does stay on par with rivals. On the latest editions, diesel engines manage 28.3 – 33.6 mpg while petrol engines deliver 23.6 mpg. Older engines, in general, won’t be as efficient as those that haven’t done significant mileage. Expect anywhere between 19 and 30 mpg depending on how well the Discovery has been taken care of. The Discovery seems to keep to these numbers fairly well – used model owners say that they’re quite happy with the mileage, even after extended use.

Running costs of the Land Rover Discovery

Our Cost Rating7 / 10

Given the vast number of trims, the latest Land Rover Discoveries can fall anywhere between Group 33 and Group 42 for insurance. You should aim to balance the features list well if you want better returns. Emissions on diesel engines are at 197g/km, which is okay, but the petrol underdelivers here at 222 g/km. In general, service costs for Land Rover are higher than comparable rivals like Audi and BMW. If picking up a used car from 2016 or 2017, check the service history thoroughly as some engines were unreliable and required far more servicing than usual due to an oil leakage issue.

Our verdict of the Land Rover Discovery

4.0 rating

4 / 5 Gumtree rating

Want to accommodate everything you need for long road trips and holidays? The Land Rover Discovery is a classic workhorse that will take the family on years of adventures.