2018 Land Rover Discovery Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The 2018 Land Rover Discovery can handle nearly any driving situation you throw at it. When cruising along the highway, you'll enjoy quick acceleration and a cushioned ride. On twisty stretches of road, the Discovery will handle turns with composure. Once the pavement ends, this SUV will easily keep moving along on terrain that many other luxury SUVs couldn't dream of conquering.

  • "Fresh from it rebirth last year, the 2018 Land Rover Discovery continues to win over converts who swore they'd never give up a body-on-frame SUV for one with a unit body. But, where this transition has terminated the off-road abilities of so many Lexus, Audi and BMW SUVs, the new Discovery suffers from no such affliction. The lightweight aluminum body retains all the traditional gear needed take this 3-row, 7-passenger vehicle anywhere a larger Range Rover can go." -- Autotrader
  • "It's no chore to amble up a crooked pass, to roll up its pants and wade through the mud – and presumably effortless to crowd half of a soccer team inside and cross the 'burbs to the field." -- Autoblog (2017)
  • "Land Rover says the Discovery is as quiet and smooth as a Range Rover and we don't doubt it. It really is whisper quiet at, ahem, legal-plus speeds." -- Autoweek (2017)

Acceleration and Power

All trim levels come standard with a 340-horsepower, supercharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 332 pound-feet of torque. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder engine that puts out 254 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque is available in all trims. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The gas engine is quite thirsty; its 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway fuel economy rating is one of the lowest in our luxury midsize SUV rankings. On the flip side, the Discovery’s turbodiesel engine is one of the most efficient in the class. Its rating of 21 mpg city/26 mpg highway translates to $800 a year in fuel savings over the supercharged V6 engine. 

Regardless of which engine you choose, the Discovery has ample power. With the gasoline engine, the Discovery has brick acceleration, while the turbodiesel has smooth, torquey power that's great for off-roading. When properly equipped, the Discovery can tow up to 8,201 pounds.

  • "The gasoline-engine Discovery feels swift, but we like the extra grunt and efficiency of the diesel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Both V6s felt smooth and refined and plenty powerful, though the diesel gets a slight nod thanks to its torquie off-road abilities." -- Autoweek (2017)
  • "… the blown gas V6 might move the Discovery around effortlessly, but the charismatically torquey turbodiesel V6 is the one that wins you over. Its raw numbers – 254 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque – don't convey it, but the engine is a sweetheart. At a roughly $2,000 premium, the quiet-idling diesel is a worthwhile upgrade." -- Autoblog (2017)

Ride, Handling, and Off-Roading

The Discovery has a plush ride over rough pavement and stays composed through turns. There's also little lean when going around corners. Unlike many luxury SUVs, the Discovery can easily keep going when you leave the pavement. Thanks to standard four-wheel drive, hill-descent control, and the Terrain Response system (which lets you select driving modes to match terrain conditions), this SUV can tackle even the toughest of trails. An optional Terrain Response 2 system automatically adjusts to optimize performance based on driving conditions, and it works in conjunction with the available adaptive air suspension and two-speed transfer case.

  • "The Discovery's on-road manners are everything you'd expect from a Land Rover, and the same can be said of its off-road abilities. Be it loose sand, sloppy mud or deep snow, the Discovery's Automatic Terrain Response fears no obstacle. Want more control? A number of user-selectable settings and an available low-range allow the driver to push the Discovery to its limits." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "… the new Disco's body control is better than the Range Rover's, evidencing none of the tippy feeling that characterizes the first few degrees of roll or dive of the pricier model. And that's without any sacrifice in ride quality." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • "The ride quality in all situations is composed – there's not much head-tossing side-to-side movement, washboard gyrations are well damped, and it doesn't wallow on-road. The suspension and seats easily provide a few hours' worth of comfort before you need to stop for a tea break." -- Autoblog (2017)

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