The popular family SUV gets a new platform and revised engines (including, for the first time, a four-cylinder diesel), and promises to usher in a new level of comfort and fuel efficiency when it reaches UK dealers next spring. It will be built at JLR’s facility in Solihull, West Midlands.
Gerry McGovern’s design team at Land Rover has given the new edition of the 26-year-old model a more sophisticated, softer-edged look, that moves it away from the blunt styling that’s gone before, and brings it into line with the Discovery Sport.
This risks alienating existing long-term Discovery enthusiasts, who may consider the new car too upmarket for daily abuse such as towing horseboxes and caravans. However, the latest Disco leaves room in the Land Rover range for a more rugged seven-seat model that’s likely to form part of the reborn Defender family, due to start arriving before the end of the decade. In any case, Land Rover points out that the new car’s towing capacity is still 3,500kg.
The Mk5 Discovery is 4,970mm long – around 14 centimetres longer than the fourth generation – but sits slightly lower, with a roofline of 1,846mm, compared with the outgoing car’s 1,912mm. The Discovery’s switch to Land Rover’s aluminium construction slashes around 480kg from the car’s weight. This, in turn, has allowed the company to plumb in additional safety kit plusher materials and greater soundproofing – as well as introducing Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel to the line-up.
The four-cylinder Discovery will be the cleanest model in the line-up at launch – although the car will likely benefit from plug-in hybrid technology during its lifetime. Badged SD4 and paired with an eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox, the 2.0-litre model will have 237bhp and 500Nm of torque; enough fora 0-60mph time of 8.0 seconds, but fuel economy of 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 171g/km.
The other two engines in the UK market will be a pair of 3.0-litre V6s – a diesel called TD6, with 255bhp and 600Nm, and a supercharged Si6 petrol with 335bhp and 450Nm. The more potent diesel beats its smaller sibling to 60mph (7.7 seconds) and gets close on efficiency, with fuel consumption of 39.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 189g/km.
“The new Disco is claimed to be even more capable in poor conditions”
The petrol is likely to be a tiny seller in the UK; it’s the fastest in the range, with a 0-60mph time of 6.9 seconds, but its average economy of 26.0mpg and 256g/km CO2 emissions wall make it an expensive option.
The Discovery has a strong reputation for off-roading ability and Land Rover claims the new edition is even more capable in poor conditions. The combination of double-wishbone front suspension, an integral link at the rear and air-suspension (standard across the range) means ground clearance can be extended where required, to up to 283mm.
A two-speed transfer box is fitted on all models, and Land Rover’s All-Terrain Progress Control tech is also standard.
It allows the driver to focus on steering while the vehicle controls speed.
In the UK, the Discovery will be sold as a seven-seat model only. Its boot capacity with the third row in place is 258 litres, but with only two rows raised there’s a useful 1,137 litres of storage. Folding down the third, fourth and fifth seats increases its load bay to 2,406 litres.
The new car gets Isofix child seat mounting points in the second and third rows (from SEtrim upwards), and all but the front seats can be lowered and raised electrically using either the touchscreen in the dashboard or a smartphone app.
The new infotainment screen can be as large as 10 inches, if the InControl Touch Pro system is specified.
Pricing for the Discovery will remain roughly the same; entry-level S trim, which is available with the 5D4 engine only, costs £43,495. $E adds some extra kit from £49,495, while the top trims are HSE and HSE Luxury, costing from £56,995 and £62,695 respectively.
All of these are available with either the SD4, TD6 or Si6 engines. At launch, one of 600 TD6-powered ‘First Edition’ cars will cost from £68,295.