Land Rover Discovery review – Luxury and capability in one good-looking SUV – TopAuto
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Land Rover Discovery review – Luxury and capability in one good-looking SUV

Without a doubt, the Land Rover Discovery R-Dynamic HSE is the most luxurious car we’ve had in the TopAuto parking lot.

At R1.78 million, this Land Rover sits squarely in the high-end luxury SUV category – and every inch of its cabin epitomises this.

It is no longer the rugged Land Rover in the family. That part is now played by the Defender.

The Discovery has evolved to become the city-slicker that competes against the Germans on-road – and destroys them off-road.

Off-road credentials

Against its main competitors – like the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Porsche CayenneVolvo XC90and VW Touaregthe Land Rover Discovery comfortably leads the pack with its off-road credentials.

These include a 900mm wading depth, electronically-locking centre and rear differentials, permanent four-wheel drive, a configurable Terrain Response system, off-road specific camera programmes, air suspension, and large approach and exit angles.

It’s also one of the most practical, offering a maximum towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes, a maximum cargo capacity of 1,231 litres in five-seater mode, and seven seats.

Now you might think that the additional backseats – which take the total to seven – are the type reserved for small children, but that is not the case.

I was able to fit into the rearmost seats with a few centimetres of headroom and legroom to spare, and I am 1.98m tall.

Urban appeal

While the Discovery is a proper off-roader, its urban appeal is clear in the R-Dynamic guise – with stylish bumpers and side skirts, and low-profile wheels.

These components were the reason I did not take it beyond your average dirt road – as the 4×4 course I had in mind would not be kind to these shiny parts.

For the avid off-road enthusiast, it’s also worth noting that the Discovery does not have 4×4 low range.

Besides this small concession, the Discovery is exceptional.

After being put through a well-thought-out facelift in 2021, it looks fashionable and sporty, built for Saturdays in Kruger Park and Mondays in Sandton.

Additionally, the air suspension system, metallic paint, and 21-inch alloys fitted to this model gave it different personalities at different times of the day.

In “access” height the suspension lowers for easy entry and exit, the tyres are almost kissing the wheel arches, and the Discovery looks sleek and fast.

In off-road mode, the suspension extends to let the roofline stand almost 2.0m tall, and the Discovery looks ready to tackle more than most of its owners will ever throw at it.

The ride of the SUV is also top class. A 3.0-litre, turbo-diesel engine provides 221kW and 650Nm – which is handled by an eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive system.

The rapid acceleration of the 2.3-tonne Land Rover took me by surprise when I drove it home the first night, and I immediately had to look at its 0-100km/h sprint time.

At 6.8 seconds, it’s not that far off the new VW Golf GTI (6.4 seconds), and the exhaust sounds good inside the cabin, too.

The SUV’s weight makes itself known around bends and when pulling away, and the air suspension makes the ride slightly wavy.

Luxury on the move

When it comes to comfort, you’d be hard-pressed to beat this Discovery.

All seven of its seats are heated, with the front two featuring 20-way electrically adjustable, ventilated, and massaging features.

Every seat and headrest can be folded down by a button on a screen, a heated steering wheel warms your hands while a powered centre console cools your drinks, two separate sunroofs keep the cabin well-lit, a wireless charger keeps your phone juiced up, and the configurable instrument cluster provides heaps of information.

Added to this is the 11.4-inch curved infotainment display that offers all the new-age connectivity features you could ever want – including a Wi-Fi hotspot – and sounds are played through a superb 20-speaker Meridian sound system.

Additionally, the LED headlights with high-beam assist shine like the sun and rarely need manual intervention.

Adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist virtually steers the car itself, rear cross-traffic alert keeps you safe when reversing out of your driveway, rear-exit assist warns passengers not to open their doors, and blind-spot assist works like a charm.

This SUV also has more cameras than the set of a movie, which let you inspect what’s around the vehicle from the central screen – in both first and third-person views.

This particular Discovery is also capable of parking itself.

With a tap on the screen, the SUV immediately searches for parking spots around it, and once it finds one, another tap on the screen allows you to let go of every control while it neatly manoeuvres itself between the lines.

No accelerator, no brake pedal, no steering wheel touched – it completely parks itself in inch-perfect fashion.

It also has a deployable towbar that only shows itself when needed – at the press of a button, of course.

A powered inner tailgate that doubles as parcel support, as well as outdoor seating for up to three adults, is further included.

This is paired with a button that lowers the entire rear-end of the vehicle for easier loading and unloading into the boot.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea.


The Land Rover Discovery is a great option if you’re in the market for a modern luxury SUV with lots of bells and whistles.

It competes against the hordes of luxury German SUVs roaming the streets, while it arguably gives you more for the money.

With a unique and handsome look, a powerful engine, comfortable cabin, lots of features, and class-leading capabilities, the new Land Rover Discovery is an attractive proposition in a popular segment.

Land Rover Discovery R-Dynamic

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