- Land Rover’s most powerful model with go-anywhere ability
- Modern interior with plenty of on-board technology and seven-seat practicality
- Superb driving dynamics and handling with excellent towing capabilities
- Quite expensive when options are factored in
- Watch out for sharp hard plastic edges when you go searching for the steering wheel adjustment lever
- Rear-end styling has the marmite effect - some love the off-set number plate, others don't
The Discovery is 30 years old and to celebrate such a landmark birthday Land Rover has launched a special model which is rather aptly named the Discovery Landmark edition.
Based on the SE model, the Discovery Landmark gains additional dynamic exterior styling and a more upmarket interior. The vehicle is available powered by Land Rover’s SD4 240hp and SD6 306hp diesel engines.
And of course, the stylish seven-seater special edition boasts all the off-road capabilities along with dynamic handling associated with the Land Rover name over the decades.
On The Road
The Discovery Landmark edition is available with two diesel powertrains - the SD4 240hp or the SD6 306hp, both of which are mated to an automatic eight-speed transmission with paddles for extra driver engagement.
We opted for the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder SD4 Ingenium model with 430Nm of torque which could reach from 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds and topped out at 121mph. And although it’s not quite so fiery as the SD6 model it still blitzed its way along country lanes with rapid-fire acceleration and ample power in reserve for overtaking slower-moving vehicles.
Although the latest generation Discovery has lost quite a lot of bulk, it still weighs in at more than two tonnes. So it would be fair to expect a 2.0-litre engine might struggle a little driving such a powerhouse, but it doesn’t. The throttle reactions are instant and the power keeps on coming. The road-holding is nice and grippy meaning bends can be tackled with confidence although it’s worth remembering that this is a high-sided SUV so you may experience a little body roll if driven too enthusiastically.
The Discovery Landmark cruises at motorway speeds and proved deceptively nimble in busier town centre traffic too where the elevated driving position delivers superb all-round visibility - provided the trio of huge rear headrests are lowered.
Comfort levels within the Discovery Landmark are excellent thanks in part to the air suspension that is fitted as standard. The ride is well-cushioned without being wallowy and body roll into bends is kept to a minimum so long as corners are treated with a little respect.
Our car was sitting on much larger 21-inch wheels than the standard model which can be specified with 19-inch wheels. These certainly looked the business but the ride would have been more comfortable on smaller wheels, and the fuel efficiency and carbon emissions figures would have been better too.
The steering is nicely weighted with ample driver feedback but the reactions are not quite as impressive as some other premium rivals'.
But in fairness, the Discovery over the years has been viewed as a working vehicle and was often the ‘go-to' car for builders and farmers who needed to keep moving throughout the harshest winters and could tow trailers full of feed out to animals in remote areas without getting bogged down. And this new generation Discovery is still just as capable off-road and would certainly excel where most other rivals fall by the wayside.
Refinement is an area where Land Rover scores highly and this special edition lives up to high expectations too. Taking the SE as a starting point, the Landmark edition gains a Dynamic Exterior Pack. This includes a more purposeful front bumper design and Narvik Black mesh grille and fender vents. Narvik Black nameplate scripting can be found on the tailgate and bonnet and there is also some unique Landmark badging.
There are fixed front and rear panoramic sunroofs, front fog lights and Hi-Line tail lights, plus privacy glass and special gloss black alloys to complete the styling.
The interior is available with either Ebony or Acorn grained leather - ours was in Ebony. There is a satin-brushed centre console and special aluminium mesh finisher to set this model apart. Factor in the 380W Meridian sound system and the Landmark model is very refined indeed.
Up front, the seats can be heated or cooled and even the second-row passengers are treated to heated seats.
The car’s intelligent and advanced suspension system smooths out all but the harshest of bumps and dips along the way. And the Land Rover Discovery, thanks in part to its new aerodynamic design, is well insulated against wind noise. You can expect to hear a little road surface rumble and engine sound but only when pushed hard.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Getting a comfortable driving position inside the Discovery Landmark is simple enough with 12-way power-operated seats that move every which way possible. The steering wheel is manually adjusted and has plenty of movement too. However, you do need to go searching beneath the wheel for the lever and there are some rather sharp hard plastic edges sticking out.
However, on a plus note, the level of on-board technology at your disposal and the classy layout of the cabin cannot fail to impress. The good old Discovery has really got the ‘wow’ factor.
There is a 10-inch touchscreen Touch Pro infotainment system and a whole host of creature comforts, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, TV, navigation system, Wi-Fi hotspot, DAB radio and plenty more besides.
A lower interface is where all the settings for the climate control are located with separate dials and buttons for the Terrain Response system for driving off-road or in more adverse weather conditions.
It sounds like a lot to absorb, but the controls are very user-friendly and the touchscreen nice and responsive.
Space & Practicality
The Land Rover Discovery has always been viewed as the absolute powerhouse of a working vehicle with go anywhere, do anything ability. And although the latest fifth-generation model may look more of a crowd-pleaser with softer styling cues, Land Rover announced at launch back in 2017 that it was, in fact, the “most capable and versatile vehicle it has ever produced”.
With 3.5-tonne towing capabilities, it can wade through water up to 900mm deep (an increase of 200mm over Discovery 4), it has ground clearance of 284mm and features Land Rover’s multi-mode Terrain Response system which makes off-roading much simpler even for novices.
The latest model is also 480kgs lighter which is beneficial all-round with better handling and improved economy.
The Discovery is a seven-seater model with two seats that fold flat to the boot floor when not in use. On higher spec levels, these seats can be power-operated along with the trio of second-row headrests, but on our test car, it was all manually operated. This is fine unless you forget to lower those headrests because they do block the visibility through the rearview mirror quite considerably.
Storage space depends on how many seats are being used. With seven seats occupied there is 258 litres of luggage room, but drop the seats in rows two and three and the space opens up to a whopping 2,406 litres. There are plenty of handy compartments scattered throughout the car too with a double glovebox, deep central cubby, huge door pockets, a sunglasses holder, cup holders and trays.
The boot also has a fold-out seat which is handy for picnics and the car’s height can be raised or lowered at the push of a button making it easier to load heavy items. This resets automatically to drive height when the car starts up.
Premium vehicles with all the driving and off-road ability, plus luxurious fixtures and fittings that the Discovery Landmark boasts do not come cheap. Our model had a starting price of £57,350, but a number of optional extras such as black roof rails, heated front and rear seats, surround camera system, an advanced off-road capability pack, 21-inch alloys with a full-sized spare, and a few other add-ons saw the final cost creep up to £62,590.
According to the official figures, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder SD4 240PS model can deliver a combined fuel economy of 30.0-33.6mpg under WLTP testing with carbon emissions of 194g/km (NEDC). This CO2 figure would result in a first-year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £1,280 which would drop down to £145 the next year.
However, there is more expense to factor in because under new tax regulations introduced in April 2019, cars with a list price above £40,000 pay an additional £310 supplement for five years.
The Land Rover Discovery Landmark falls into insurance group rating 36.
Quality & Reliability
Land Rover is a company that has struggled in the past when it comes to reliability, with some customer surveys putting them at the lower end of the scale.
However, the vehicle is as tough as they come and with its outstanding off-road capabilities, the Discovery should withstand anything Mother Nature can throw in its path and still keep going.
The interior is very well put together and there is certainly no concern about the longevity of the switchgear and upholstery which is of a very high standard. The latest vehicles do feature some very smart touchscreen technology that looks amazing and works very efficiently, but only time will tell how reliable it remains.
The Land Rover Discovery Landmark comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty.
Safety & Security
The Land Rover Discovery was awarded the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP rating and there are all manner of packs that can be added to improve safety specifications and driver assistance aids even further.
Our test car featured autonomous emergency braking, hill descent control, dynamic stability control, roll stability control, emergency brake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, gradient acceleration control, trailer stability assist, a tyre pressure monitoring system, auto high beam assist, lane keep assist, park assist, a rearview camera, a driver condition monitor, Isofix fixtures and a full suite of airbags.
A clever feature is a warning signal on the rear passenger doors that lights up if there is a passing vehicle or cyclist to avoid causing injury.
The car is fitted with an advanced alarm system to keep uninvited guests at bay.