The Land Rover Discovery is the Rodney Dangerfield of the British brand’s lineup.
Engine: 3.0L I6 Turbo
Output: 355 hp, 369 lb-ft
Transmission: 7DCT, AWD
US fuel economy (MPG): 18/24/21
CAN fuel economy (L/100KM): 12.8/9.8/11.4
Starting Price (USD): $57,950 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (USD): $72,850 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): $71,950 (inc. dest.)
As-Tested Price (CAD): $89,050 (inc. dest.)
The Defender, Range Rover, and Range Rover Sport get the lion’s share of the attention. But the Disco takes a lot of the same core Land Rover attributes and repackages them in a family-friendly, practical package. The luxury mid-sized SUV scene is a crowded one, and newer, flashier competitors have forced the Disco into the background.
A recent round of updates has given us as good a reason as any to re-examine Land Rover’s middle child. With a peach of a powertrain, the Discovery is the dark horse of its segment, offering up a solid blend of style, luxury, tech, and utility.
Not a whole lot for 2022. The Disco saw some choice upgrades inside last year, including a new steering wheel and repositioned electronic gear selector. JLR improved its tech suite as well, with a larger touchscreen running Pivi Pro, more USB ports, and wireless phone mirroring.
There wasn’t a whole lot of change outside, either. The bumpers and headlights came in for a round of modernization, but this is still easily identifiable as a Discovery—offset license plate included. Land Rover has been running with this smooth design language for a while now, and it continues to work on the mid-sized member of the family.
The most welcome 2021 upgrades came under the hood, where the Disco gained a powerful turbo four-cylinder as its base engine. A 3.0-liter inline-six with mild hybrid assist also joined the lineup, and that’s the one we tested here, in top P360 R-Dynamic HSE trim.
While big brother Range Rover is all about the flash, the Discovery takes a far more low-key approach to interior design. The black interior of our test car is very monotone; contrasting piping and stitching doesn’t go far enough, though the brushed aluminum accents are nice. Bits of neoprene give the Discovery a sense of adventure, and the leather work is all top-notch. It’s a quality interior, but the Disco has a slow-burn appeal that won’t immediately catch potential customers’ eyes like a Genesis GV80 or even the new Jeep Grand Cherokee.
A day in a Disco is all you need to start greeting folks with “hello down there.” It’s a noticeably tall perch, which makes sense of the door-top window controls. On the flip side, the door handle is one of the most awkward examples I’ve ever witnessed, since it’s right beside the driver’s knee. The low window line helps with sight lines—good, since this is a big rig. The upright seating position puts a lot of stress on my ankles on longer journeys, but the seats themselves are comfortable.
The second row is a good place for adults to spend time, though the door opening is smaller than expected. Once in, the seats are supportive, but headroom is hindered by the headliner gap between the moonroofs. At least Land Rover has pushed the second panel back, so those who occupy the third row won’t be left in the dark. It’s still best suited for kids back there, with a low cushion and a tight path past the second row, but nothing in this class has a truly spacious way-back anyway.
Keep those seats up and the cargo space is a sports-car-like 9.1 cubic feet (258 liters). Press a button and watch them slowly fold flat for a much more useful 45.0 cubes (1,274 L); drop the middle row and you’re up to 74.3 cu-ft (2,104 L).
The Disco can tow a surprising 8,200 lb (3,719 kg) when properly equipped.
Better infotainment experience
Jaguar Land Rover has made leaps and bounds with its latest Pivi Pro infotainment system. The 11.4-inch screen is angled upwards for better visibility, and features an effective anti-glare coating. The design is smooth and slick, though that consistent design language makes it harder to operate via peripheral vision—a criticism I also level at the similar setup in modern Kias. Wireless phone pairing is standard too, so I’m able to use CarPlay easy-peasy. Switching between the two is simple, as well. True to form, the Discovery has a robust off-roading menu that can show all manner of vehicle information. Front-facing cameras also give the driver a view “through” the hood of the SUV, so you can more easily navigate jutting rocks. Or parking lot curbs.
It’s a simple thing, but I love the JLR physical climate controls. Rotate those big tactile dials for cabin temperature, push for seat temperature, and pull for fan speed. In an age where everyone is trying to migrate these oft-adjusted settings to a feedback-free touchscreen, this still reduces clutter. Win-freaking-win.
The Meridian sound system is very good, with clean, crisp notes. It couldn’t quite match up to the powerful McIntosh system of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in our recent comparison, however.
That mild-hybrid inline-six is a sweetheart of an engine. At 355 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, it’s down on most everything else in the category. Yet in practice, the 3.0-liter Ingenium is one of the best, smooth and effortless in its power delivery thanks to the electron assist.
A ZF-sourced eight-speed auto is an able dance partner, just as it is in so many other applications, including JLR. It will hold gears when needed, where there’s just a hint of the creamy inline-six soundtrack under heavy throttle, and it’ll almost imperceptibly slur the ratios on the highway. Torque hits early and maintains, so around-town poke is plentiful.
The brake pedal is a little spongey, but its long travel allows the Disco driver to precisely mete out stopping power. The steering is lifeless though, which gives the Defender a floaty feel at speed. Contrasting with that is a somwhat stiff ride—likely due to the 22-inch alloys. Owing to its tall, upright proportions, the Disco also deals with considerable wind noise.
Fuel economy during the week got close to the official 21 mpg combined rating (11.4 L/100 km). The start-stop system no doubt helps, but it’s slow on restarts, which can make the Disco jerky heading off from a stop.
Dollars and sense
Be prepared to shell out at least $57,950 ($71,950 CAD) for a 2022 Land Rover Discovery, including destination. That will net you a perfectly useful P300 four-cylinder, with niceties like 14-way power-adjustable (heated) front seats, adaptive cruise control, Meridian sound system, air suspension, and tri-zone climate control.
This P360 R-Dynamic HSE trim sits atop the lineup, with an as-tested price tag of $72,850 ($89,050 CAD). It piles on the goodies, with a heated windshield, 22-inch alloys, four-zone climate control, power-folding third row, puddle lights, and that gem of a powertrain upgrade.
The Disco faces tough competition from the mid-sized three-rows out there, however. The afore-mentioned Genesis GV80 undercuts it by a few grand in comparative top trims. The Korean offering is the new hotness, though you’d be sacrificing off-road capability for that. That’s not a concern with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, even in longer L three-row form. The American has moved so far upmarket that it eclipses the Land Rover in optioned-out Summit Reserve form, but you get a much better tech suite—though a worse engine. We can’t ignore the BMW X5, Mercedes GLE, or Audi Q7 either, though all three are more road-oriented like the Genesis.
Verdict: 2022 Land Rover Discovery Review
The 2022 Land Rover Discovery is a well-resolved family SUV perpetually just outside of the spotlight. A creamy smooth drivetrain, well-mannered on-road experience, and genuine off-road capability gives it solid appeal. It has its issues, namely ergonomic quirks, vague steering, and a tight third-row experience. Overall, the Disco’s low-key nature makes it easy to overlook, but give it some time, and you’ll find it worthy of your respect.
- How much does the 2022 Land Rover Discovery cost?
- The latest Discovery starts from $57,950 ($71,950 CAD).
- How many seats are in the Discovery?
- The Disco offers the option of seven seats.
- Which other Land Rovers feature three rows of seats?
- In addition to the Discovery, the smaller Discovery Sport has three rows, as well as the Range Rover extended wheelbase, and the upcoming Defender 130.
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