2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Review


2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Overview

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 – Land Rover Discovery 5th generation was launched in Australia in August 2017. This is the latest incarnation of a revolution in 4WD vehicles that started 27 years ago.

We are testing here the Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 which is a higher spec model with the smaller diesel engine. Recently we tested the TDV6 SE and you can read that review here. Many features are the same between the vehicles.

The Discovery has had a mixed history. The first versions were excellent and provided an alternative to the LandCruiser style. With more car like features and luxury. However over the generations the model has been plagued by a legacy of problems with electrics and poor quality build.

However the 5th generation seems to have turned this around with greatly improved customer satisfaction rankings, much better build quality and seemingly no issues. For me that is a great thing as I have always been a big fan of the Discovery. As this is the second model I have driven in recent times that fondness I can say is growing.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Exterior

The Land Rover Discovery has gone soft in its looks. That is to say, previously it had a squarish, boxy shape that seemed to exude an off road appeal. This latest version looks much rounder, softer and way smaller than it actually is, especially from the front.

Let me state here that I actually really like the new design. The rounded rear is probably the only angle that is a little different but overall its looks great.

However I can hear the enthusiasts moan about the loss of the traditional shape. It does retain some subtle design elements from its predecessors such as the stepped roof, shaped rear door area etc. However the new design is a radical departure from previous models.

The shape is also misleading in appearance, especially when you look at the approach and departure angles, wading depth and ground clearance. You scratch your head and wonder how. Again clever and very stylish design.

From the front is looks like it sits squat and low with a wide open stance, giving it a sportier like appearance. This is accentuated by the full optional 21 inch wheel tyre combination filling the wheel arch space. Using a Range Rover-based aluminium-intense monocoque structure allows both weight saving and a lower stance.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Interior

As you step inside you are welcomed by a degree of comfort reserved for a few SUV’s with generous front electric leather seats that will cocoon the passengers for many kilometres. They are heated as well for those colder mornings.

As many readers know I am 190cm tall and a bit larger than the average bear, but can find a perfectly comfortable driving position. The electronic height and reach adjustable steering wheel feels just right in the hands. There are simple controls for cruise control and the central dash MFD as well as paddle shift levers. The indicator and wiper stalks are easy to see and reach behind the spokes.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

The dash is a familiar two dial with customisable MFD between. White on black and crisp graphics. Simple and excellent driver ergonomics. There is however no heads up display which could be expected for the price.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

Next to the driver in the centre console and transmission tunnel. The layout is well designed with the cupholders being alongside the centre transmission selectors to not interfere. The centre console bin is a decent size, two tiered and has convenient USB and 12V inputs there as well. There are convenient storage spots everywhere, including a double glove box arrangement, door holders, rear cup holders, little cubby holes for the third row seats, hanging hooks and grab handles for easy entry exit. Well thought out and placed.

The centre stack houses the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system with a 10-inch touchscreen. Crisp graphics and easy-to-navigate menus incorporate the latest navigation and entertainment technologies including door-to-door navigation, which can share directions to a paired smartphone to help customers’ complete journeys on foot. Seamless iOS and Android connectivity.

With optional 4 zone AC one thing that was slightly annoying was the need to hold down the recycle button for the A/C to maintain recycling. I had to do this every time I started the engine. My A/C runs 24/7/365 on recycle.

The 5th generation Discovery continues the customary stadium seating configuration, which sees each row of seats positioned higher than the one in front, ensuring every seat has clear view.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

The rear seats are better suited for two adults and a child. While there is enough head and shoulder room, the knee room is limited for taller passengers if there is a tall driver. There are a couple of smart front seat back pockets, cup holders in a fold down arm rest and a couple of 12V outlets but no USB ports.

Third row seats are accessed from the sliding middle row and access is for the acrobatically inclined. However they are definitely amongst the better in all similar vehicles for comfort and size accommodation. They are also electronically controlled.

Both third-row seats incorporate ISOFIX mounting points (four in total), so families have the freedom to put child seats in the most appropriate seat for any journey.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

The rear seats do have nifty storage bins each side but no A/C vents or hopper windows.

The boot is large and can accommodate enough luggage for a family trip. It also has handy hooks for hanging shopping etc. and a cargo barrier can be added. Rear seats fold flat and the middle row folds flat in a 40/20/40 configuration to allow a huge and practical storage area.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE 15

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Features

The HSE version is full of standard features being a higher spec but some highlights include:-

  • 14-speaker Meridian digital surround system with an additional subwoofer, optional DAB and Wi-Fi to provide the ultimate listening experience, whether streaming songs online or playing music directly from a connected device.
  • Up to six 12V charging points and as many as seven USB sockets (up to nine when the rear seat entertainment is fitted).
  • Land Rover’s state-of-the-art Activity Key wristband, which allows customers to enjoy sports and active hobbies without carrying the standard key fob.
  • Intelligent Seat Fold technology, allowing customers to reconfigure the second- and third-row seats with minimal effort using controls at the rear of the vehicle, the central touchscreen and even remotely via a smartphone app as part of the InControl Touch Pro Services.

Other features include:-

  • 12-way electric grained leather front seats
  • Electrically adjustable steering column
  • Ambient Interior Lighting
  • Natural Shadow Oak veneer
  • Treadplates with metal inserts
  • Acoustic laminated windscreen
  • Heated door mirrors
  • Heated rear window
  • Rain sensing windscreen wipers
  • Automatic headlights , LED headlights with signature DRL
  • Signature Hi-Line tail lights
  • Auto High Beam Assist (AHBA)
  • Front and Rear fog lights

Options fitted to the test vehicle:-

  • Sliding front sunroof and fixed rear panoramic roof – $4,370
  • CAPABILITY PLUS PACK (inc. All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC), Terrain Response 2, and Active Rear Locking Differential) – $3,270
  • 21″ 10 SPLIT-SPOKE ‘STYLE 1012’ (replaces 20s) – $2,450
  • Electrically reclining 2nd row seats (7 seats) – $1,980
  • Surround Camera System – $1,650
  • Activity Key – $960
  • Four-zone Climate Control – $950
  • BLACK PACK – $920
  • 360 degree Parking Aid – $850
  • Advanced Tow Assist – $850
  • Heated front seats – $850
  • Heated windscreen – $480

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Engine and Drivetrain

The Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE is powered by a 2.0L SD4 Ingenium diesel engine that produces 177 kW @ 4,000 rpm of power and a reasonable 500Nm @ 1,500 rpm of torque.

This runs through a smooth and responsive ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox that seemingly is able to extract the best from the engine.

Fuel use is minimal, even with a heavy right foot and we got around town about 9.5-10L/100K. On a trip that dropped to around 6.5L/100K. You could get it lower, but I found myself wanting to extract more from the engine. It will cruise effortlessly though.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 What is it Like to Drive and 4WD capability

On road, the Discovery drives more like a sedan that a 2000+ kg SUV.  I took the Discovery on a drive through the Watagan Mountains and up to Port Stephens as well as around the city.

Sitting and driving there are a couple of things you immediately notice. The first is that the window sill and centre console bin are at the perfect height for resting my elbows. I know there is a separate fold down arm rest, but I didn’t use it. The second is that the visibility is excellent, especially the ‘A’ pillars that are designed in such a way to minimise the impediment.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

In isolation the SD4 is a good engine. It will lug the hefty weight of the Discovery around town with a modicum of fuss, quietly. However when compared to the TDV6 it does particularly feel the lower torque.

It displayed a little reluctance down low but once up and going, especially on the freeway the smooth engine cruised without fuss. The steering was engaging and responsive to minor inputs and allowed the driver to drive, which might sound silly but it isn’t.

Land Rover have performed an amazing design job with the suspension. The Discovery drives better than almost any other true 4WD on the market. It’s quiet, smooth on the road with the sublime suspension soaking up almost all road irregularities, comfortable and really enjoyable.

I did manage to do a bit of dirt road driving. Land Rover sorts their suspension better than most for this type of driving. It was simply unfazed by whatever I threw at it. Corrugations and mid corner bumps were dismissed with contempt. And this is on 45 series road tyres. The lightweight body feels tight.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

Although the new Discovery looks soft, it isn’t and retains the strong 4WD DNA. I would however, be extremely hesitant though to take it very far from tar on the road tyres. So for the true enthusiast, there would probably be two sets of rims and tyres. Off road tyres for larger diameter rims are hard to find though.

If I was towing anything on a regular basis I would definitely opt for the TDV6 as the SD4 will tow but you will notice anything heavy on the back. Discovery will match any other similar vehicle with a 3,500kg towing capacity and semi-autonomous Advanced Tow Assist to take the stress out of difficult reversing manoeuvres

Discovery’s legendary 4WD performance comes from Land Rover’s multi-mode Terrain Response 2 system which optimises a range of settings, from throttle sensitivity to gear change characteristics, to suit the driving conditions at the turn of a rotary controller – and can even select the optimum setting automatically if drivers are unsure of the best choice.

When tackling particularly challenging terrain, All-Terrain Progress Control (ATPC) can be programmed to autonomously maintain a suitable crawl speed chosen by the driver. The clever technology allows the driver to concentrate solely on steering the vehicle as they negotiate obstacles, without the distraction of operating the throttle or brake pedals, and can also be used from a standstill to help when pulling away on slippery surfaces.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Dimensions

  • overall length of 4970mm,
  • wheelbase of 2923mm,
  • width of 2073mm,
  • Height of 1888mm,
  • Wheels and tyres are the optional 21 inch alloy wheels running 275/45 R21
  • Turning circle is 12.3m,
  • Kerb Weight 2230KG (2,5i-S) , GVM of 3050kg, GCM of 6550kg
  • Unladen ground clearance is 228mm (std suspension), 284mm (air suspension opt), Wading depth 900mm
  • Approach angle is 34 degrees, rampover is 30 degrees and departure angle is 27.5 degrees,
  • Towing capacity is 3500kg and tow ball rating is 350kg

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Safety

As you would expect the Land Rover Discovery has a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating. It’s full of features which include:-

  • Dual Range 4WD system
  • Aluminium Monocoque construction
  • A bunch of airbags everywhere
  • Lane Keep Assist With Driver Condition Monitor
  • Adaptive Cruise Control With Queue Assist
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Blind Spot Assist With Reverse Traffic Detection
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC),
  • Electronic Traction Control (ETC),
  • Roll Stability Control (RSC),
  • Cornering Brake Control (CBC),
  • Gradient Acceleration Control (GAC),
  • Hill Descent Control (HDC) and Hill Launch Assist
  • Electric Parking Brake (EPB),
  • Brake pad wear indicator,
  • Emergency Brake Assist
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS),
  • Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD),
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Surround Camera System
  • Trailer stability Assist (TSA)
  • Optional Park Assist – Parallel Park, Parking Exit And Perpendicular Park

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Fit for Purpose

Originally designed as a more affordable 4WD than the Range Rover, the Discovery has morphed into a luxury 7 seat family SUV that sees most of its time doing the school run or towing a horse float to riding school. At these tasks the 5th generation excels.

It looks stylish doing the school run, yet somehow although it matches others for luxury and comfort, it looks less pretentious and is more practical.

Like its more powerful sibling, the SD4 HSE is an excellent around town vehicle, but with better economy traded off against less power.

However despite the softer appearance and on our test vehicle, low profile tyres, the Discovery also offers the prospect of real adventure, even if it’s only an aspiration for most.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE 17

2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4 Summary

I spent two weeks in the SD4 HSE on its own and in comparison with two other luxury SUV’s. When you are faced with a choice you quickly get a feel for which car you prefer. I chose the Discovery almost every time

It was easy and comfortable to drive, very economical, felt lithe despite its size and provided a smooth ride over all surfaces. This is a perfect family SUV that combines prestige, comfort and the promise of adventure, retaining its strong 4WD DNA.

The fifth-generation model benefits from Land Rover’s strong, safe and light full-size SUV architecture, delivering comfort and adaptability like no other.

This generation Discovery is definitely the best all-round version to date.

2018 Land Rover Discovery SD4 HSE

The Good:

  • 4WD capability
  • Features and comfort
  • Ride, Handling and Safety

The Not So Good:

  • No third row A/C vents
  • Lack of 4WD Tyre options for 20 inch wheels
  • Prefer the TDV6 engine

Also look at:

Model: 2018 Land Rover Discovery HSE SD4

  • Model Price: $115,830* RRP as tested with options
  • Engine: 0L SD 4 Ingenium
  • Drivetrain: Eight speed Sports Automatic 4WD Dual Range
  • Power: 177 kW @ 4.000 rpm
  • Torque: 500 Nm @ 1,500  rpm
  • Safety: 5 Star ANCAP
  • CO2 Emissions: 189 g/km
  • Economy: 4 L/100km (ADR comb)
  • Tow Capacity: Max 3500 kg
  • Tow Ball Rating: 350 kg
  • Servicing: Capped Price 12 Months/26,000KM
  • Warranty: 3yr/ 100,000 km with full roadside assist

*Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP

Overall Rating     88/100

  • Behind the Wheel 9
  • Comfort 9
  • Equipment 9
  • Performance 8
  • Ride & Handling 9
  • Practicality 9
  • Fit for Purpose 9
  • Towing Ability         10
  • Off Road Ability 8
  • Value for Money 8