2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE Review

Land Rover Discovery Road Test Review

2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE Overview

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 TD6 SE which is a middle range model with the biggest engine.

The Discovery has had a mixed history. The first versions were excellent and provided a relative alternative to the LandCruiser style that had 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.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE 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.

Don’t misunderstand my comments, I really like the look of this model. It’s just that 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.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE Interior

The 5th generation Discovery is a comfortable place to sit. The car we tested has heated leather seats with electronic adjustments with additional lumbar support. I have to say that they are exceptionally comfortable.

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 height and reach adjustable steering wheel feels just right in the hands.

The dash has two clear dials on the outside and a MFD in-between. The ergonomics are spot on for the driver. I love the dial transmission selector, didn’t at first but really do now, however I recently tested a RAM 1500 and it had a similar design but on the dash, which allowed more centre console space.

The centre stack houses the A/C controls etc. and above is the 10 inch touch screen. The good design extends to the cup holders 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.

Hidden cubby stowage in the central console is capable of holding four iPads or a pair of two-litre drinks bottles. A central armrest cubby large enough to house five iPads with a lid that hinges through 180 degrees to function as an armrest even when open. Hidden small-item stowage behind the fold-down Climate Control panel

One thing that is pleasing is that visibility, especially through the ‘A’ pillars is better than most other similar vehicles. In fact the overall visibility is probably class leading.

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.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

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.

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.

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.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE Features

Stating the features of the Discovery is a perplexing task. Because there are simply so many options and combinations. The list is as long as my leg and often extremely expensive. It is easy to consume $20-$30,000 in options over the purchase price on things that make sense but are expensive.

Some key features and options include:-

  • 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 combine with a,
  • 14-speaker Meridian digital surround system with an additional subwoofer, 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).
  • Another technology feature for active families is 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. Holding the waterproof Activity Key up to the ‘D’ in the Discovery badge on the tailgate simultaneously locks the vehicle and disables the ordinary key, which can be left safely inside. This leaves customers free to run, swim, ride or play without worrying about the security of their vehicle.
  • 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.
  • The innovative feature allows owners to rearrange the seats from inside a shop while they queue to pay for large or bulky items, ensuring the vehicle is perfectly configured to accommodate their purchases.
  • All three rows are available with heated seats – heated and cooled in rows one and two – while massage seats are available for the driver and front passenger to optimise comfort on long journeys.
  • Auto Access Height technology reduces the ride-height by up to 40mm as passengers prepare to enter or exit the vehicle.
  • Automatic LED headlights with LED DRL’s and rear fog lights.
  • New dual-purpose Powered Inner Tailgate. When raised, the fold-down panel at the leading edge of the load area operates as a practical load restraint, but when lowered the 285mm overhanging section doubles as a useful bench for event seating or changing muddy footwear,

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE Engine and Drivetrain

The Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE is powered by a V6 Turbo diesel engine that produces 190kW @ 4,000 rpm of power and a silky smooth 600Nm @ 1,750 – 2,250 rpm of torque.

This runs through a smooth and responsive ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox that seemingly is mated perfectly to the engine characteristics. This is a seriously good combination.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

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 7.0L/100K. You could get it lower, but the enjoyment of the powerful engine probably goes against that.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE 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 mountains on the Bells Line of Road to Bathurst for a car launch and it was just easy. It displayed true linear acceleration, exceptionally responsive throughout the rev range thanks to the low delivery of torque, responsive to minor steering inputs and enough feedback to engage the driver.

It’s definitely not a sports car, but 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. The engine, transmission combination is spot on.

It was cold, really cold on the trip and the heated seats were pleasantly received. 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.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

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.

I didn’t have the opportunity to take it far off road or on the sand this time, or tow anything. However I have with previous models and, well let’s just say, it matches any other 4WD. I would 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.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

Towing is effortless and matching 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 gearchange 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.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

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.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE 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

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE 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)
  • 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
  • Optional Park Assist – Parallel Park, Parking Exit And Perpendicular Park

2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE 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.

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 TD6 SE Summary

I would have to say the Discovery was impressive. It is a long way from previous models and while it has morphed into a sophisticated urban SUV it also retains 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.

It’s good to see the Discovery back.

Land Rover Discovery TDV6

What’s Good:

  • 4WD capability
  • Engine performance
  • Ride, Handling and Safety

 What’s Not So Good:

  • No thrid row A/C vents
  • Lack of 4WD Tyre options for 21 inch wheels
  • Expensive and long Options list

Also look at:

Model: 2018 Land Rover Discovery TD6 SE

  • Model Price:                      $101,731 RDAP NSW $124,000+ as tested with options
  • Engine:                               3.0L DT V6
  • Drivetrain:                         Eight speed Sports Automatic 4WD Dual Range
  • Power:                               190 kW/4.000 rpm
  • Torque:                              600 Nm/1,750 – 22.50 rpm
  • Safety:                               5 Star ANCAP
  • CO2 Emissions:                  189 g/km
  • Economy:                          7.2 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

Overall Rating     89/100

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