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Adjustable seats, Adjustable steering column/wheel, Air conditioning, Alarm remote controlled, Alloy wheels, Automatic, Bumpers in color, CD Multichanger, Central locking, Electric windows, Foglights, Folding rear seats, Front electric windows, Front head restraints, Heated seats, Remote locking, Tinted Windows.
OK once rolling
Rugged, comfortable, spacious, versatile.
Only one engine
Slow off the line
It feels its size
Rear side bags?
No base A/C?
The third Discovery model modernises the trademark Discovery look, but with limited success. The detailing is excellent around the lights and front, but the flanks are slabby and dull and the big black wheelarch extensions cause even huge wheels to look tiny. The colour range is also poor.
The V6 diesel gives its all, but it has a lot of car to lug around: 0-100 takes 11.5 seconds (12.8 with the auto) and top speed is an adequate 180km/h. It feels much livelier once it’s rolling, though. The V8 used to hit 100 in 8.6 seconds and top 195km/h. Shame there's no V8 diesel offered.
The Discovery rides superbly, soaking up bad roads and big distances with ease. It hangs on gamely in corners without rolling too much. The steering is actually very direct, but you’re always aware of the size and weight of what you’re driving.
The Discovery’s dash would be ergonomically perfect, but for the odd angle of the centre console. This makes using the excellent stereo and heater controls slightly awkward. The electric window switches are also badly placed, but these are minor gripes. It’s a very user-friendly cabin otherwise.
The Discovery feels well made and the plastics are mostly expensive soft-touch items. Refinement is good, if not spectacular. The ride quality on air-sprung models is excellent, but there’s a fair bit of tyre noise at speed.
Each Discovery has full-time AWD; ESP; Hill Descent Control; anti-roll technology; front, side and full-length curtain airbags; ISOFIX child seat mounts, 3-point seat belts and headrests for all rear seats. S+ adds air suspension and Terrain Response; SE adds foglamps and park aids. HSE adds Xenons.
The seven-seat Discovery is incredibly useful. All five rear seats are comfy and adult-sized, but also fold easily into the floor. There are storage spaces everywhere and it can tow or carry stuff on the roof. The split rear tailgate is another handy feature and, of course, you can take it anywhere.
The Discovery isn’t expensive compared to premium-brand rivals and it offers greater utility than most. Top-of-the-line seven-seaters undercut base X5s and are cheaper to run, but resale values may not be as robust.
The S gets a 6-sp manual, 2-ratio 4WD, 17” alloys, remote locks, power windows & mirrors, CD player. S+ adds Terrain Response, trip computer & 7 seats. SE adds 18” wheels, premium stereo, foglamps, auto lights, cruise control, park aids & A/C. HSE adds bi-Xenons, electric leather seats & Sat Nav.
Only one engine is offered in the Discovery as of 2007: the 190hp, 440Nm 2.7-litre V6 diesel. It's ideally suited to cruising, load lugging and serious off-roading even if it isn’t the most responsive off the line. The 299hp 4.4 V8 was much faster but alarmingly thirsty and wasn't popular.