The legendary 'Disco' is back and Ed Coles is impressed with the new look, a full range of gadgets and a set-up as rugged as ever in his review for Shooting Times
The mighty ‘Disco’ has gained many followers over the past three decades, most sporting some sort of country attire rather than looking like an extra from Saturday Night Fever. The Discovery has evolved, but has always been a constant in town and country. But does the Disco 5 carry that mantle?
We’re taking a look at the higher-spec Discovery R-Dynamic SE D250. As the name indicates, it’s a bit more sporty, so it gets sportier bumpers, trims and lights, along with rather nice 21in wheels, all-terrain tyres and a few extra goodies. The Disco 5 comes in two different models, standard and R-Dynamic, and three different trim levels — S, SE and HSE. There are four engine options — 250 diesel, 300 diesel, 300 petrol and 360 petrol — and all come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
On first impressions, it’s clearly a luxury SUV. From the front, in its low-slung, standard position, it looks very sporty and I like the bear-claw features on the bumper trims. The edges have been softly sculpted, set off by the upgraded Matrix LED signature DRL headlamps, which blend nicely with the rugged grille.
In standard suspension mode, there’s still a decent 207mm of ground clearance, which is plenty to deal with the odd rut or bump. The Disco 5 has bigger aspirations than that, though. In its highest ‘off-road 2’ setting, the air suspension is raised to a whopping 283mm.
Under the bonnet, there is a six-cylinder three-litre turbo diesel engine that stables 249 tiny horses and produces a hefty 570Nm of torque. That’s plenty of power to haul its three-tonne-plus bulk. Despite its size and weight, the D250 has a top speed of 120mph and gets to 60mph in 7.6 seconds.
The the back is the Marmite element, but the bulbous rear grew on me. It looks better when it’s jacked up in off-road mode.
Treble the space
Using the auto function, the tailgate glides up and a little flap folds down from the floor. There’s a reasonable amount of space for kit of the sporting and four-legged variety, and around eight full bags of wheat. With the centre row of seats down, we could easily double that, possibly even treble.
As well as umpteen charging points, there are also a few buttons for the electric tow bar and a suspension button for making loading easier. The built-in dog guard was relatively successful in keeping my petulant cocker in the back but it can’t stop the barking.
Crouching down, we get a good view of the independent rear suspension and can make out the hefty diff and upgraded transfer box. This Discovery has an advanced off-road capability pack. The add-on offers all-terrain progress control and twin-speed transfer box.
The Discovery’s interior can only be described as luxurious. It’s very spacious and comfortable, with 18-way adjustable heated seats and all-singing climate control. All the gadgets, driver aids and settings are operated from the central touchscreen. It’s not overcomplicated, but you need a few moments to suss it all out.
The Discovery is fully loaded and comes with all the latest witchcraft and gadgetry, far too much to list fully.
Pulling out of my moon-surface drive, the Land Rover Discovery 5 handles the craters well, even in standard suspension mode, though there was a fair amount of rocking coming from the child seat. On country lanes, it holds the road well and glides comfortably over any uneven surfaces.
The steering is quite precise and doesn’t resemble a boat in any way, which is an improvement. It’s quite responsive and, despite its size and weight, doesn’t feel cumbersome through the twisty bits. It’s only really under heavy braking that you become aware that you’re in a three-tonner.
On the open road, it comes into its own. Cruising is comfortable and quiet, so long runs won’t leave you aching.
With more off-road settings than I need, it’s time to head off-piste. With suspension set to ‘off-road 1’ and 4×4, the Disco made short work of the gravel and sand on the track leading to the woods. It was the same on the rutted woodland track. It was pretty nimble through the twists. Some of the bigger ruts and potholes tested the suspension travel, but it dealt with them with minimal slipping and sliding.
With the 4×4 in auto mode, you don’t notice adjustments it makes from hard to slippery ground, but manual switching lets you feel everything adjust and tighten up. It’s rather impressive.
Conclusion Land Rover Discovery 5
The new Land Rover Discovery 5 goes above and beyond its predecessors. I was really impressed with it, particularly off-road. It could be the perfect sporting vehicle. There are a lot of settings and gadgets but, once you familiarise yourself, it’s pretty user-friendly.
The main point of contention is the price. The standard R-Dynamic SE starts off at an OTR price of £59,605. Throw in the extras of metallic paint, lockable rear diff, advanced off-road pack, privacy glass, electric tow bar, fancy headlamps and wireless phone charging and this Discovery comes out at £64,640. That isn’t cheap, but it’s not bad compared with some competitors. It has the same level of kit, but far more capability.
Need to know
- Manufacturer Land Rover
- Model Discovery 5
- Top speed 120 mph
- 0-60mph 7.6 seconds
- Power 249bhp, 570Nm of torque
- Fuel economy 33.3mpg
- Emissions CO2 222g/km
- Towing weight 3,500kg braked 750kg unbraked
- Ground clearance 207mm standard 283mm, off-road
- Wading depth 900mm
It could be the perfect sporting vehicle