The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
SUV fans will love the Discovery's lofty driving position; it feels significantly higher than most of its rivals'. And it’s easy to set everything up just how you want it, especially on SE models and above, because 12-way electrical seat adjustment comes as standard.
Whichever trim you choose, there’s lots of up-and-down and in-and-out movement on the steering wheel; you have to make adjustments manually on S and SE trim, while HSE and HSE Luxury models have electric steering wheel adjustment.
The Discovery’s dashboard is also user-friendly, thanks to clear dials and chunky buttons that are designed to be used even when you're wearing gloves. Go for HSE trim or above and the analogue instrument dials behind the steering wheel are replaced by a configurable digital display. It's clear and can show lots of information, but it isn’t quite as good as Audi's Virtual Cockpit equivalent.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Lots of glass and that lofty driving position combine to give you a great view out in all directions. Forward visibility is particularly good, so it’s surprisingly easy to thread the Discovery along narrow urban streets or between tight hedgerows.
To help with night visibility, SE models and above get LED headlights as standard. These are upgraded with high beam assist in HSE Luxury trim, although we found this system to be inferior to that in many rivals by taking too long to switch from high to low beam and back again.
The Discovery is a long car, so seeing out of the back isn’t quite so easy. Thankfully, all models have front and rear parking sensors plus a reversing camera as standard. And if you’re a particularly nervous parker, you can specify a surround-view camera which gives you a 360deg bird’s-eye view of the car.
Sat nav and infotainment
All trims have a 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and a DAB radio. When you step up from S to SE trim, you also get a built-in sat nav, a Wi-Fi hotspot and a more powerful stereo.
The infotainment system is a bit slow-witted; it can make you wait while it processes your commands. Being a touchscreen, the icons can also be tricky to hit without diverting your gaze from the road for longer than you should. That’s one reason we favour the BMW X5’s iDrive system, which has a less distracting rotary dial interface.
Other options on the Discovery include a dual-view screen (the front passenger can watch TV while the driver follows sat nav instructions), and rear screens on the front seatbacks to keep the kids amused.
The Discovery’s interior feels reasonably upmarket. Okay, there are a few more hard plastics and rough edges than you’ll find in a Q7 or X5, but the areas your hands regularly come into contact with feel solid and look effortlessly classy.
Likewise, the dashboard buttons and electric window switches don’t operate with quite the slick precision they do in the best German rivals, but they stop short of feeling low-rent.