The 3-row, 7-passenger 2018 Land Rover Discovery features extensive use of aluminum helping it feel light and nimble. A choice between a supercharged gasoline V6 or turbodiesel ensures respectable fuel economy and power, and the advanced terrain-management setup guarantees the new Discovery can travel to off-road destinations unattainable to an Audi Q7 or Acura MDX.
You'll Like The 2018 Land Rover Discovery If...
If you’ve been looking at 7-passenger luxury SUVs, but deep down you really want something with Jeep-like off-road abilities, the 2018 Land Rover Discovery has your name all over it. Its diesel engine and car-like driving characteristics give it a leg up over the less advanced Lexus GX 460.
You May Not Like The 2018 Land Rover Discovery If...
If you’re not interested in the Discovery’s off-road abilities or unproven track record, you can spend less and get the same level of luxury from an Acura MDX, a Volvo XC90 or GMC Acadia Denali. Fans of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are out of luck.
For 2018, the Discovery sees the diesel engine offered across the line, while the 10-inch Touch-Pro navigation screen and automatic emergency braking are made standard on every model. A new Head-Up Display (HUD) is offered on HSE and HSE Luxury trims, and both trims gain a new 12.3-inch interactive driver display.
All trims of the 2018 Discovery can seat seven passengers across three rows, but that configuration is optional on base and HSE models, which seat only five. Unlike other 3-row midsize SUVs, even adults can use the third row without feeling punished. The best seat remains the driver's. The frontal view out is great, and we continue to praise the infinitely adjustable armrests on the sides of the front seats. Cargo space behind the third row is very tight, but grows to roughly 40 cubic feet with the third row folded, and nearly 83 with the second row down.
The Discovery’s exterior shuns the blocky SUV design long associated with classic Land Rover SUVs, becoming softer and more rounded. The new language is clearly in step with the Range Rover and the Discovery's little brother, the Discovery Sport. While the shape has changed, the Discovery is still one tough and functional premium SUV, boasting over 11 inches of ground clearance. One of the LR4's signature design elements -- an asymmetrical, 2-piece tailgate -- is gone, but we welcome the standard power-operated one in its place. Moreover, the Discovery still offers a hidden inner tailgate that can hold up to 600 pounds.
That this mid-level luxury SUV reminds us so much of being behind the wheel of the larger, more expensive Range Rover speaks volumes about the 2018 Discovery’s design. Light years ahead of the old LR4, the Discovery not only rides and drives better than its predecessor, it is vastly quieter inside. Most owners will find the supercharged gasoline V6 more than adequate with an ability to propel the Discovery to 60 mph in under seven seconds. However, if you’re seeking maximum torque and fuel economy, we’d go with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel. The Discovery’s on-road manners are everything you’d expect from a Land Rover, and the same can be said of its off-road abilities. Be it loose sand, sloppy mud or deep snow, the Discovery’s Automatic Terrain Response fears no obstacle. Want more control? A number of user-selectable settings and an available low-range allow the driver to push the Discovery to its limits.
The 2018 5-passenger Land Rover Discovery has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $53,100, including destination. The 7-seat Package, with air suspension and a 2-speed transfer case, is an extra $2,150. The same can be said for the more recommendable HSE model, which begins around $59,500. If you want a diesel Discovery, you’ll need to add another $2,000 to the bottom line. HSE Luxury models begin closer to $65,500. At its starting point, Land Rover’s 2018 Discovery carries a larger price tag than 7-passenger rivals like the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and QX60. It is most in line with the rugged Lexus GX, which begins around $52,850. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to make sure you're getting the best deal. Since it's still relatively new, the Land Rover Discovery's resale value is still unknown, but we expect it to hold similar values as the Discovery Sport, which is below Lexus and Audi but slightly better than BMW and Cadillac.
For 2018, the Discovery is available in three trims: SE, HSE and HSE Luxury. The least expensive Discovery includes a supercharged V6 engine, full-time 4-wheel drive with single-speed transfer case and Terrain Response 2 system, dual-zone climate control, fixed panoramic sunroof, emergency braking, navigation, leather interior, 12-way-adjustable front seats, hands-free power tailgate and rear parking sensors. The basic infotainment system includes a 10-speaker, 250-watt audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and 10-inch touch screen. SE and HSE models come with 2-row/5-passenger seating. A 3-row/7-passenger setup is optional. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still not offered.
We'd recommend at least the HSE trim, with tri-zone climate control, 380-watt Meridian audio, and power inner tailgate. It also opens the door to several option packages. The HSE Luxury comes with seating for seven, air suspension, 2-speed transfer case, 825-watt Meridian audio, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel and 16-way front seats. Further options include surround camera system, blind-spot monitoring, traffic-sign recognizer, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. A locking rear differential makes this a serious off-roader.
While the Discovery has not strayed from Land Rover’s mission to tackle the world’s toughest terrain, it has made getting there a lot more enjoyable. Most would never guess this luxurious 7-passenger SUV can also climb steep hills and navigate through water nearly three feet deep.
Technology lovers will enjoy the Discovery’s numerous high-tech gadgets, including a waterproof Activity Key wristband that allows access via the power tailgate and a set of power folding seats activated via the owner’s smartphone.
Under the Hood
Two V6 engines are available for the 2018 Discovery. Standard is a potent supercharged V6 gasoline engine. Optional is the V6 turbodiesel first seen in the Range Rover. The gasoline-engine Discovery feels swift, but we like the extra grunt and efficiency of the diesel. Both are connected to a smooth 8-speed transmission. All Discovery models feature full-time 4-wheel drive. A single-speed transfer case is standard. Those who wish to off-road this off-roader should get the 2-speed transfer case, the air suspension and locking rear differential. Towing is impressive. Gasoline models are rated at 8,201 pounds, while the heavier diesel models are rated at 7,716 pounds. Both engines use an idle start/stop system, which can be abrupt at start-up. Thankfully it can be switched off.
3.0-liter supercharged V6
340 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
332 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: est. 16/21 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6
254 horsepower @ 3,750 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-2,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: est. 21/26 mpg
As Land Rover finalizes a move away from its old body-on-frame SUVs, some worry its newest models won’t have the same rugged feel and off-road capability. In the case of the 2018 Land Rover Discovery, a far more civilized, efficient and luxurious SUV has emerged, one that gives up nothing in its ability to tackle the great outdoors. Thanks to an extensive use of aluminum throughout the vehicle, the 3-row, 7-passenger Discovery feels lighter and more nimble than the old LR4, and its choice of supercharged gasoline or turbodiesel engines ensures ample power with respectable fuel economy. Land Rover’s advanced terrain-management setup guarantees the new Discovery can travel to off-road destinations no Audi Q7 or Acura MDX will ever reach.