Nearly new buying guide: Land Rover Discovery 5

Land Rover Discovery Mk5 - hero front

A front and rear panoramic roof, black grille, roof and tailgate, Landmark badging, a tarted-up interior and a Park Pack are included on the top spec Disco

There’s so much to love, but at what cost? We weigh up the choices

Loved for its go-anywhere ability and practicality, the Land Rover Discovery 5 is a green Barbour jacket on wheels, as happy foraging for parking spaces in Kensington as traversing muddy fields in the Cotswolds. Indomitable on road and capable of wonders off it, few rivals can match its all-round appeal.

This fifth generation features an aluminium monocoque and is based on the same architecture as the contemporary Range Rover Sport, weighing in substantially less than the much-loved Mk4 Discovery it replaced. Its looks remain, but it offers vast amounts of interior space and seven very usable seats.

There’s a good choice of engines, too, with four cylinders or six. There are three diesels, the 237bhp 2.0-litre SD4, the 254bhp 3.0 TD6 and the 302bhp 3.0 SDV6, or petrols that include a 296bhp 2.0-litre Si4 and a supercharged 335bhp 3.0 V6.

Click here to buy your next used Discovery from Autocar

Four equipment levels make up the range, starting with the least expensive S, which gets air conditioning, alloy wheels and a 10in touchscreen. SE adds electric leather seats, sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers. HSE features a panoramic glass roof, heated second-row seats and keyless entry, while top-of-the-range HSE Luxury adds electric sunroof, heated and cooled seats and four-zone climate control.

Now, you can get your hands on a good Discovery 5 from around £30,000, this for a 2017 2.0 SD4 diesel with average mileage and a full history. Look for a 3.0-litre diesel of the same vintage for around £31,000. Spend around £33,000 on a 2018 2.0 SD4, between £33,000 and £40,000 on a larger-engined and higher-specced 2018 model, or between £38,000 and £45,000 on 2019 cars from a franchised dealer.

On the road, this is a comfortable and assured car with an upmarket air and some smart interior touches, only let down by a fiddly infotainment system. The tall driving position and excellent visibility give a commanding view of the road, and the standard air suspension gives a delightfully wafty ride. All the engines are refined, too.

But it’ll cost a bit to run. The most economical (on paper) SD4 only records an official 33.6mpg, and the 3.0 SDV6 a mere 31.5mpg. Expect even lower real-world figures. You’ll pay the supplementary luxury car tax on top of the standard VED, too.

You’ll also find that servicing and repair costs are high. Once your car’s out of warranty, find an independent specialist to look after it; they usually charge significantly less than Land Rover dealerships and are often just as knowledgeable, if not more so.

Then there’s reliability: Land Rover doesn’t have the best reputation. While some swear by their Disco, others mutter only mild oaths towards it. You have been warned.

BUYER BEWARE

Engine A small number of 3.0 SDV6 engines suffered crank failure which you can’t predict or do much about except ensure the front balancer shaft is checked for true running, the oil pump is replaced with the cambelt and the auto gearbox is flushed out at around 40,000 miles, all to reduce vibrations and crank bearing rotation. Staying with the 3.0-litre diesel, its particulate filters seem to self-clean far more frequently than expected. This can result in contamination of the oil sooner than you’d think, potentially resulting in more frequent servicing being required.

Body Check for parking scrapes above and grounding scrapes below.

Suspension Be sure it sits level and that there are no broken springs or leaky shocks. 

Interior Check the InControl Touch Pro infotainment system isn’t too ‘buggy’. An update should help.

Need to know

The Discovery finished in the bottom three of the luxury SUV section in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, with 41% of models suffering faults. Over half took more than a week to fix. Land Rover as a brand finished 31st out of 31 manufacturers.

During inspection check the spare wheel, which is positioned under the rear of the car, is still there. They’re easy to steal, so it’s possible the current owner hasn’t even noticed it’s gone.

One issue involving the diesel-engined cars is their particulate filters seem to self-clean far more frequently than expected. This can result in contamination of the oil sooner than you’d think, potentially resulting in more frequent servicing being required.

Our pick

SD4 HSE: If you can stretch to it, HSE adds even more luxury, and is also the most widely available, so it’s our favourite trim. Pair with the moderately efficient SD4 for the best-balanced Disco.

Wild card

SDV6 HSE Luxury: Who could resist the emotive power of the 302bhp 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel and that well-equipped HSE Luxury trim with its 8.0in rear screens and 825W Meridian surround sound system? Not me.

Ones we found

2017 Discovery 2.0 SD4 S, 30,000 miles, £31,000

2018 Discovery 3.0 TD6, 25,000 miles, £36,995

2019 Discovery 3.0 SDV6 HSE Luxury, 10,000 miles, £52,995

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