The Land Rover Discovery is the 2019 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne commended
This is the third consecutive win for the Land Rover Discovery in our New Car Awards. Despite rivals such as the BMW X5 and X7 arriving over the last 12 months, as well as ultra-luxurious models like the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the Disco beat off competition with its better balance of luxury and refinement, space, kit and cost.
The brand moved this fifth-generation model even more upmarket, combining the class of a Range Rover with the practicality of a seven-seat SUV, and while the styling might split opinion, there’s no denying the Discovery’s ability. The four-cylinder diesel engine lowers the car’s price point and offers a little more efficiency, but we’d still stick with the Sd6. The extra torque – 700Nm in total – means that the Disco’s bulk is easily shifted, plus the smooth V6 hums under the bonnet so refinement is better, too. Air suspension adds to this relaxed feel.
Inside, the driving position is great, there’s plenty of technology available (features such as massaging seats ramp up the luxury element and improve comfort) and remote raising or lowering of the rear-most seats from switches in the cabin boost flexibility.
Each of the five rear seats folds individually, while there’s plenty of space in the second and third rows. Three adults will easily fit in the middle row; it’s a little tighter in the rear, but there’s still enough room for shorter journeys. If you only occasionally need the third row, fold the seats down and there’s 1,137 litres of load space on offer. This is a car that’s been designed for family life, with thoughtful touches such as hidden storage behind the climate control panel, a sliding cup-holder tray above a huge central storage bin, and twin gloveboxes complementing the rest of the versatile package.
From the ride to the unobtrusive powertrain, the cabin and material quality to the practicality that the big seven-seat body brings, the Discovery is every bit a large premium SUV and, currently, the best in the business.
Our choiceLand Rover Discovery Sd6 SE (£57,060)
The Sd6 engine suits the Discovery’s refined nature, while SE trim brings everything you need at a slightly more affordable price. You get heated leather seats, parking sensors and a rear camera, a 10-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, a load of safety tech, LED headlights and Land Rover’s Terrain Response system – all of which means that it’s a versatile, luxury SUV with plenty of performance.
The X5 is a new addition to this class over the last year. It’s based on a new platform, features more tech, is more luxurious and the engine line-up is great; the straight-six diesels offer lots of grunt, great refinement and strong efficiency. Seven seats are also available, so there’s no denying that the X5 has moved BMW’s offering forward.
There are no diesel engines in the Mk3 Porsche Cayenne line-up, but the option of smooth petrol powertrains and a plug-in hybrid variant mean that Porsche’s large luxury SUV is more appealing than ever. It’s easily the most dynamic car in its class, yet comfort isn’t really sacrificed and the infotainment system is bang up to date.
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