Discovery. it’s Not only the name of a Land Rover, it’s also the mindset that most caravan owners have.
After all, caravanners head off to the best caravan parks looking for new places to explore, safe in the knowledge that they’ve got their overnight abode with them every step of the way.
The Discovery 4×4 looks like the ideal used tow car for them to do that in, because it’s large, practical and designed for off-road. But Land Rovers also have a reputation for the odd glitch. Caveat emptor.
What’s the interior of a Land Rover Discovery 4 like?
In essence, this generation of the Land Rover was a heavy facelift of the Discovery 3, and the good news is that cabin space and practicality are two huge strengths of both versions.
For a start, there are seven seats, and the Land Rover Discovery 4 is slightly unusual, in that there’s reasonable legroom and headroom in even the rearmost pair of seats. When they’re not in use, they fold flat into the boot floor to leave a huge load area. There is a large amount of room for the people in the front two seats, and those in the middle row can sit three abreast in comfort.
And on the rare occasions when you need to fold down all of the five rear seats, you’re left with a 2558-litre load bay, which is simply enormous, giving you plenty of room for packing those extras, such as a caravan washing machine.
Better still, all of the windows are huge, and each row of seats sits slightly higher than the one ahead, which helps with the view – car sickness shouldn’t be an issue with younger travellers.
As for quality, the Discovery 4’s interior looks classy and feels like it can shrug off a hard life. But there’s no getting away from the fact that the layout and technology feel decidedly out of date these days.
How does it drive?
The Discovery is no lightweight, at getting on for three tonnes, but doesn’t feel it from behind the wheel. The steering is direct, and the air suspension does a superb job of blending comfort with body control.
Yes, the body rolls a bit in corners, but it doesn’t feel like a ship in a storm, which some large, soft off-roaders can.
Better still, that boxy body means you can easily see and judge each corner.
The 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged diesel engine is the perfect tool for tow car drivers, because it’s strong and smooth and works superbly with the automatic transmission.
When towing, the Discovery remains utterly unfazed. It can tow the heaviest trailers, and is unaffected by side winds or buffeting when overtaking large vehicles. Emergency lane-changes barely ruffle its composure, while hill starts are easy, and traction is resolute on slippery surfaces, traits that we look for in the best tow car.
If there’s one qualifier, it’s that the diesel engine is fond of a drink, a thirst enhanced by the aerodynamics of the shape.
What will it tow?
- Kerbweight: 2583kg
- Towing limit: 3500kg
- Towball limit: 150kg
- 85% match: 2196kg
- Insurance group 40
- Annual VED £675
- Average economy 36.7mpg
- Interim/full service £107/£147
- Servicing prices supplied by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262,
Land Rover Discovery 4 problems
Some of the Discovery’s common problems include an issue where the car won’t move when ‘D’ is engaged on the gearbox. This can be a starter motor problem, oddly.
Knocking noises from the rear of the car can be faulty suspension bushes, while whistling noises from up front can be a faulty turbocharger.
Always make sure to get a thorough inspection carried out before you buy.
A full list of the vehicle recalls can be found at check-vehicle-recalls.service.gov.uk.
What to pay for a used Land Rover Discovery 4
- High: Price: £39,900; model: 2016 3.0 SDV6 HSE; miles: 22,500
- Sweet spot: Price: £17,000; model: 2013 3.0 SDV6 XS; miles: 66,000
- Low: Price: £4500; model: 2010 3.0 SDV6 HSE; miles: 108,000
There are few finer tow cars than the Land Rover Discovery 4. Spacious, comfortable, well equipped, it’s completely fuss-free when hitched. Just be aware that it can be thirsty, and reliability is not a given.
- A useful towing aid can be a good pair of mirrors – take a look at our caravan towing mirrors guide if you’re after a pair.
Or you could try…
Audi Q7 (2006-15)
The Q7 represented Audi’s first go at building an SUV, and was quite the success. It makes a great tow car, too. It’s large, with seven seats (although the rear two are really for kids), and it has a reasonable boot, albeit not as big as the Discovery’s. It’s supremely stable while towing, and unfazed by blustery side winds and emergency lane change manoeuvres.
Kia Sorento (2015-20)
A 2020 example of this seven-seat Sorento costs roughly the same as a 2012 Discovery. And it’ll be just as well equipped. This was the version of the Sorento that proved Kia had upmarket intentions – even entry-level models have alloy wheels, parking sensors and sat nav. It’s a capable car, and there is likely to be some of Kia’s seven-year warranty left.
Volvo XC90 (2001-)
The first-generation Volvo XC90 is not the sort of car you might use to clamber over rocks in the back of beyond, but it is a large and comfortable SUV, with seven seats, that aces its job as a tow car. It’s strong enough to handle a heavy trailer and doesn’t drink too much fuel while doing so. It’s well equipped, too, although you’ll have to live with an interior designed long before touchscreens.
Other recent tow cars we’ve looked at include:
- Used Kia Optima Sportswagon: this makes a good choice if you’re after a practical option for a medium-sized van.
- Used Ford Ranger: we think this is a rugged pick-up that should have no problem taking you and your tourer anywhere.
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