Another year, another win for the Land Rover Discovery. This is the seventh year in succession that the big Land Rover has won the heavyweight category.
The class of 2016 provided the Discovery’s toughest fight yet. But judged on its towing ability, the Land Rover can still show its newer rivals a thing or two.
It’s just so stable. Whether it’s the kerbweight of well over two-and-a-half tonnes, or the brick-like aerodynamics which punch a big hole in the air for the caravan, the Discovery is such a reassuring car to tow with. Even at 70mph, it seems to have ability in reserve.
It’s not just capable in a straight line. It recovered quickly from aggressive steering inputs, and breezed through the lane-change test. Even on the third and fastest run – and on a damp test track – it stamped its authority on the caravan.
There are quicker tow cars than the Discovery, but the 30-60mph time of 10.4 seconds shows the strength of the 3.0-litre engine. With 443lb ft of torque, the Discovery pulled over our 1-in-6 test hill at little more than tickover. In fact, whatever we asked of the Land Rover as a tow car, it rose to the challenge without breaking sweat.
There are areas in which the Discovery has fallen behind, though. Carbon dioxide emissions of 203g/km are high compared with the Audi Q7’s or Volvo XC90’s. The gap is big enough to make a significant difference to a company car driver’s tax bill.
The interior of the Discovery may be practical, but it’s starting to look and feel a bit old hat compared with the Audi and Volvo, and Land Rover’s infotainment system is a couple of generations behind what its newer rivals offer.
The Land Rover fights back with pretty much a full house of all the practical features that a tow car driver might look for. With seats six and seven tucked away there’s room for a full complement of holiday bags, the air suspension has a self-levelling function, the car comes with trailer stability control, and there’s a useful reversing camera.
As an everyday car for everyday drivers, we can understand why our colleagues at What Car? now prefer other big 4x4s. But for anyone who tows regularly, the Discovery is still as good as big tow cars get.
(Please note: the model pictured is Landmark spec.)