I was offered what is apparently referred to as the Toorak tractor! Or the Chelsea tractor in the UK! Apart from being renowned for being AMAZING off-road, the Land Rover Discovery SE is perhaps better known as a school drop-off vehicle. So I was keen to find out why it's so popular and put it through our BabyDrive testing!
Well, let's just start with the obvious! This is one of the few seven-seaters I've tested that actually has five top tether anchorages and four sets of ISOFix points! So it's a seven-seater that can actually seat seven!! Woop Woop!! I could install five child seats in the Discovery: three forward-facing seats fitted across the second row, which was great, and another two fitted in the third-row.
I could sit between two child seats in the second row and I'm 162cm. Accessing the third-row seats means you do have to uninstall at least one child seat in order to bring the second-row seatback forward and climb through. I suppose you could leave the central position empty and bring the seat-back forward so the kids climb through. If you don't have the cream leather upholstery of the one I tested!!
Legroom in the Discovery we found was good but not the best. With a rear-facing child seat in the second row, a 182cm passenger can sit in front and a same-sized passenger can just about go at the back as well. They have plenty of kick room and headroom but not lots of knee room in the third row.
Storage inside the cabin is very good; the third row has excellent storage, USBs and usable sized cup holders. The second row has two 12V sockets, the door bins and cup holders are thoughtfully sized and double map pockets and wells mean there are plenty of crevices for kids to tuck things into!! In the front, the central console houses practical cup holders, a large storage box and phone tray as well as plenty of 12V and USB points. And then there's the double glove box, glasses case and practical front door bins!
In the boot the storage is VERY minimal when using all seven seats. Especially with the retractable roller blind stowed creating an uneven boot floor.
There is however an electric flap that folds up to keep the contents in place.
When only using five seats the boot space is fantastic and you could carry a large dog around in the back. I found eighteen shopping bags fitted or all types of stroller fitted in the boot, with good amounts of shopping bags beside them.
One of my favourite features about the Discovery is that you can raise and lower the height of the car, making loading and unloading the boot easier. I also found this useful when driving under my low garage door.
My second favourite feature is the child lock button on the driver's door, it locks both the doors and windows so you don't need to worry about little passengers in the back fiddling with them while you are driving.
There is also a REALLY good seatbelt removal display in the driver's display screen, which lights up red or green to tell you exactly who has and hasn't got their seatbelt fastened in all three rows!
Although I found the media system outdated in the Discovery and without Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the camera image is very clear and very good. You can also turn the parking sensor volume up and down using the volume controls on the steering wheel, which is excellent!
Using the in-built sat nav you can mute the navigation voice volume easily with a button in the nav menu. Which I found really simple and easy to do when driving.
The Discovery was a smooth and quiet car to drive, it felt very sturdy and solid on the road. I got extremely lost on a drive one day and ended up on dirt roads and the Land Rover was really enjoyable and surprisingly came into its own a bit! If you only ever drive yours around town then I recommend taking it off-road for a bit of a spin!!
When you have five child seats installed in the back, visibility is compromised especially out of the back window as you really can't see much at all. The excellent camera quality and different camera angles helped with this when maneuvering and parking around town.
Overall I found the Land Rover Discovery to be a practical and enjoyable BabyDrive, which I imagine is why they are so popular for school drop off! The storage features and charging points throughout the car are very well thought out and the look and feel of the car is very nice too. The perforated cream leather interior would not be my choice for a family car and I was rather paranoid about my sultana loving daughter for the whole week but it escaped unscathed!!
It is a weigh up between five-seater with exceptional boot space and using all three rows of seats and not really any boot space at all! While keeping in mind that accessing the third-row seats with three child seats in the second row does mean un-installing a child seat or two!
The Land Rover Discovery scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2017 and comes with six airbags as standard. Both front passengers get front and side chest airbags and side head curtain airbags extend to all three rows of passengers.