D5 - Comprehensive Review

Paul M

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Cliff Notes (summary from end):

So, I'm very lucky to have a few cars, and like any enthusiast (cough - addict) have been in many others, but I have to say that if I had to have one car this D5 is perfect. It goes plenty fast, is comfortable to commute in, can take all our gear (and still fit dog), tows, looks good (not amazing sadly), handles inclement weather like a Rover, and frankly if you can afford one, is good value for what you get.

Full Version:

Ok, so before I start spouting what I think is good, bad, great, and terrible about the D5 I think it is important to note the perspective that I'm coming from.

- I'm a car enthusiast, always have been always will be - the joke at work is that I get a car a quarter (I'm hesitant to test this joke for truth)

- I can work on my own cars - I stop at electrical gremlins and bodywork but I've swapped motors, replaced interiors, upgraded diffs, etc.

- BMW was my first love affair with cars. I still have a fully restored E30, I've had 6 of those plus at least 2 of every other 3-series (e21-f30), including a fairly modified F31 currently.

- Land Rover came into my life about 5 years ago when I was given a D2 for free, and then spent about $25k on it to make it "perfect", except that I couldn't salvage the frame and it went away last year. I currently have another D2 picked up a couple weeks ago getting a new heart amongst other goodies. The D2 replaced a 2012 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

- I've had an LR4 (new 2016 landmark) and a RRS (2014 Supercharged 500hp beast) in the past year (both traded for D5. The LR4 replaced a Colorado that we had new for about 4 months before the LR4.

- My better half has a 2017 Disco Sport

- We tow a 25' Airstream that we mostly live in during the past few summers and will be taking it from NH to WV, CO, WY, SD, CHI, and home this summer - our longest trip to date.

- We are kidless, approaching 40, have a dog, and ski, surf, mtb, road bike, run, hike, mtn run, rock climb, and anything else that seems like it would be fun and outdoors

- We therefore need a vehicle that could tow our trailer, take boards/bikes on the roof but allow us to also store bikes inside at night, got decent gas mileage, looks "badass" as my better half says, could get us to certain biking/hiking/climbing locations, but also makes me feel good about the price tag after a 14 hour work day in Boston.

Our D5

2017 HSE Lux TD6
Santorini Black on Black Leather (Seat Pack 5 - massaging seats won the Mrs. over)
22" Wheel option (also have 20" LR4 Landmark wheels with Snows and BFGs KO2's that fit)
Factory Tow Package - with Trailer Parking Assist (not used yet)
HD Package
Center Console Cooler
Bunch of other crap that put me at $80k+ out the door

The Drive

I test drove the SCV6 and TD6 back to back and basically felt that the SCV6 was just like the LR4 whereas around town the TD6 felt more "fun". Since having the TD6 I never get less than 23mpg, have hit 29mpg on a trip, and recently saw 15+ mpg while towing. The engine has plenty of power at low end but also can get up and going to 90mph no problem and on my 140mi "commute" cruises along nicely.

Cornering actually feels more LR4 than RRS, like it does lumber around the corners, but it holds just fine. I wouldn't call the ride sporty by any sense of the imagination but it doesn't feel like I'm driving an F150, and certainly not a Jeep (GC or CJ). The turning radius is great for a vehicle it's size. Again, not an LR4 but this car isn't a shorter wheel base ladder framed vehicle. And note my LR4 didn't turn as tight as my Disco 2, nor does my F31 turn as tight as my E30. This isn't a Land Rover or Discovery issue this is what happens to all cars over time, the get larger, and things change.

I have not taken the car off road as of yet (part of our trip this summer) but we did get a bunch of snow in New England this year if anyone noticed. Thing handled great with snows. It handled as well, if not better, than the LR4, and apples to apples it was the same wheel/tire set-up. Coolest part I found in the snow was the hill descent control that is now adjustable from 10-20mph. Held the car at 20mph flawlessly in the midst of a storm down "3 mile hill" in Franconia NH on the way to ski some backcountry.

Braking the car stops about as you would expect it to stop, similar to the LR4 actually. Now, our RRS had the 6pt Brembo Brakes so it might not be fair to say closer to the LR4, but that's what it reminds me of. I will say that I have Autonomous Emergency braking and it has not gone off yet - and I feel like it should've a couple of times.

Suspension is great. Was great on LR4, phenomenal on RRS (had dynamic), and is still great on this car. I look forward to seeing what it does on more than a dirt road when we go west.

Overall when driving the car (ignoring seating position) I do feel like this vehicle feels more like my LR4 than my RRS but on a sliding scale we are talking like 60/40, so very close to a hybrid of the two. I saw someone say a cross between an LR4 and FPace but I had a Velar for a couple weeks (same as FPace) and I disagree. It is definitely the love child of a RRS and LR4.

The Interior

Seats: So, I'm 5'8" 140lbs and find landrover seats comfy. They are "euro sized" v. the 2015 GC we had that just felt like the seats were too big. I actually find the D5 seats more comfy than the LR4 seats in that they seem to be breaking in a little better and in my 3 hour drive to Boston weekly my twice surgically repaired knee doesn't hurt as much. Yes, the LR4 is higher and more truck like (like the Disco 2, but not as much) and the D5 is more RRS like. The seating position is almost exactly like the RRS and when sitting in the car I feel like I'm sitting in a Range Rover, not a Land Rover. But based on the Disco Sport we have and the D5 this seating position is now a Land Rover seating position for the whole lineup - which 6 sports related surgeries and broken back later I'm OK with - plus I still have a Disco 2, and no it's not like sitting in a BMW 3 Series. And for those that ask "Who needs massaging seats!?!". You'd be surprised. It's not a novelty. After sitting 2.5 hours I flip them on as I hit the city and get out of the car not limping. Also, the seats do fold flat in back. In fact we run rubber mats for the whole back end of the car effectively making it a truck bed.

Infotainment: So I'm part of the 6 year "Oregon Trail Generation". It means that I've had technology in my life since memory serves (Apple IIc) but thankfully didn't have social media until I was out of college. What's that mean? It means that like your kids it takes me about 5-10 minutes to dial in the infotainment. It's lightyears ahead of the LR4 (though I miss automatic cookie crumbs on nav) and I think is fairly on par to my BMW iDrive. While I should want to use Spotify and Apple CarPlay I just pay for Sirius in all my cars because I just don't care enough to curate playlists to drive home. I even listen the radio still (gasp) - that's the Gen X side of me I suppose. The Rover app to start the car works 50% of the time at best - and forget it when it's 10* out and you really want to remote start, but my F31 doesn't have that either. I'm excited to try the trailer integration with the infotainment and will report back. The sound quality is superior to the LR4 and my RRS but not much better than the non upgraded stereo in the BMW. Cameras and parking are great, especially in the city and trying to get it close to walls, etc. to minimize the damage caused by others. In general I'm very happy with what is provided and the things that don't work are things I'm used to not having and don't really care.

Finish: So they screwed up my order and the dark brown wood showed up. Rover made it right and let me swap, I added the Cartography trim from the First Edition. There's a part of me that liked the wood for the texture but the brushed aluminum looks better - though the cartography takes getting used to. I very much miss the day of simple trim where there's just black and metal or black and wood. The center console, etc. are all nice IMO. Are they as nice as my RRS? No. But the equivalent new version of it is $100k+. It is definitely nicer than the Disco Sport - my GF comments each time she gets in that it's nicer. I'd say this part of the car is on par if not slightly better than the LR4. The storage is definitely better than the LR4 as certain areas have grown (dual glove box), hidden panels behind HVAC panel and under cup holders, growth (depth) of cooler, back hiding spots, etc. Black Headliner is a nice add-on to make the car sportier as well.

Trunk: Ok, so in some ways I like the new trunk and in some ways I hate it. Let's start with the fact that I actually hate the split LR4 trunk. Not because it isn't useful (it is nice to have the top part closed and bottom part down to stand on to get to roof) but because I have a Disco 2. BARN DOOR. For anyone that uses a roof rack nothing beats the barn door. I can leave my boards on the roof and put my wetsuit on. Amazing. As far as I'm concerned the LR3 marked the end of the Discover boot being awesome. Now, the rear end of a D2, D3, and D4 all look better than the D5. Even I won't say I think it looks good. Yes black pack helps and yes I put a BMW slimline plate frame on it that also helps. I'm thinking about the startech filler but am not sold. What is great? Kick open on the trunk. Activity Key - surfer's must have. The part that comes out can be sat on like the LR4. The rear window is actually perfect height I can see back through the windows of my AS negating the need for mirror extensions. To me the functionality of the D5 trunk over LR4 is net Neutral except on looks. However, it is lightyears better than the RRS. We actually are able to have two fat bikes in the trunk standing up on their forks (wheels off). I have had three bikes in the LR4 and think I can fit three in the D5 but haven't tried. It's also longer than that LR4 though a little shorter. I miss the square cave of the LR4 but D5 is serviceable to get our bikes in. Note that we can only put one bike in the RRS and even went to the dealer with a bike and can only fit one in the full-size RR (seats don't lay flat). That all said, I purchased another D2 to use as a surf/bike/dog truck because of that trunk.. It's just the best.

Overall, the interior is vastly improved to the LR4 in my opinion. I find it more comfortable, the technology is better, it is similar in size and accomplishes the same thing that our LR4 used to let us do. Most importantly, for me, the seating position doesn't leave me hurting after driving. Is it as utilitarian? No. But the LR4 isn't compared to the Disco 2 either, or even an LR3.

The Exterior

Ok, so it's definitely not as iconic as the LR4, nor is it as sleek as the RRS. The black on black combo with black wheels does look pretty good and hides some of the plain Jane of the car. But for those that think it looks like an explorer put them next to each other. If you didn't know that they were designed by the same guy then would you really say they are copies? From certain angles I think the car looks good. With 275/75's I think it looks badass (SVX). I have factory rails with a Thule rack, that helps. Surfboards on top make it look good too - nothing makes an explorer look good. The rear end, though ugly, is at least unique. Oddly some people don't even notice the plate offset until I point it out. The rear hitch also helps hide things. When I come out to the parking garage at night and walk up to it (usually backed in) I do smile like I did with the other two. Where lots of cars are getting uglier (X3, X5, Mercs, Audis backends, etc) this still looks like the RRS with a good side view - especially with the 22s. Is it perfect? No. But I can find some faults with the LR4 and RRS as well. But I also own an E30 - god's chariot. So anything that's not an E30 is ugly... At least according to the faithful.

Towing

Ok, so this is not a towing thread but let's put some facts out there. The LR4 has a detachable receiver. This is not able to be used with WD. The manual that landrover publishes says 7700 tow and 550lb tongue weight on an LR4 with that receiver. If you add a curt hitch (bolted to frame) you change to 6000 to and 600 tongue but can use weight distribution to get to 8000/800. On the RRS it says 7700 and the manual still says 550 tongue - though the RRS receiver is bolted to frame. Both the LR4 and RRS towed the 7300 Gross with 835 tongue weight trailer (which we usually tow mostly dry) just fine. Hell, found myself with the RRS doing 90mph once (damn 500hp). But at the end of the day regardless of forum opinions and that I never felt unsafe towing with either car if I ever found myself at fault and DOT involved I could basically kiss my life goodbye financially - even if I could prove that everything was "sound". The D5 has 770 tongue stamped on it and those that run WD know it does increase capacity so I'm well within limits. Also, while the Air suspension screws with set-up of the trailer and WD if you do it properly you can balance just right and get the benefits of it. i.e. you can't set it up just like you would coils because of how the WD bars "push" weight into the frame - up and towards front. But if you take the time to play with the geometry you can set it up just right. As far as driving with the trailer goes... best tow vehicle yet. The LR4 was good but felt a little underpowered. I also felt like it was a little twitchy. The RRS had plenty of power but it also felt smaller. Towing with the TD6 and the current platform with the trailer set-up just before towing (we adjusted a bunch of geometry to get perfect level) the car was on the highway flawlessly and the Diesel hands down pulled it better than the SCV6 and even the Supercharged V8. It was just the way it was paired. I now feel confident that I'm within "spec" on weight and that we will have an uneventful trip west this year.

Headlights

These deserve their own section. Auto high beam is sick (even better than LR4 somehow) and the lights themselves are something else entirely. Beats BMW's adaptive Xenon even.

Value

Ok, let's do it this way:

Cars I've recently bought:
LR4 Landmark non HD out the door - $64k
RRS Supercharged V8 - $90k+ new, $100k as spec'd
BMW 3 Series Wagon - $52k+ new (as I spec)
Grand Cherokee Overland - $52k
Colorado - $43k

Cars in the D5's Class
X5 - Pushing $60k-$80k (non M)
Q7 - Pushing same pricing
M Class - $60k-$80k
Tahoe/Suburban - Still $60k+ as I'd spec
Silverado/Tundra/Etc - Still $60k+ as I'd spec

Let's start with what I've owned - is this car $16k better than our landmark LR4? Yes. The interior is nicer, it tows more, has the Diesel, etc. If I had the same equipment I could put on the LR4 that I have on D5 (like HD) it gets closer to $10k difference. Is this car better value than the RRS? Listen, it's not 500hp (I'm REALLY interested to see what SVX is like) but aside from that piece of the RRS I think the D5 is Better. In fact we test drove an $80k RRS when we bought our $64k LR4. Absolutely didn't think RRS was worth $80k, but I think D5 is. For those that think $80k is nuts, I think it's in the ballpark of all equivalents and even against the other cars we've owned that aren't equivalent the GC (which is smaller) or the Colorado (smaller) and the BMW (which is the perfect non SUV daily) this car is easily justifiable to be $30k-$40k more. It literally can do double the stuff of those.

Now the ones we haven't owned. If I spec'd an X5 to same as D5 it wouldn't be able to tow our trailer nor store our bikes inside. Had a suburban for a week a month ago when vacationing and it takes a ton of stuff and can tow our trailer but is no fun to drive and doesn't look as good as the D5. Audi, Mercedes, all have issues - whether storage or two capacity (though I think ML can tow trailer). Also, I prefer the "simplicity" of the D5 interior over the ML, etc. But that's all opinion.

In a #firstworldproblems sort of way I don't think it's hard to justify the $80k I spent on this D5.

Overall (From Above)

So, I'm very luck to have a few cars, and like any enthusiast (cough - addict) have been in many others, but I have to say that if I had to have one car this D5 is perfect. It goes plenty fast, is comfortable to commute in, can take all our gear (and still fit dog), tows, looks good (not amazing sadly), handles inclement weather, and frankly is good value for what you get.

View attachment 7866
whats the range on the TD6 D5 when towing the 25' AS?
 

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