Land Rover Discovery 4 (2004 on)
The Land Rover Discovery 4 is an incredibly capable vehicle both on and off the road. It has many improvements on its predecessor, the Discovery 3, although essentially the same vehicle platform, many changes have been implemented to provide an even more impressive vehicle.
The Land Rover Discovery is an exceptionally handsome 4×4, blending the boxy, utilitarian looks Land Rover was forged on with a luxurious twist. That means elaborate headlights and taillights which both incorporate LED technology without detracting from the 4×4s minimalist lines.
It wears bumpers with lips to help improve aerodynamics by smoothing the
airflow around the wheelarches. All models come with alloy wheels in either 19 or 20 inch diameters.
Like the exterior, the cabin is sumptuous without betraying its rugged roots. The upmarket interior features chunky buttons and clear dials, but its the rotary gear selector which rises out of the centre console when the car is started that steals the show, adding a real sense of occasion. The old Terrain Response dial to tell the car what surface it is driving on has been replaced by a series of buttons and remains intuitive to use. The graphics on the infotainment screen are better than ever, new stalk controls for the indicators and wipers have been added and the key has been slimmed down to make it easier to carry.
A seven-seat option is available and there are a variety of seating configurations, including the ability to fold the middle seat in the second row, creating a table. All rear seats fold flat for the easy loading of luggage. Boot space grows from 280 litres (with all three seat rows in use) to 1,124 litres with the third row folded and to 1,950 with rows two and three stowed. The Discovery is able to haul a trailer up to 3,500kgs.
RIDE & HANDLING
The Land Rover Discovery is an astonishing off-roader, but it’s the car’s on-road dynamics that impress most. The occupants are isolated from imperfections in the road and outside noise as well as any Audi, BMW or Mercedes, and even on its big 19-inch wheels it rivals the Range Rover for ride comfort. Land Rover has It’s also a surprisingly entertaining steer, although not quite a match for the BMW X5 or Audi Q7. The steering has more feel than in any Discovery before it, and it’s possible to hustle the big Disco along lanes at a fair pace. On mud, ruts and grass few cars can compete – it is sensational off road.
Two 3-litre diesel engines are available in the Discovery 4. The low power engine, which is expected to the be most popular model produces 208bhp but a thumping 383lb/ft of pulling power which can haul the 2.6 tonne Disco to 60mph in 9.9 seconds and on to a 112mph top speed. The high power varient develops 252bhp and 442lb/ft of pulling power for a 8.8 second 0-60mph time and a 112mph maximum. Both models can tow up to 3.5 tonnes. The engine is refined and smooth but the accelerator pedal lacks sensitivity and needs to be pressed hard to pull away smoothly.
The 3-litre diesel engines drink less fuel and emit less CO2 than previous Discovery models, but emissions of 224 or 230g/km still attracts big road tax bills. Official fuel consumption figures of 32-33mpg is reasonable given the car’s girth. It won’t be a cheap car for company car drivers, with a 35 per cent tax liability, but it will retain an impressive 50 per cent of its original, new price after three years/36,000 miles – more than the equivalent Audi Q7.
The Discovery 4 feels exceptionally well built, but Land Rover has a reputation for patchy reliability. The Disco is prone to faults with the suspension and electrical systems.
The Discovery was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2006 and scored four out of five stars for adult and child occupant protection. Standard equipment across the range includes all manner of traction-enhancing systems which work on road and on a variety of off road surfaces and front, side and curtain airbags.
TRIM & EQUIPMENT OPTIONS
There are three trim levels: GS, XS and HSE, as well as a commercial vehicle version. The GS model comes fitted with Bluetooth connectivity, rear park sensors, DAB radio with iPod integration, electric heated door mirrors, climate control and air suspension. XS models add sat-nav, cruise control, a CD autochanger, roof rails, leather upholstery and seven seats. Range-topping HSE models also feature rear park sensors and rear park camera, bi-xenon headlights, power folding mirrors, electrically-operated steering column and keyless entry
Discovery 3.0 TDV6 GS - Base model GS is well specified.
Discovery 3.0 TDV6 XS - XS model adds 19-inch alloys and
Discovery 3.0 TDV6 HSE - Range-topper boasts off-road
sat-nav and upgraded stereo.
The Land Rover Discovery is the perfect foil for the uncompromisingly rugged Defender and the luxurious Range Rover. As stunning to drive as it is to look at, the Discovery is one of the best 4×4s out there.