Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 HSE
definitely does have talent.
not talking song and dance
here, but motoring talent. And while it
now be owned by people on the
other side of the world, the Land
talent is 100%
home-grown. Brit Rules, Okay!
BUY A DISCOVERY and you're buying a number of cars skilfully integrated
into one, all neatly fitted within each other like a Russian matryoshka
nesting doll. Some Disco drivers seem perfectly happy with only the attractive
'outer doll', seeing their Land Rover as simply safe, refined
and luxurious family transport a 7-seat role it plays with
aplomb and are content to leave all the high-tech wizardry
in its standard default setting.
That's fine. However, a single twist of the Disco's Terrain Response rotary
knob will unwrap a whole range of abilities that turn it into a full-blooded
explorer's war-horse; a machine that will go head-to-head with the very worst
weather conditions nature can throw at it as well as ford rivers and climb mountains.
Achilles' heel of most SUVs is tarmac. Not so the latest-generation Discovery
it's seriously competent on the blacktop; the nicely-weighted
steering is direct enough for you to press-on confidently through corners, bends
and along fast, winding A and B roads, all the while staying flat and composed.
The brakes (twin-piston sliding callipers with 360mm ventilated discs at the
front and single piston with 350mm ventilated discs at the rear) do a sterling
The Achilles heel of
most SUVs is tarmac.
Not so the latest-
on the blacktop;
steering is direct enough
for you to press-on
and along fast, winding
roads, all the while
staying flat and
It's no idle boast to say that in all environments and all landscapes, on roads
or off them, this fourth generation Discovery serves up a satisfying blend of
premium refinement and driver-friendly dynamics.
Better yet, the ride is seriously comfy whatever your driving style; the bump-smothering
air suspension is a cure-all for our poor UK roads, soaking up all kinds of
imperfections. Land Rover's engineers have clearly been busy with the soundproofing
too, because mechanical noise and even wind and tyre roar, especially when cruising,
has been all but banished from the cabin. Journeys pass by almost unnoticed
until the SatNav utters those three magic words: You have arrived!
Built to tackle the world's worst roads, the two-and-a-half tonne Disco is consequently
no lightweight fortunately there's now a 241bhp 3.0-litre twin-turboed
diesel nestling in the engine bay. And thanks to its groundbreaking parallel
sequential turbocharging system, throttle response is ultra-sharp.
Press hard on the accelerator and the Disco gets briskly off the line, the speedo
needle hitting 62mph in 9.6 seconds. It's a lively unit with enormous torque
442lb ft that comes in handy not just for towing
and off-roading but on-road where it will punch you safely past slower traffic.
Our week's hard-driving saw an overall average of 27.7mpg recorded
pretty close to the official 30.4mpg combined figure and good for a 500+ range
So far as driveability goes, no one need be worried by the Discovery's imposing
looks. In spite of its 4.9-metre length and 2.2-metre width, driving the '4'
is a walk in the park proof of life here is the number of Discos
you see conscripted into school run duties. And one of the key reasons this
happens is that few other cars provide a better view of the road ahead
today that's worth it's weight in gold in incidents (and insurance claims) avoided.
the driving position is, without doubt, one of the best, with plenty of power
adjustment in every direction. Another big plus for kiddy-carting Mums is seven
seats it should be noted that even in seats six and seven, real
adults can, and do, travel comfortably. Not forgetting the smooth-shifting six-speed
adaptive automatic transmission with Sport mode for those get-me-to-the-school-on-time
demanding driving that calls for manually controlled shifts can be done in CommandShift
mode; and, when appropriate, a straightforward rocker switch engages the transfer
'box's Low range.
And despite the mass of
high-tech features the
neat and orderly cabin is
thanks to crisp graphics
and, in particular,
a colour touch-screen
at the touch of a finger
as opposed to the
flick of a switch...
And despite the mass of high-tech features the neat and orderly cabin is extremely
user- friendly thanks to crisp graphics and, in particular, a colour touch-screen
which manages numerous functions at the touch of a finger as opposed to the
flick of a switch. Fit and finish is first class, as too are the high-end soft-touch
plastics and leather as well as the classy Grand Black Lacquer fascia veneers.
Use all seven seats and you'll still have still 280 litres of boot space. But
fold away the pair of third row seats into the boot floor and with five aboard
there's more than enough luggage space. And if it's more space you'll be wanting
with just the front seats occupied, then the second row can also be dropped
(no need to remove the headrests) as well as the third row to form a genuinely
flat-floored loadbay offering a cavernous 2,558 litres.
The split tailgate's lower section makes loading and unloading much easier;
you can also reduce the loading height by selecting the air suspension's 'Lower'
setting. The sturdy lower tailgate also makes a neat picnic seat or even a handy
viewing platform at air shows and the like.
With a £50K price tag you'd expect the range-leading Discovery 4 HSE to come
well specified. It does. The list of kit is simply too long to detail here but
the spec is of the 'you name it, it's already fitted' variety. Highlights include
keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control (very efficient both hot
and cold), heated seats front and back (the 3-stage heating is outstanding,
as too is the heated steering wheel rim), Windsor leather, hard drive-disk SatNav
touchscreen multimedia system, harman/kardon Logic 7 14-speaker surround-sound
hi-fi, rear-view camera, three-panel panoramic sunroof (two fixed; the leading
roof has powered tilt/slide operation) and, for night-time driving, interior
too is all the sophisticated out-of-sight tackle such as Terrain Response, Gradient
Acceleration Control, Hill Start Assist, an understeer control system, full-time
four-wheel drive, etc.
of which, Arctic Snap or Indian Summer, the Disco is well equipped to master
them all. Its Terrain Response system never sleeps and every time you switch
on it starts up, normally in its General (everyday road surfaces) program. Others
are available by turning the rotary control just ahead of the selector lever:
Grass-Gravel-Snow; Mud-Ruts; Sand; Rock Crawl.
with a maximum 28-inch (700mm) wading ability boosted by large approach and
departure angles, it's well-equipped to tackle just about any kind of terrain
you care to point its elegant Range Rover-esque nose at it goes
without saying that the Discovery 4 is more capable off road than ninety per
cent of owners will ever discover.
to driver feedback
is an all-seeing
system five digital
located around the
Discovery that provide
360-degree views around
the vehicle to aid
manoeuvring at low
Whatever you do (or don't!) select, you can trust the Disco to take care
of business, automatically optimising vehicle systems including the transmission,
suspension and differentials as necessary. For really tricky conditions, the
status of the differentials can be viewed on-screen.
Also adding considerably to driver feedback is an all-seeing 'surround view'
camera system five digital cameras strategically located around
the Discovery that provide 360-degree views (any two of which can be selected
simultaneously) around the vehicle to aid manoeuvring at speeds below 11mph.
Invaluable off-road when it may be impossible or unsafe to leave the vehicle
and check, it also comes in very handy when parking in tight spaces as well
as providing additional safety on-road for instance, emerging
from a completely blind side turning onto a busy road, the cameras at the front
can be activated so each is looking sideways (junction view) whereas otherwise
you'd have to commit (and risk) the whole front end as far back as the driver's
window before you could physically see if it was safe to pull out. In addition,
all views can be zoomed in and out and there's a Tow Assist function to make
reversing a trailer easier.
More adaptability is on hand courtesy of the air suspension ride
height can be quickly modified to suit prevailing conditions: increased ground
clearance off-road; normal height for on-road; lower for easier access loading;
and locked lower for increased roof clearance.
The inevitable comparison inevitable precisely because the Discovery
is so good is with its big brothers: the more expensive Range
Rover (£68,985-85,745) and Range Rover Sport (£48,035-72,545). While a less
blatant status symbol than either, the Discovery 4 (£36,785-£50,785) offers
something they don't genuine (and genuinely comfortable) seating
for seven adults. Quite honestly, if you need a practical, versatile, family-friendly
seven-seater SUV that will go anywhere and go head-to-head with any weather,
there's nothing to touch the '4' even if you pay more. Now that's a Discovery!
Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 HSE | £50,785
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 9.6 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 241bhp | Torque: 442lb ft | CO2 244g/km