Conor Mills | Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

Freelance Automotive and Travel Journalist

Review: Land Rover Discovery 4

Posted by Admin On August - 12 - 2009

Sharper styling and a revolution under the skin make SUV even more appealing.

The face looks familiar, but Land Rover’s popular Discovery has been given a radical makeover –under the skin! The new Discovery 4 comes with fresh engines, a revised chassis and an impressive array of advanced technology.

We drove the flagship diesel – the 3.0-litre TDV6 HSE. It offers 54bhp more power than the entry-level 2.7-litre, and also delivers 600Nm of torque. That’s matched only by the mighty new twin-turbo powerplant in the BMW 740d.

As a result, the Discovery’s 0-62mph sprint time has been slashed by 2.1 seconds to 9.6 seconds, while the car has a lighter, more agile feel that belies its size and practicality.

The design has been brought right up to date, with a Range Rover-style hexagonal twin-bar front grille, new LED lights front and rear and body-coloured wing mirrors. It’s lost some of the Tonka toy appeal that made the Discovery 3 so imposing, but still leaves a lasting impression.

Inside, the finish is modern. Our model now gets a leather-trimmed dash to match the seats. The centre console is far less cluttered than before, while the controls for the Terrain Response system are located in a much more accessible position below the stereo.

Practicality remains impressive, too – the Land Rover is either a five-seater with a huge luggage bay or, by unfolding the clever rear seats from the boot floor, a spacious seven-seater.

Gadgets include keyless entry and start, plus headlamps that switch automatically from main to dipped beam when they sense oncoming traffic approaching. What’s more, our HSE has five digital cameras located around the body – these relay images to the central screen and give a near-360-degree view to aid parking manoeuvres.

The suspension has been uprated and new dampers fitted, so the Disco is much more capable and balanced on the road than before. The steering is direct and well weighted, and even though the car tips the scales at two-and-a-half tonnes, it handles remarkably well.

Performance has been dramatically improved by the introduction of the new 3.0-litre oil-burner. Throttle response is much better, and the extra low-down torque means the Discovery is quick to get up to cruising speed. The ride is much smoother, too, and refinement on the move is impeccable. Add this to the high driving position, and it’s a great cruiser.

As you would expect, the latest car is incredibly capable when you venture off road. The Terrain Response system is as effective as ever, giving drivers specific settings for snow, sand, gravel, rocks, mud and ruts, and ensures the Discovery can take any surface in its stride. Hill descent assist completes the rugged package.

Land Rover is keen to point out that bigger can mean cleaner. The 3.0-litre emits 244g/km of CO2 and promises 30.4mpg combined economy – improvements of 26g/km and 2.7mpg over the 2.7.

When the range arrives in showrooms here next month, our 3.0 TDV6 HSE will cost £47,695 – that’s £15,780 more than the entry-level 2.7 TDV6 GS. It’s not cheap, then, but the whole package has been enhanced significantly, and even at this price, the Disco remains one of the finest SUVs on the market.

Verdict: 5/5

Original publication: Auto Express

Original online version: Click here

Original print version: Part 1, Part 2