Land Rover Discovery 4 Review & Road Test

Rating: 8.0
$129,900 Mrlp
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It just keeps getting better

Model Tested:

  • 2010 Land Rover Discover 4 TDV6; 3.0-litre, six-cylinder, turbo-diesel; six-speed automatic; wagon - $94,990*

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When I read Anthony's initial review of the new Land Rover Discovery 4 I started wondering if Land Rover had got it right, a car with all the capabilities of a Discovery 3 but with an interior you can be proud of. I've always been a fan of Land Rover vehicles, be it the Freelander 2 or the Defender, Land Rover is one of the few car companies still around that has stuck to its own heritage.

Last year saw Land Rover and Jaguar bought out by Indian firm Tata Motors and the move seems to have been a positive step forward for the British marquees as both are charging ahead stronger than ever.

The Discovery model has been around since 1989 and the current Discovery is the fourth reincarnation to date. The Discovery 3 has won nearly 100 awards around the world, making it one of the most awarded 4x4 ever built.

In a way, the Discovery 4 must feel like Lewis Hamilton's younger brother, not only does it have extremely high standards to live up to, but it has to better them too.

In order to test the new Discovery 4, a trip was planned to a private piece of property roughly three hours out of Brisbane. The car would be tested on its family friendliness and its everyday practicality (on the way there) as well as off-roading ability (although the later is almost irrelevant as it's guaranteed to be good).

Step inside and you can be mistaken for thinking you're in a Range Rover given the vast improvements to the interior.

Land Rover has made the new interior design far more simpler with less controls and a much better overall feel.

Most notably the new console is now slightly inclined towards the driver. Some Range Rover fans might start wondering if they have simply taken the interior from the Range Rover Sport?

There is an all-new steering wheel with a better feel and grip to it, plus steering-wheel mounted controls have been revised.

Even the seats have been changed with new seat designs for rows one and two. Cabin ambience is now similar to other Luxury SUVs with mood lighting provided with the introduction of white LED's around the door handles and pockets.

Although it's not the little things that make the difference, it's the complete change up that has given the Discovery 4 a significantly friendlier interior.

My biggest problem with the Discovery 4's interior wasn't so much the interior but the Harman/Kardon 9 speaker Audio System. Firstly, let me be clear that it's by far one of the best sounding audio systems on the market today. It's available standard on the HSE model and above.

The issue with it is much the same as that found in the Jaguar XF. It's "integrated support" for the iPod and iPhone is, for lack of a better word, rather rubbish. Somehow when I plugged in my iPhone (which for those of you wondering, is basically an iPod touch with a phone system built in) it managed to kill the Jaguar XF-R's computer system (making it reset over and over again), the Land Rover managed to at least play the music but picking different songs (or podcasts) through the inbuilt audio system was nothing short of a nightmare.

All in-car navigation systems force you to stop the vehicle before allowing you to enter a destination, it almost feels as though it may be safer to do the same thing before changing songs given the complexity and amount of time required to look and play around with the audio system on the Discovery's 5-inch LCD screen. It also fails to have that one extra power wire which allows for charging of your iPod touch or iPhone.

Maybe I'm just splitting hairs here but I like my music and when I can't get it to work the way it's meant to, it irritates me. In the car's defence, the issue is easily solved as you can basically just plug in an auxiliary cable and run your iPhone/iPod that way. So you can pick the songs on your iPod instead of having to use the car's audio navigation system.

The other niggling issue that I discovered (both on the Land Rover and the Jaguar) was the distance to empty trip computer. If the tank was almost empty, it simply would not update when less than 20 litres of fuel was put in. It would run down to "0 km left" and then eventually have another look and go, well the car seems to be still running so I may as well see how many litres are in here.

The reason I am making such a big deal about these two little issues is basically because I couldn't find anything else to complain about. Sit inside the new Discovery 4 and you feel like you are in charge of your destiny. Despite its size it corners and grips like a Range Rover Sport and it even stops like one.

I'm not saying that because it sounds good either, the new Discover 4's brake setup is based on the four-piston, opposed-calliper performance system used on the Range Rover Sport. 360mm ventilated front disc and a single piston sliding calliper working on a 350mm ventilated disc on the rear.

Although every car gets a mandatory brake test as part of its week long review & road test, my Discovery 4 test car got a real world brake test when two teenagers decided it would be a great idea to rollerskate down a hill and onto an intersection with no way of stopping. They must have had a heart attack when they saw a giant black SUV on a collision course, but from 60km/h down to zero it almost felt instantaneous.

They may have thought a guardian angel saved them from their stupidity but I'd like to think the Land Rover's top notch brake system was the Godsend in this case.

The most exciting addition to the new Discovery 4 is the 3.0 TDV6 diesel engine (also found in the new Jaguar XF) with advanced sequential twin turbochargers producing 180kW & 600Nm of torque.

The previous generation 2.7 TDV6 is still offered (140kW & 440Nm) but you'd be mad not to pick the 3.0 variant instead. It has 29 percent more power, 36 percent more torque and can develop at least 500Nm of torque from idle in just 500ms. Not to mention its three seconds quicker from 0-100km/h.

Despite being larger in capacity, fuel consumption is actually improved by 9.7 percent over the 2.7 litre TDV6, delivering 9.3 l/100km on combined EU cycle. The planet will thank you too with CO2 emissions down by 9.6 percent from 270 g/km to 244 g/km

Figures aside, driving the new Discover 4 3.0 diesel is an experience. The extra power and torque can easily be felt at any rev range with near instantaneous throttle response. The 3.0 TDV6 powered Disco 4 can easily take five adults around the city or off-road with little to no effort.

If you've been reading this and wondering what they've actually changed to the look of the new Discovery 4, lets put things into perspective. Land Rover is like Porsche, when its on to a winner it doesn't mess around with it too much. You can call it maintaining heritage or keeping with tradition, either way, it still looks good.

Land Rover has taken a softer approach with the exterior design of the Discovery 4, apparently the female buyers (and lets be real, there are a lot of them behind the wheel of Discovery 3s) wanted something a little less aggressive. This resulted in smoother, simpler surfaces being used at the front with new LED position lamps around the main light units.

The rear gets new lights with LED stop, tail and indicator technology. Overall It looks like a friendlier version of the Discovery 3, park them next to each other and you might have a hard time telling them apart but I believe it's a little more grown up and hence doesn't need to look as aggressive.

There is also a new anti-drag bumper at the front that helps improve the Discovery's aerodynamics. The look is completed with new, twin seven-spoke 19" wheel design (10-spoke 20" wheel set is available as a factory-fit option).

One of my favourite features of the Discovery 4, if you want to call it a feature, is the ride quality. It doesn't seem to matter if you're driving around town or if you're out climbing a mountain, its genuinely extremely comfortable. Perhaps its a mixture of the cushioned seats and the car's electronic cross linked air suspension which has automatic load levelling and can be configured in multiple modes: access, normal, off-road and extended height.

Speaking of off-roading ability, it always makes me wonder if there is even any reason to doubt a Land Rover's off-road credentials. The company has proven over and over again that despite what anyone says, the Land Rover range, all of it, is more than capable of taking on nearly any terrain and coming out on top.

As for the Discovery 4, the company's Terrain Response system has been updated with new features and improvements. With five different settings to suit different terrains, it makes four-wheel driving a lot easier than it ever used to be. You can have it in one of the following modes: General driving; Grass/gravel/snow; Sand; Mud and ruts; Rock crawl.

A new addition is the 'sand launch control' which allows the Discovery to get going in soft-sand a lot easier than before. The system works be preventing wheel-slip to stop the wheels digging down into the sand.

Another interesting new feature is an enhancement to Land Rover's Hill Descent Control which now comes with Gradient Release Control. The idea is the car will not allow that initial rate of acceleration when descending very steep inclines to put you in a rough spot. So if you're coming down a rather steep hill and you let go of brakes for a second, the Discovery 4 wont suddenly lurch forward. The car will temporarily maintain a bit of brake pressure when the driver releases the brake pedal. If all is going well it will slowly ease the brake pressure.

As is expected with Land Rover, safety is not an issue. There are enough airbags to make Volvo drivers happy and the Discovery 4 comes standard with more systems than anyone should ever have to remember, but in case you're interested here they are: Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), Slip Control System includes: Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), All-terrain Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Traction control (ETC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Electronic differential control, Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Enhanced Understeer Control (EUC), Hydraulic rear brake boost, Roll Stability Control (RSC), Trailer stability assist and Hill Descent Control (HDC) with Gradient Release Control (GRC).

The Discovery 4 starts at $68,490* for the 2.7 TDV6, the 3.0 TDV6 SE will set you back $81,990* and if you want the extra features of the HSE (model tested), prepare to pay $94,990*. If you really must have a V8 (although it would be silly to not buy a diesel when such a great engine is available), expect to pay $126,460* for the 5.0 V8.

With reliability issues seemingly a thing of the past, Land Rover are once again onto a winner with the Discovery 4. Nonetheless you may need to hire a full time co-driver to help you change songs.

If you need more technical information, have a read of the Land Rover Defender 4 Specification document.

*All prices are exclusive of statutory and delivery charges.

Below is a list of standard features for each variant:

Discovery 4 2.7 TDV6

  • 2.7 TDV6 diesel engine with variable geometry turbocharger (140kW & 440Nm)
  • 6-Speed adaptive automatic gearbox with CommandShift®
  • Diesel Mis-Fuelling protection device
  • Cruise control
  • Push Button Start including electronic steering lock
  • Terrain Response™ and Electric Park Brake
  • Permanent four wheel Drive
  • Centre electronic differential with low range transfer box
  • Electronic cross linked air suspension with automatic load levelling and multiple modes, access, normal, off-road, extended height
  • Power assisted, speed proportional steering (PAS)
  • Rain sensing wipers and automatic headlamps
  • Exterior mirrors - power adjustable, heated
  • Door puddle lamps and footwell lamps.
  • Headlamps - automatic and rain sensors with powerwash
  • Front Fog Lamps
  • Park Distance Control - Rear
  • Asymmetrical two piece tailgate
  • Tow Pack
  • 18 inch 5 Spoke Alloy Wheels with 255/60 AT/V Rated Tyres
  • Full Size Spare Alloy Wheel
  • Automatic dimming interior mirror
  • Electric windows with one touch open/close
  • Climate control - automatic with air filtration and dual controls
  • 5 Seats with cloth trim
  • Seats - Rear folding 65:35
  • Leather trimmed steering wheel
  • Harman/Kardon Audio System - 9 Speakers, Subwoofer, Radio, Single Slot CD Player, Auxiliary Input, Audio Amplifier (240 Watts)
  • 5" TFT (Thin Film Transistor Screen) and Driver Information Centre
  • Bluetooth® telephone connectivity and integration
  • Auxiliary Power Sockets - Front, rear 2nd row and rear loadspace
  • Control Systems - Electronic Parking Brake (EPB), Slip Control System includes: Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), All-terrain Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Traction control (ETC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Electronic differential control, Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Enhanced Understeer Control (EUC), Hydraulic rear brake boost, Roll Stability Control (RSC), Trailer stability assist and Hill Descent Control (HDC) with Gradient Release Control (GRC)
  • Airbags, full size driver & front passenger, driver & front passenger side and head, rear outboard passenger head airbags
  • Remote Central Locking including auto lock on drive away
  • Alarm System - Perimetric Security and passive engine immobilisation

Discovery 4 3.0 TDV6 SE

  • 3.0 TDV6 diesel engine with advanced sequential twin turbochargers (180kW & 600Nm)
  • 7 Seats with leather trim
  • Bi-Xenon headlights with cornering lamps
  • 19 inch 7-Spoke Alloy Wheel - 255/55 AT/V Rated Tyres
  • Powerfold mirrors
  • Third row head curtain airbags
  • Third row map lamps

Discovery 4 3.0 TDV6 HSE

  • Premium Navigation System (Hard Disc Drive) with voice control and off-road mapping
  • Harman/Kardon (USB) Audio System - 9 Speakers including Subwoofer, Radio, Single Slot CD Player, Portable Audio Interface, Touch Screen, Audio Amplifier (240 Watts)
  • Portable Audio Interface - allows connection of iPod, MP3 player and USB Mass Storage Device
  • Rear view camera
  • Park Distance Control - Front
  • 19 inch 7-Split Spoke Alloy Wheel
  • Rear Air Conditioning
  • Illuminated front vanity mirrors
  • Rear Luggage Net
  • Interior Mood Lighting
  • Electric seat driver's and passenger's adjustment (8/8 way), with memory function for driver's seat and exterior mirrors
  • Driver and passenger front armrests
  • Driver power lumbar and passenger manual lumbar support
  • Leather gear knob

Discovery 4 5.0 V8

5.0 V8 normally aspirated petrol engine (276kW and 510Nm)

  • Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 Surround (USB) Audio System - 14 Speakers including Subwoofer, Radio, Single Slot CD Player, Portable Audio Interface, Rear Seat Audio Controls, Rear Seat Headphone Modules, DSP Amplifier (480 Watts)
  • Rear Screen Entertainment Pack (includes DVD 6 disc changer, 2 headphones, remote control & Rear Headphone Module)
  • Hybrid TV system
  • Rear Electronic Differential
  • Electric - Sunroof, tilt/slide front glass and fixed glass Alpine Roof
  • Surround Camera System - with Tow Assist and Tow Hitch Assist (Includes Rear View Camera)
  • Adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights with cornering lamps
  • Automatic High Beam Assist
  • Roof Rails
  • 20 inch 10-Split Spoke Alloy Wheel
  • Front centre console - cooler compartment
  • Keyless Entry
  • Cold Climate Pack - Heated windscreen, heated seats front and rear, heated windscreen washers & Heated Steering Wheel
  • Premium Leather Pack with Electrically Adjustable Bolsters
  • Premium Leather Cubby Box Lid,
  • Carpet Mat Set


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