Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2014 Land Rover Discovery 4.
The Land Rover Discovery is a familiar sight on Australian roads and has a large and loyal following amongst 4WD folk.
It’s also pretty popular on the school run, a testament to its all round capabilities. A new Discovery is in the works, and if the recent spy pictures are anything to go by, it would seem there will be a departure from the current look to something more reminiscent of the current Range Rover models.
For now though, the latest generation of the Land Rover Discovery 4 has an awful lot going for it and should be high on the list of anyone wanting a serious 4WD endowed with some serious luxury.
The mid-range SDV6 SE tested comes in at $84,990.
The options fitted to the test car include a Technology Pack consisting of Premium Hard Disk Drive Navigation with voice control, front parking sensors and rear view camera ($4390), Metallic Paint ($1800), Harmon Kardon 380 watt 11 speaker Audio System ($1750) with DAB+ Digital Radio ($850) and a Rear Electronic Differential ($1060) taking the total price before on roads to $94,450.
It’s certainly on par with the Toyota LandCruiser and some of the higher-end Prado models, and is in the same ballpark as offerings from Jeep and Nissan, and the less capable BMW, Mercedes & Audi SUV’s.
Under the bonnet of the Discovery 4 is a very smooth, supremely powerful V6 Twin Turbo diesel producing a healthy 183kW and a whopping 600Nm of torque; meaning it could probably quite easily pull your house over.
The forward propulsion is locomotive like from as low down as 1500rpm, and it just keeps on pulling all the way up to the red line.
The Discovery is no lightweight, in fact it weighs in at 2495kgs, so there is a lot to haul around; not that it seems to have any impact on fuel consumption. Over a week, with lots of city driving involved, we saw it return an impressive figure of 11.3 litres of diesel per 100km.
The big power plant is mated to an 8-Speed automatic gearbox, which has no trouble getting the most out of the engine. Changes are smooth and go by virtually unnoticed.
Riding on a very impressive air suspension set up and 19-inch rims with 255/55 tyres, one of the biggest highlights of the Discovery is the way it just glides around. The ride is superb and in combination with the effortless power plant, relaxed motoring is absolutely the order of the day.
The cabin is completely isolated from the road surface, so regardless of the terrain it remains peaceful, quiet and undisturbed. The steering is nicely weighted but not hugely communicative. You’ll also notice plenty of body roll if any serious pace is applied during cornering, but that is a direct pay off for the cushioned ride.
Off road the Discovery also excels with benchmark performance when it comes to climbing, descending, mounting, traversing and any other 4WD term you want to think of.
There is very little that can stand in the way of a Discovery 4 and employing the 4WD system is as simple as hitting a button on the centre console. The Discovery 4 has a remarkable intelligence when it comes to setting itself up to tackle whatever terrain is at hand. Towing capabilities are also class leading with a rating of 3.5 tonnes.
Perched high up in the “Captain” style chair complete with armrests on each side, all round visibility is excellent. The switchgear is rugged yet sophisticated and the architecture of the dash has everything easily fall to hand.
The build quality couldn’t be faulted nor could the quality of the materials used.
You’re surrounded by swathes of high quality leather and all the tech you could want; Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, Climate Control, Push Button Start, Auto Bi-Xenon Headlights and Wipers, Rear Parking Sensors, Auto Diming Rear Vision Mirror, Electric Parking Brake…the list goes on.
Space is never at a premium either with five or seven seat configurations to choose from. Legroom in the back seat is rivaled only by the likes of Bentley, while the extreme rear back seats are even comfortable enough for an adult sized human.
Cargo space is plentiful; it’s a little restricted when all seven seats are in use, but in the five-seat format there’s plenty of room…with all rear seats folded flat you could almost host a dance party.
The Land Rover Discovery 4 is a remarkably clever vehicle with class leading 4WD capabilities and the technology to make even a novice competent off the road.
Together with a sublime ride and luxurious interior and all combined with an efficient, powerful drive-train, it’s easy to why the Discovery 4 wins so many awards. The big challenge in front of Land Rover though is how to top it.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 3.0 litre twin turbo diesel V6 developing 183kW and 600Nm
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Safety: Not tested
Origin: United Kingdom
Price: From $84,990. As tested $94.450