2011 Land Rover Discovery Review and Road Test

by under Review on 22 Sep 2011 06:50:54 PM22 Sep 2011
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2011 LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 4
Price Range
$68,490 - $129,900
Fuel Consumption
9.3L - 13.9L/100km
4RATING
PROS

V6 turbo-diesels and petrol V8 are nice; superb interior, well-built; value

CONS

A bit awkward in tight city parking

Here’s the thing SUV buyers – when you compare features, the Land Rover Discovery 4, priced from $68,490, actually challenges all comers in this segment for value.

There are the German rivals like the Volkswagen Touareg (starting price $75,990), Mercedes-Benz ML (starting price $84,760) and BMW X5 (starting price $92,100), but the British SUV also compares stacks-up impressively against up-spec versions of the Toyota Prado ($74,404 for GX), Nissan Pathfinder (Ti starts at $65,990) and Mitsubishi Prado ($65,490 for VRX). 

2011 LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 4 4D WAGON



So with its good looks, impressive space, nice engines and excellent towing/off-road credentials – plus lots of shared components with its up-market brother the Range Rover - the latest Land Rover Discovery 4 must be on your SUV shopping list.

Land Rover Discovery Overview


Car Showroom has just spent two weeks in two Land Rover Discovery 4s – a twin turbo-diesel V6 and range-topping V8 petrol. Both were very, very impressive on most counts.
 

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In its latest guise, the Land Rover Discovery 4 scored a more modern, slipperier exterior and totally re-freshed interior. The result is a nice mix of traditional Land Rover Discovery 4 features and modern touches (many shared with the larger Range Rover lineup).

Land Rover Discovery Engine


With the SUV market increasingly popularizing diesel powerplants, petrol engines remain in demand and Land Rover fires the Land Rover Discovery 4 into contention with two excellent V6 diesels (one a single turbocharged 2.7-litre, the other a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre version) and a new 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated V8 petrol. We’ve had the opportunity to test all of them and we’re huge fans.

The new LR-TDV6 3.0 twin-turbo diesel matches BMW’s twin-turbo diesel with 600Nm of torque (500Nm available from idle) and is just shy of the German in power – 180kW to 225kW. Combined cycle fuel consumption is rated at 9.3l/100kms.
 

2011 LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 4 4D WAGON


Land Rover’s new 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine delivers 276kW/510Nm to virtually equal Mercedes-Benz’s V8-powered ML500 (285kW/530Nm) – very impressive. Combined cycle fuel economy is rated at 13.9l/100kms

The entry-level Land Rover Discovery 4 S runs the single-turbo 2.7-litre diesel with 140kW/440Nm and fuel consumption of 0.2l/100kms.

In our back-to-back weeks with both diesel and petrol Land Rover Discovery 4s we loved the abundant torque, delivered smoothly via six-speed automatic transmissions.

Both were also commendably low in the noise department, even when working hard. The latest generation European turbo-diesels are remarkable in their refinement and if quiet operation is important for you, don’t discount the Land Rover Discovery 4 diesels – you’ll be impressed.

Land Rover Discovery The Interior


The upgraded interiors are standout features of the latest Land Rover Discovery 4 – extra features, new seats and a revised dashboard have transformed the stylish Brit.
Both of our test cars were top-spec HSE versions (that’s the only way the V8-powered Land Rover Discovery 4 is sold).
 

2011 LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 4 4D WAGON


For our turbo-diesel model that brought a hard disc-drive navigation system, nine-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system with a portable audio interface, rear-view camera, front park-distance control and eight-way electronic adjustment for the front seats amongst the extras.

Our V8 Land Rover Discovery 4 boasted a 14-speaker Harman/Kardon audio and rear seat DVD entertainment system, sunroof and premium leather seats with electrically adjustable bolsters. It also included Land Rover’s excellent surround camera system which includes close-up screens in reverse to assist tow bar hitching (a great idea which also helps in tight parking).

Noticeable was a lot of similarity with Range Rover in the simplified switch gear (the 4WD system is clear in its operation via console-mounted dials).
 

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And as per Range Rover, you sit high in the Land Rover Discovery 4 – it’s supremely comfortable and both of our test cars came with folding arm-rests for the front seats – another ‘Range Rover-ish’ cue.

We liked the new instruments with modern graphics and a new 5-inch TFT screen plus the white LED interior mood lighting and the Car Showroom juniors appreciated the abundant rear seat room and were in love with their rear-seat entertainment system in the V8.

Cargo space is 280-litres with all seats in place or an enormous 2,558-litres with all seats folded.

Land Rover Discovery Exterior & Styling
It’s a similar story outside for the latest Land Rover Discovery 4 – design changes have brought a more contemporary, cleaner look with smoother edges.

The fourth-generation model is immediately identified up-front with a smoother grille, new bumper with aerodynamic lower lips and lights. At the rear, new LED taillights are brilliant red and modern.

New-design 19-inch and optional 20-inch wheels complete an excellent styling job.

Land Rover Discovery On The Road


The overall impression after putting both Land Rover Discovery 4s through our normal test regime was the refinement of the handsome Brit. Commendably quiet at all speeds, the Land Rover Discovery 4 exudes its extensive chassis development at every turn – for example the new front bumper with its aero lips reduces front end lift at speed by as much as 50 per cent. 

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For the latest Land Rover Discovery 4 models, Land Rover fitted larger brakes and redesigned suspension knuckles to reduce body roll and new dampers/bushes to improve the ride quality.

That enhanced chassis control matches with the extra performance of the twin-turbo diesel and 5.0-litre V8 petrol engines to deliver an all-round driving dynamic which rivals the Germans for precision and balance.

Land Rover Discovery Challenges


Tipping the scales between 2.4 and 2.5 tonnes, and with an 11.5-metre turning circle, the Land Rover Discovery 4 is no shrinking violet and at times - with that size and weight - it can feel a tad cumbersome in tight city environments (that reversing camera is sure handy). Other SUVs have the same issue.

Land Rover Discovery Verdict


For us, it’s the all-round quality package which makes the Land Rover Discovery 4 a winner. You get a lot of car for the coin, the latest interiors are pearlers, on-road its dynamics are top-shelf and off-road competence is beyond question. 

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And wherever you look, the Land Rover Discovery 4 is just that little bit different to its German and Japanese rivals – the quintessential British design cues that are the hallmarks of the brand. That means on-road presence and style.

Land Rover Discovery The Competition


Upscale versions of the Toyota Prado, Nissan Pathfinder and Mitsubishi Pajero all give good accounts of themselves and are no doubt very handy in the off-road and towing departments. Even so, they struggle to match the Land Rover Discovery 4 for interior quality.

On the other hand the Mercedes-Benz ML and BMW X5 come superbly equipped and drive brilliantly. Land Rover Discovery 4 matches those qualities with its off-road and towing abilities.

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