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Land Rover Discovery 4 SDV6 HSE 2013 Review

Great allrounder with similar ability as the Range Rover but at a huge discount.
EXPERT RATING
8

Like a hawaiian pizza, the Discovery 4 is the 4WD that is on every potential buyer's menu. The mainstay Disco is as competent as its rugged looks imply yet is perfectly suited to commuting duties and with seven seats, is as tempting as the pizza. Upgrades for 2014 only enhance the flavour and though there's temptation elsewhere, few rivals embrace the versatility and driveway cache of the Disco.

VALUE

Pricing hits the mark with competitors all around the $100,000 point, though a diesel Mercedes sends it north of $120,000. In relative terms, the $95,900 for the upmarket HSE version of the Disco 4 is good value. It offers a spacious seven seats, good fuel economy, lots of features, strong 3500kg tow rating plus awesome off-road ability.

Its cousin, the Range Rover, is available with the same engine for $72,000 more. Disco 4 HSE gets a Meridian 11-speaker audio, sat-nav, selectable driving mode, leather upholstery and air suspension. The test car cost $105,520, adding the Black Design Pack with 20-inch wheels, premium black paint and a digital audio. Resale is a very strong 63 per cent and though there's no capped-price service program, servicing is once a year.

DESIGN

It's always been a box and that's one of its strongest features - this is a Tardis when it comes to maximising cabin room. There's a new dash for 2014 with a smaller panel for the five-mode terrain control which is now moved up the console stack, making more room for personal item storage. The fat window ledge begs for the driver's elbow - don't with the window down, it's illegal - but window switch placement up here is handy.

Horizontal split tailgate is brilliant - a picnic seat when the bottom half is lowered, a tailgate upper for loading shopping and open everything for a spacious 1192 litres of load room. But third-row seats, though comfortable and roomy enough for adults, are decidedly complex and fiddly to erect and retract compared with other seven-seat wagons.

TECHNOLOGY

The eight-speed automatic helps the 183kW/600Nm 3-litre bi-turbo V6 diesel to move the bulky 2.5-tonne body. The engine is a clean-up version on the longstanding V6 that is also used in the Range Rover and Jaguar. Bonus bits include the five-mode terrain assist mode that alters engine, transmission and braking to suit driver-selected road conditions. Electronic air suspension allows for ground clearance from 185mm to 310mm and flattens body roll when on the bitumen.

SAFETY

There's no crash rating for this car. The previous Disco 3 rated four stars. New model gets eight airbags, rear camera, front and rear park sensors, heated mirrors, bi-xenon headlights and electronic assistance including anti-trailer away, rollover stability, hill descent and hill holder, traction and stability control. The spare is full size.

DRIVING

After earlier testing the Range Rover equivalent, I was a bit let down by the engine's tendency to hesitate on acceleration and its indecision to quickly find a gear. It's all to do with turbo lag but is annoying, especially given there's two turbochargers.

Ride comfort and handling is, however, first rate. The electronic air suspension is complex and not as durable as steel springs, but thee are over-ridden by advantages such as the flat cornering stance, the ability to raise the vehicle for off-road travel, the disregard it has for speed bumps and the cloud-like glide it gives to the ride.

The steering ratio is high so needs more turns of the wheel - typical of 4WDs - but the weighting is close to perfect. It's a surprisingly easy car to park. In the dirt it prefers tyre pressures down to about 18psi and the suspension jacked up. Then, together with the low-range transfer case and the ability to select terrain conditions in the Terrain Response program, it is almost unstoppable.

VERDICT

Love it. Great allrounder with similar ability as the Range Rover but at a huge discount.

Land Rover Discovery 4 SDV6 HSE
Price: $95,900 ($105,520 as tested)
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km, 3yr roadside assist
Capped servicing: None
Service interval: 12mths/26,000km
Resale: 63%
Safety: 8 airbags, ABS, ESC, EBD, TC
Crash rating: none
Engine: 3.0-litre, V6 bi-turbo diesel; 183kW/600Nm
Transmission: 8-spd auto, 2-spd transfer; constant 4WD
Thirst: 8.8L/100km; 230g/km CO2
Dimensions: 4.8m (L), 2.2m (W), 1.9m (H)
Weight: 2495kg
Spare: full size

Pricing Guides

$45,990
Based on 52 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$28,990
Highest Price
$64,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.0 SDV6 HSE 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $37,980 – 64,888 2013 Land Rover Discovery 4 2013 3.0 SDV6 HSE Pricing and Specs
3.0 SDV6 SE 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $35,900 – 56,990 2013 Land Rover Discovery 4 2013 3.0 SDV6 SE Pricing and Specs
3.0 TDV6 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $28,990 – 57,950 2013 Land Rover Discovery 4 2013 3.0 TDV6 Pricing and Specs
5.0 V8 5.0L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO $53,020 – 60,940 2013 Land Rover Discovery 4 2013 5.0 V8 Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist

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