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Land Rover Discovery Landmark 2016 review

Richard Berry road tests and reviews the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Landmark SUV, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
EXPERT RATING
8
Richard Berry road tests and reviews the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Landmark SUV, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Richard Berry road tests and reviews the 2016 Land Rover Discovery Landmark SUV, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

With just a few more sleeps before we jump on a plane to go and meet the all-new Land Rover Discovery 5 at the Paris motor show, we've decided to have one last adventure with the current Discovery 4 to reminisce... ahem, I mean test drive.

When the new one arrives things will never quite be the same. See, for the past 27 years the Discovery has kept pretty much the same sensible styling and has had the same platform since 2004. The new-gen Disco will indeed be all-new, and despite its new, sleek design they also say it will be still be highly capable off road.

That off-road talent is hugely important in a Discovery which has become renowned as the most practical and most tough-terrain equipped model in the Land Rover line-up.

Not as posh as a Range Rover, but more plush than a Defender, the Discovery has constantly been a main bread winner for Land Rover worldwide – even last year it was the biggest seller for the British brand in Australia.

Just before a new model arrives many brands tend to offer the current model in special editions loaded with extra bits. The Discovery Landmark is one such example and has been on sale since April.

What does that mean? Well it's really a top of the range SDV6 HSE with some nice additions for only about $10K more. This is the Discovery we ran away with for week, to say a proper goodbye.

So what makes it a Landmark? Is it worth the extra money? And what's with all the sausages?

Design

Everybody knows what a Discovery looks like. It's not the big, fat one that celebrities drive and it's not the one that looks like it's from the 1950s – it's the other one that has a boxy design with seven seats and has the roof that steps up and with the back window that zig-zags down.

Okay let's get a bit more scientific with actual dimensions. The Discovery 4 is 170mm shorter than the big Range Rover at 4829mm end to end, 20mm narrower including the wing mirrors at 2200mm across, but taller by 52mm at 1887mm. With roof racks - which come as part of the Landmark edition - the Disco stands 1980mm tall and that's at the standard height – air suspension can lift it up another 125mm in the maximum off-road setting.

On that fully extended setting the Disco has 310mm of off-road ground clearance, an approach angle of 36.2 degrees (10 degrees more than the Range Rover) and a departure angle of 29.6 degrees (which matches the Rangie).

It might not be the prettiest of the Land Rover family but it is still the most practical.

Toyota's Prado is the Discovery's natural enemy and is 100mm longer but about the same height at 1890mm. The Prado doesn't have adjustable air suspension and has a ground clearance of 220mm, an approach angle of 32 degrees and departure angle of 25 degrees, but both have the same wading depth of 700mm.

The weight of Discovery Landmark is 2558kg. That's heavy, 123kg heavier than the heftiest Prado.

You can tell a Landmark special edition from the outside by the bright finish roof rails, the black grille, the colour coding to the wheel arches and rear bumper, plus the 20-inch five split-spoke alloy wheels.

The interior is simple but elegant with the Landmark getting the Windsor leather treatment to the seats, dash and door trims.

The colour of our test vehicle was Zanzibar Gold, or Electric Brown as I prefer to call it. You won't find that colour on any other Discovery – it's a Landmark only hue. If you're not a fan of it then there's three other Landmark colours to pick from: Waitomo Grey, Santorini Black, Yulong White and Indus Silver.

Practicality

It might not be the prettiest of the Land Rover family but it is still the most practical. The boxy shape maximises the interior space and the big doors open wide to give a large entry to the front and second row seats. Meanwhile a split-fold tailgate is brilliant, offering a 'table' and a 'roof' when open, or just makes things easier by letting you open the top half to reach in.

The interior feels enormous with its high roof, although legroom in the second row isn't too impressive – still at 191cm I can sit behind my driving position with a hair's width of space between my stilt-like legs and the seats back. The third row sees my knees pushing into the seat back – it's not where I'd like to spend too much time but the rear legroom is better than most seven seat SUVs.

The second and third row folds perfectly flat for an even surface and gives you so much room you'll feel like you're in a shipping container.

That said, all seats are excellent: they're comfortable, supportive and the leather feels beautifully supple and high quality.

The second and third row folds perfectly flat for an even surface and gives you so much room you'll feel like you're in a shipping container, hell, I even opened a golf umbrella in it without touching the sides. I found getting all those seats to fold down and back up again to be awkward and difficult with several levers needing to be pulling and cords tugged, but doing it a few times I now have the hang of it, I think.

Boot space with the third row folded flat is 1260 litres, there's not much luggage capacity with them up but enough for us to squash in our CarsGuide pram... just.

Throughout the cabin you'll find large bottle holders in all doors and also built into the in the third row side panels. There's large storage boxes on each side back there as well. There's no cupholders in the second row, but two in the front.

The Landmark adds a cooler box under the centre armrest up front. The little fridge is big enough to fit a can of drink, two ice creams and 12 sausages (see the video above) and actually keep them chilled. Seriously, we drove with those ice creams in there for 10 hours and they were still frozen when I attacked them on the drive home.

A double opening glovebox tops off what is a super practical cabin.

Price and features

The current Discovery cost less than you may think. While chewing the fat in a driveway somewhere in suburbia one bloke who owns a Ford Territory looked at the Disco as said: “At least mine doesn't cost the same as a house.” Truth is the Discovery 4 line-up starts at $68,656, which is about what a middle-of-the-range Prado will set you back.

Sure, the Landmark special edition costs $106,690 and that makes it the dearest Discovery of the lot, but you're still getting good value for money. As mentioned above, the Landmark is the $96,006 Discovery SDV6 HSE wearing some extra bits such as those roof racks, grille and alloy wheels which we pointed out, along with the leather interior and cooler box.

But it's more than just cosmetic, the Landmark also adds the cold climate pack which means a heated steering wheel and heated front and second row seats; there's the digital radio, an 825W Meridian system and the Vision Pack that has adaptive Xenon headlights and surround cameras.

The Discovery is a highly awarded SUV and like a war hero with a chest full of medals it's received all of them because it is truly outstanding compared to its rivals.

Picking up all of the standard features of the SDV6 HSE grade there's the touch screen, sat nav, the third row of seating, leather steering wheel, keyless entry, three-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, plus the reversing camera.

Our test vehicle was also fitted with the Alpine Sunroof for $3860, Digital TV for $1580, the $340 wade sensing system, $1060 active rear locking differential and tinted glass at $1100.

It also had the $700 blind spot and rear cross traffic warning system optioned too, which is worth every dollar. While I was half way through a three-point turn it screamed at me to stop just as a ute travelling at light speed flew past.

Engine/s and transmission/s

The Discovery Landmark has a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with two turbochargers which operate sequentially - one for the easy stuff while the other kicks into to join it when you're accelerating harder. Land Rover calls it the SDV6 and it makes 183kW of power and 600Nm of torque. The TDV6 is found in lower grades and while the engine is mechanically the same as the SDV6 it only has one turbo and produces less grunt.

On the road the Discovery Landmark is pleasure to pilot.

The automatic transmission is an eight-speed torque converter unit made by ZF, which is the pinnacle of autos for its smoothness and versatility.

The combination of the SDV6 and this auto verges into driving nirvana territory – smooth, always powerful, seamless with good fuel economy.

Fuel consumption

It's rare that I score the same fuel economy figure as what the car manufacturer says you should see, but my mileage wasn't far off the combined average of 8.8L/100km claimed by Land Rover.

After 878.8km of every kind of driving possible from day-care drop-offs and the bumper-to-bumper grind of peak-hour city commutes, to suburban streets, motorways, rural and off-road the Discovery's trip computer was showing an average of just 9.7L/100km, which is outstanding given the conditions of our test.

Driving

The Discovery is a highly awarded SUV and like a war hero with a chest full of medals it's received all of them because it is truly outstanding compared to its rivals.

On the road the Discovery Landmark is pleasure to pilot. There's light, accurate steering, a super comfortable ride on the air suspension, an engine which gives you the maximum amount of torque at just 2000 rpm (it idles at 750rpm) and that smooth gearbox.

Then there's the great ergonomics, such as how you sit high like a lifeguard at a pool in your tall chair which combined with the enormous windows gives you great visibility.

There's chunky dials for the climate control and radio, a big, simple tacho and speedo (with a smaller digital one), and being higher up the window controls on the sill makes sense as your arm naturally wants to rest there.

It is a very upright seating position, but the pedals are positioned well with good feel.

The generous approach and departure angles, plus the enormous clearance meant the Disco bounded up and shimmed down some pretty challenging landscape.

What also separates the Land Rover from its Japanese rivals is the elegant and prestigious feel to the cabin, while the competitor's cockpits have great functionality the Discovery goes further, the materials and design makes the experience more special.

Putting a gap between the rivals too is the Discovery's braked towing capacity of 3500kg. The Prado only manages 2500kg and you'll need to step up to a colossal V8-powered LandCruiser 200 Series to match it.

Due to its weight, size and its off-road-focused platform the Discovery's on-road handling is nowhere as good as say a BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GLE, but then you could never take those too far from than the road and besides the Range Rover is the true rival to those Germans.

The Discovery has full-time four wheel drive, even on the road, but off the road it's superb. We travelled through dirt, mud and gravel roads, along with some soft sand tracks and rocky hills. The generous approach and departure angles, plus the enormous clearance meant the Disco bounded up and shimmed down some pretty challenging landscape. The Terrain Response system lets you match what you're looking at through the windscreen with a traction setting – from grass, gravel and snow to mud ruts, sand plus a rock crawl mode. Of course there's a high and low range and hill descent function, too.

Our test vehicle was also fitted with the optional active rear locking differential for $1060 and the $340 Wade Sensing system.

Safety

The Discovery 4 does not have an ANCAP rating, but it has the same platform as the Discovery 3 which scored four stars out of a possible five. Back in 2009 when the Disco 4 came out, advanced safety technology which is common on budget small cars today (such as AEB and driving assistance features like lane keeping) were only just appearing and so it's not as equipped as a modern premium SUV should be. Still there's ABS, plus traction and stability control along with curtain airbags that extend all the way back to cover the third row.

Breeders beware: you can't put child seats in the third row because there's no top tether anchor points or ISOFIX mounts for the rear seats. There are two ISOFIX and three top tether points in the second row, but setting out on a picnic with two toddlers, the grandparents plus my wife the decision was made to take two cars rather than expect the in-laws to ride in the third row.

Ownership

The Discovery Landmark is covered by Land Rover's three year/100,000km warranty and it's recommended you service your beast every 12 months or 26,000km. There is no capped price servicing for the Discovery 4 but Land Rover says that as a guide the first service will cost $586; the second is $930; the third is $696 and the fourth at 104,000km is $929.

Verdict

It was only a week but I bonded with the Discovery Landmark quickly. Easy to drive on the road, super talented off the road with a prestigious feel that Land Rover brings to the cabin. Yes, it is showing its age technologically both in terms of safety and in-car functions, but options such as the blind spot and rear cross traffic warning go some way to addressing this. The lack of capped price servicing is another area which could be improved and it will be - Land Rover assures us it will apply a fixed service plan for the Discovery 5 which arrives mid-way through next year.

The Discovery 4 itself is a landmark on the four wheel drive landscape – capable, practical, comfortable and this limited edition makes a special SUV even more so. The next Disco has big tyres to fill.

Would you take your Discovery on adventures, or keep it domesticated? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Land Rover Discovery 4 pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$62,880
Based on 31 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$56,888
Highest Price
$79,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
SD4 HSE 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $70,510 – 81,070 2016 Land Rover Discovery 2016 SD4 HSE Pricing and Specs
SD4 HSE LUXURY 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $80,960 – 93,060 2016 Land Rover Discovery 2016 SD4 HSE LUXURY Pricing and Specs
SD4 S 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $52,690 – 60,610 2016 Land Rover Discovery 2016 SD4 S Pricing and Specs
SD4 SE 2.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $62,920 – 72,270 2016 Land Rover Discovery 2016 SD4 SE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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