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Land Rover Discovery 4 2010 Review

I always have a sense of trepidation when any manufacturer reworks a 'landmark' model. That’s even more the point when the vehicle has been as successful globally as the Discovery 3. If it ain’t broke, and all that...

The Discovery 3 has won just about every global award possible, so Land Rover could not afford to take shortcuts when it came to the Discovery 4. The good news is that the new model is better in just about every important facet than the outgoing D3. On-road and off-road performance, styling and refinement have all been improved.

Some might say the exterior styling is more gentle or in fact softer than the outgoing model. I'd say it's more purposeful, and while the subtle changes combine to enhance the looks of the Discovery 4, I tend to think it looks more aggressive overall, tougher if you will, than the D3. Styling aside, it's the performance on road and off the beaten track that we were more concerned with at the recent global launch in Scotland.

NEW ENGINES

We weren’t able to drive the new petrol V8 engine on this launch, but spend no more than ten minutes on the road (or off for that matter) with the new sequential twin turbo diesel V6 under the control of your right foot and the argument for the big petrol engine gets a whole lot tougher to sell.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but 180kW and a thumping 600Nm are certainly impressive on paper. The big gain on the D3 though is in real world driving situations. The 2.7-litre TDV6 punched well above its weight in just about every way that you can judge an engine. We often commented in testing that it still nailed far newer engines from other manufacturers years after it’s initial launch.

However, the two minor gripes we could find (you had to dig deep though it must be said) were with slight turbo lag low down and a lack of ultimate power if you needed to overtake quickly.

Thanks to their clever use of sequential turbos, Land Rover has dialled out any perceptible turbo lag as far as we could feel, and there’s more than enough grunt on tap for overtaking manoeuvres, towing and any situation where rapid acceleration is needed. The 2.7-litre single turbo engine will remain available in Australia (good news for potential owners on a budget) as the entry level offering, while we also get the heavy hitting naturally aspirated five-litre V8 that replaces the 4.4-litre bent eight in the current model.

The petrol engine is every bit as impressive as the diesel by the numbers with the direct injection V8 churning out 276kW and 510Nm. We drove the Supercharged V8 (in RR Sport guise) and will report on the five-litre V8 as soon as we have the opportunity to test it. On face value though, it looks like the twin turbo diesel V6 will win out as the most versatile choice. Seamless and effortless power delivery from a standing start, or for accelerating is impressive by any measure.

OFF ROAD

As you’d expect, the Land Rover honchos had worked out a formidable off-road course for us to test the abilities of the Discovery 4, and Scotland was the ideal location for such a challenge. Ironically, the weather was perfect but the forest floor was wet, slippery and extremely steep in places. Exactly what we needed to test the capability of the new suspension tune, terrain response settings and diesel engine.

We’d knocked over a solid 200km+ run on bitumen where the Discovery 4 had impressed with it’s composure and power delivery, but we’ll get to that later. Prior to our more extensive off-road evaluation, we had to cross a river, one that was approximately a metre deeper than the day before when the engineers had worked their way across. As the water lapped ever higher at the doors, I started to wonder whether we’d bitten off a little more than we could chew. The presence of instructors from various Land Rover Experience centres around the world made me feel a little less nervous as the D4 started to drift ever so slightly in the fast moving water. However, each of the 20 or so Discoverys worked their way across the River Tweed with no problem whatsoever, once again highlighting the versatility of this formidable off-road machine.

Across the range, the new Rock Crawl setting on the terrain response dial is an excellent addition to an already brilliant system. You’d know the other terrain response settings from previous models, but Rock Crawl mode will be handy in off-road situations down under.

Another genuinely versatile feature of the electronics is the Hill Descent Control. Even after three or four seriously steep descents, I could still hardly believe the ability of the HDC to hold the big Discovery steady and straight on even the most slippery and uncertain terrain. I challenge anyone to point their vehicle down a steep grade and resist the urge to touch the pedals. It’s a strange sensation.

ON ROAD

The enhanced suspension tune is perhaps most noticeable on road where the new steering geometry delivers 'car like' feel at low and high speed, and where the revised shocks and springs deliver enhanced stability and cornering balance. The new braking package matches that of the outgoing sport and even in the wet, the D4 pulls up straight and without fuss from license endangering (in this country) speeds. I was particularly impressed with the braking system on loose dirt and gravel as well, where a complete stop was achieved with a minimum of lock up or lack of composure.

As I’ve mentioned above, the new V6 engine has more than enough punch to deliver the goods on road at any speed and once again feels impressive in terms of refinement and acoustics. Chassis wise, the D4 is more settled and planted than the D3. Fast sweepers, even those interrupted by mid corner bumps and ruts, do little to unsettle the big wagon. Having not long previously driven a D3 back home, I could immediately pick the sharper steering and handling.

The cabin delivers the expected Discovery feel and driving position, although in a somewhat more cosseted environment thanks to upgraded materials and finishes. Driver and passenger get a commanding view from the cockpit. Inside, the D4 is comfortable and quiet with sensible controls positioned exactly where you want them. You won’t have any issues whatsoever knocking over long distances in the D4.

RANGE AND PRICING

Discovery 4 2.7 TDV6

Price: from $68,490
Engine: 2.7L V6 diesel w Variable Geometry Turbo
Power: 140kW @ 4,000 rpm
Torque: 440Nm @ 1,900 600 rpm
Transmission: 6-Speed adaptive automatic
Top speed km/h: 180
0-100 km/h: 12.7
Economy/CO2 g/km: 270

Discovery 4 3.0 TDV6 SE

Price: from $81,990
Engine: 3.0 V6 diesel w Adv. Seq. Twin-turbo
Power: 180kW @ 4,000 rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 2,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-Speed adaptive automatic
Top speed km/h: 180
0-100 km/h: 9.6
Economy/CO2 g/km: 244

Discovery 4 3.0 TDV6 HSE

Price: from $94,990
Engine: 3.0 V6 diesel w Adv. Seq. Twin-turbo
Power: 180kW @ 4,000 rpm
Torque: 600Nm @ 2,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-Speed adaptive automatic
Top speed km/h: 180
0-100 km/h: 9.6
Economy/CO2 g/km: 244

Discovery 4 5.0 V8

Price: from $126,460 
Engine: 5.0L V8 Normally Aspirated Petrol
Power: 276kW @ 6,5000 rpm
Torque: 510Nm @ 3,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-Speed adaptive automatic
Top speed km/h: 195
0-100 km/h: 7.9
Economy/CO2 g/km: 328

Pricing guides

$29,990
Based on 29 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$18,800
Highest Price
$38,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
2.7 TDV6 2.7L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $22,400 – 30,360 2010 Land Rover Discovery 4 2010 2.7 TDV6 Pricing and Specs
3.0 SDV6 HSE 3.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $29,700 – 38,940 2010 Land Rover Discovery 4 2010 3.0 SDV6 HSE Pricing and Specs
3.0 SDV6 SE 3.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $27,400 – 36,300 2010 Land Rover Discovery 4 2010 3.0 SDV6 SE Pricing and Specs
3.0 TDV6 SE 3.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO No recent listings 2010 Land Rover Discovery 4 2010 3.0 TDV6 SE Pricing and Specs
Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.