Dis­co4­takes high ground

Land Rover stays in front, writes Fraser Stronach Award win­ners

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

ALAND Rover Dis­cov­ery 4 has claimed the crown as best 4WD on the mar­ket in the an­nual Over­lan­der 4WD mag­a­zine Best of the Best awards.

Un­like the 4WD of the Year con­test, which is only open to ve­hi­cles new that year, these awards are open to any 4WD on the mar­ket no mat­ter how long ago it was re­leased.

With the cham­pion Dis­cov­ery 3 TDV6 no longer avail­able, the Best Over­all and Best Large Diesel Wagon cat­e­gories were up for grabs.

On paper, the new Dis­cov­ery 4 looked the nat­u­ral can­di­date to take over from the Dis­cov­ery 3, but which Dis­cov­ery 4, given the ex­panded en­gine op­tions? And what about the new Land­Cruiser Prado 150?

Though the Dis­cov­ery 4 gath­ered suf­fi­cient ‘‘points’’ to put it in front with­out too many prob­lems, the de­ci­sion be­tween the 3.0-litre TDV6 and the 2.7-litre TDV6 — the pick of the two en­gine op­tions given the cost and thirst of the new 5.0-litre V8 — proved more dif­fi­cult.

In the end, the 3.0-litre’s lack of bush prac­ti­cal­ity saw the de­ci­sion go in the way of the 2.7-litre. Yes, it’s not as pow­er­ful as the 3.0-litre, but it’s cheaper and the fact that you can equip it with 17-inch wheels makes it far more prac­ti­cal.

An hon­ourable men­tion went to the Toy­ota Land­Cruiser 200 Se­ries D-4D. It’s a great all-rounder but ex­pen­sive, a lit­tle thirsty and not as pow­er­ful as it should be. So-so on-road han­dling doesn’t help ei­ther.

The Best Value-For-Money 4WD and Best Medium Diesel Wagon award went to the Mit­subishi Pa­jero Di-D.

This is the fifth year it has won the best-value cat­e­gory, but it’s taken a while for the diesel Pa­jero to take the Best Medium Diesel Wagon crown from Toy­ota’s Prado.

So why didn’t the 150 take over from where the 120 left off? Well, it’s sim­ply not good enough and, in many ways, a back­wards step from the 120. On paper it’s slightly big­ger in­side and marginally more fuel-ef­fi­cient, but nei­ther of these two ad­van­tages plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in the real world.

Supreme: the Land Rover Dis­cov­ery 4, with the 2.7-litre TDV6, was named Best of the Best.

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