DISCOVERY 4 SDV6 SE
The Disco starts to look dowdy here against a more contemporary upstart. Standard fare ranges from an 11-speaker Meridian audio to leather seats, air suspension, auto xenon headlamps, seven seats and Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth audio streaming — taken for granted in mainstream models — adds $850, adaptive cruise control is $2300 and satnav adds $3240. Warranty is three years/100,000km and service interval 12 months/26,000km. Capped-price servicing isn’t on the agenda.
The boxy cabin has a terrific ability to ingest bodies or bags. The Popemobile looks ensure good outward vision in traffic. Rear sensors and a camera take care of reversing. Erecting and stowing the third row seats isn’t as flip-friendly as in some rivals.
A 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel, good for 183kW/600Nm, is plugged in to an eight-speed auto and a dual-speed transfer case. Fuel economy is 8.8L/100km. It has five-mode Terrain Response software to adapt engine, braking, air suspension and transmission to the surface. There’s an electronic centre diff lock but an active rear diff is a $1060 option.
ANCAP and EuroNCAP haven’t tested a Discovery 4, so there’s no data to disclose. The Disco 3 earned four stars in 2006. Depending on your point of view that’s good news — this model rides on the same chassis — or slightly disconcerting, given that crash-test standards have come a long way in nine years.
The drive is impressive for what should be a lumbering SUV, especially the lack of body roll and its composure over large hits like speed bumps. It helps make the Land Rover a comfortable city bus with decent steering and a responsive engine. In the bush the Disco is more impressive than most owners will ever need it to be and it backs that up with 3.5-tonne towing capacity.