Monday, October 3, 2011

Land Rover Discovery 4 Review

Despite exterior changes and LED-style headlamps, this is unmistakably a Land Rover Discovery.

LAND Rover’s 2011-series Discovery 4 continues to evolve, and while we’ve yet to get our hands on the very latest model with all-new eight-speed auto ‘box, this heavily revised current model continues to impress.

Out goes the TDV6’s 2.7-litre and in comes a high efficiency 3.0 litre. It still uses two turbos, but parallel sequential plumbing means a greater kick comes from much lower rpm.

While the bigger turbo does most of the work for most of the time, the smaller turbo remains dormant until high power outputs are needed. Land Rover says this design reduces pumping losses and helps improve fuel economy.

But when the engine room is summoned to give it all, the turbo system keeps the 3.0 litre V6 buzzing, never letting the engine run out of breath.

It means a whopping 600Nm of torque is on standby to propel the 2.5 tonne 4x4 out the blocks with a level of pace that makes the figures look like a mistake. There is much better lock-up from the torque converter too, taking away some of the slushiness that can rob auto boxes of efficiency.

Idle speed has been lowered to 710rpm and the introduction of a regenerative, smart charging system means the alternator does most of its work when the Discovery is coasting, rather than accelerating. Expect fuel efficiency to slide upwards into the low 30’s.

Van-sized proportions lead to generous load space. The boot cleverly hides a third row of seats, too.


Neither does it stop there. Tweaks to the clever Terrain Response system have added yet more off-road functionality to the transmission, designed to give more safety and support for those straying off the black top.

As a result, Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control have been added to the Discovery 4’s repertoire. Applying a decent amount of brake pedal pressure at standstill rewards the driver with brakes being held on for a few seconds, or until start-up torque is sufficient to overcome brake resistance.

Gradient Acceleration Control, however, intervenes on downhill slopes when Hill Descent Control has not been activated. It slows the car to a limit determined by throttle position - otherwise, the system restricts speed to 3.1mph for up to 20 seconds, to allow the driver to regain control.


The interior is now reminiscent of a top-spec Range Rover.

The interior of this latest Discovery is now much classier than it used to be, hinting it wants to follow its bigger brother, the Range Rover, into the premium sector. It is now a nice place to sit, reinforced by brilliantly composed air suspension, which soaks up everything our British road surfaces can muster.

It is only slightly marred by the upright windscreen and mirrors the size of grain shovels, which conspire to to amplify wind noise at higher speeds.

While there is no questioning the Discovery’s off-road credentials with the sophisticated Terrain Response system, this new engine has raised its game a couple of notches and transformed the boxy 4x4 from merely mediocre, to a solid performer which deals a much better hand on the open road.

We can only hope the arrival of an eight-speed auto box finally gives Discovery drivers a five-star experience.

Source: Farmers Guardian

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