Thursday, November 3, 2011

Land Rover Discovery 4 Review: AutoExpress

British firm updates Land Rover Discovery for 2012 model year

Land Rover Discovery 4
Rating: * * * * *

If there’s one firm that knows a thing or two about building off-roaders, it’s Land Rover. However, the Land Rover Discovery 4 is also one of the best family casrs you can buy, which is why it was voted our Best SUV winner in our 2011 New Car Awards, despite facing stiff competition from a slew of newer rivals. But Land Rover isn’t resting on its laurels, and the firm has refined the Discovery for 2012. 

One area where the Disco package fell down was with its high emissions figures. But for 2012 Land Rover has introduced two power outputs for the 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbodiesel. The higher powered version has jumped from 242bhp to 252bhp, but emissions have dropped from 244g/km to 230g/km, bringing the Discovery into line with the most efficient off-roaders available. Even better than that, the entry-level diesel, which makes 208bhp, has emissions of 224g/km, which drops the Discovery down two road tax bands.

The new engine is only part of the story, as all cars also get an eight-speed ZF gearbox, which is more efficient than the seven-speed unit it replaces. It’s operated with a Jaguar XF-style dial selector that rises from the centre console, which is a neat touch.

Elsewhere inside, the touchscreen sat-nav system has been given a makeover with bolder graphics, there’s polished silver trim on the centre console and doors, and all models in the range now get a premium sound system that’s the same as the one found in the Range Rover Evoque.

The Discovery’s talent for carrying passengers hasn’t changed, and the cabin is big, airy and comfortable. There’s room for three adults in the back, while another pair of seats can be found in the boot, which further adds to the Discovery’s versatility.

On the road, the Discovery is a comfortable cruiser that’s capable of covering long distances with ease. You have a commanding view of the road ahead, while the new high-power diesel has plenty of punch to make light work of the Disco’s weight. In fact, the only time you’re really aware of the car’s size is under heavy braking.

The new eight-speed auto shifts smoothly, which makes the wheel-mounted paddleshifters somewhat redundant, and it kicks down quickly when you need extra power, although it does seem to do this quite frequently when you’re on the move.

Of course, where the Discovery really stands apart from other family cars is the fact that it can tackle virtually any terrain you throw at it. Simply switch Land Rover’s Terrain Response system to the setting you require, and the Discovery can go places where even rival SUVs would fear to tread.

Source: Auto Express

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