WITH the new Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Evoque getting most of the recent headlines the multi award winning Land Rover Discovery has been somewhat overshadowed but the formidable 4x4 is still one of the best premium off roaders in the world and an impressive new derivative has just been launched in the UK writes Bryan Longworth.
It is the seven seater Discovery 4 HSE which has a luxurious interior and a refreshed exterior plus being possibly the best off road vehicle on the globe and it is still winning top awards after just being voted Towcar of the Year.
I have enduring memories of driving earlier Discos over some of the toughest and most demanding off road courses in the world including a dip in the sea off John O’Groats where it did the business without any problems.
The latest model embodies all these qualities plus even more high tech kit and there is now a superb luxurious leather clad interior complete with TV and heated steering wheel making it a very desirable 4x4 in the executive market sector where it costs £52,450.
Powering the latest model is a 3.0-litre 255bhp V6 diesel engine with an eight speed ZF automatic gearbox producing a top speed of 112mph, zero to 60mph in 8.8 seconds, a combined fuel consumption of 32.1 mpg and CO2 emissions of 230g/km.
The air suspension provides a top quality ride on all types of road surfaces where the Discovery will spend a lot of its time although it is one top 4x4 that is also likely to travel off road quite a bit towing horse boxes and caravans.
In fact the Discovery has a maximum towing weight of 3500kg and its towing capacity for an unbraked trailer is 750kg and the standard ride height is 185mm but this can be pumped up to 310mm on the air suspension for driving over very rough and wet terrain.
As I mentioned earlier the off road qualities are legendary and while I did not have the opportunity of doing any serious off roading this time I know from past off road expeditions it is a top car - it has a wading capability of 700mm.
The Discovery 4 HSE has one of the most luxurious interiors of any car with very user friendly controls and instrumentation plus a Harmon Kardon sound system and the television is rather cool and makes a good talking point about the car at the golf club.
With the two rear seats folded flat there is a tremendous load area at the rear for baggage and pets - I know an owner who transports three large dogs at the back with a dog guard in place plus numerous shopping bags.
The test car was loaded with optional features worth several thousands of pounds which included the telly at £510, a cooled cubby box for champers at the races costing £235 and a full size spare wheel at £185.
As mentioned at the beginning the new Range Rover, Range Rover Sport and Evoque have been hitting the headlines but this Discovery has all their luxury and glamour inside the cabin although it is more likely to be used as a workhorse making it arguably the more versatile vehicle of Land Rover’s top quartet.
My Verdict: Disco is still a formidable premium 4x4.
Model: Land Rover Discovery 4 HSE.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 diesel.
Transmission: Eight speed automatic.
Maximum speed: 112mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 60mph 8.8 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 32.1mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 230g/km.