RANGE Rover’s glamorous new baby Evoque has been getting all the headlines recently and rightly so but there are other important cars in the Land Rover range that deserve some more publicity in their 2012 guise and none more so than the Discovery 4 , writes Bryan Longworth.
The Disco has been around for quite some time but the latest model is something special with all the latest electronic kit on board and is acclaimed by Land Rover as the world’s most capable all purpose vehicle.
If any other manufacturer had made this claim it would probably have been greeted with a certain amount of scepticism but Land Rover is accepted world wide as a producer of top four wheel drive vehicles and the latest Discovery 4 is no exception.
My test car was the Discovery 4 3-litre SDV6 255bhp HSE costing £51,195 and was loaded with over £4,000 worth of optional equipment such as as a premium audio system and the Vision Assist pack with its superb xenon headlights and the various camera visibility systems.
It also had the latest rotary gear shifter for the eight speed speed automatic gearbox which I recall using in a Jaguar and which can be used manually by paddles on the heated steering wheel that is a boon for winter driving.
The V6 turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine is now more powerful with lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel consumption by three miles per gallon - top speed is 112mph, zero to 60mph takes 8.8 seconds and combined fuel consumption is 32.1mpg.
There is a user friendly panel low on the centre console for controlling the various electronic functions including hill descent, hillstart assist, gradient acceleration control, ride height and low range gears.
Off-road ability is just about the best in the world but on road where the vehicle will spend most of its time the latest Discovery offers a very enjoyable driving experience and handling is better than ever with plenty of space and comfort for a full load of seven - the third row of seats fold flat into the load area.
The latest diesel engine provided quite lively motoring considering how big and heavy the vehicle is and it worked well with the latest gearbox and I liked the rotary gear changer which is very easy to use.
Discovery is one of the favourite vehicles for owners in the horsey world and a friend with several horses says it is the best four wheel drive they have had for towing and negotiating very muddy and water covered country tracks.
The rear tailgate splits in two to make for very convenient loading and unloading around the large load area and my only grumble would involve the third row of seats that seemed a bit difficult to lift into place.
I have always liked Discovery since going on the first Press launch quite a few years ago but the latest model is a perfect example of how one of the best four wheel drive vehicles in the world has grown old gracefully and incorporated all the latest electronic gadgetry to its best advantage.
My Verdict: A perfect example of what Britain does best.
Model: Land Rover Discovery 4 3-litre SDV6 HSE
Engine: 3-litre V6 diesel turbocharged and intercooled
Transmission: Eight speed automatic
Top speed: 112mph
Acceleration: 0 to 60mph 8.8 seconds
Fuel consumption: Combined 32.1mpg
CO2 emisions: 230g/km
Price: £51,195 on the road excluding options