Land Rover Discovery4 TDV6 HSE03 | 12 | 2010Scotcars rating

    Snow may have halted Scotland, but Discovery keeps going no matter the conditions


    Almost everyone complained about the unexpectedly arctic weather which brought most of Scotland to a standstill even before we ventured into December. Grumbles about the cold, the snow, the ice, the blocked roads and cancelled trains were all around us. But not for me. I was in my element … because with unusually superb timing, I found myself at the wheel of the latest Discovery, the 4th in the series, from Land Rover.

    And what a machine! I’m a self-confessed Land Rover fan having owned everything from an elderly Series 2 to a couple of early Discoverys so I know only too well the reliability problems some owners have endured over the years. I got used to having wet feet in one of my Discoverys which not only suffered from a leaking sunroof but also started to absorb moisture through the floor. However, this latest version is without doubt the best yet, oozing with luxurious features yet even more rough and tough than any of its predecessors.

    It now has so much gear which was previously available only in the Range Rover, and behind the wheel it has all the feel of the Range Rover of just a couple of years ago. But Range Rover has moved up a notch or two and the latest Discovery4 has slotted into the vacant gap. It is a superb machine and designed as more of a lean, mean workhorse than its larger, lazier and slightly overweight bigger brother. But this level of standard comes at a price and in the case of the HSE version, there’s very little change out of £50K.  

    On the road

    When I could see the black tarmac earlier this week, the test car proved smooth, luxurious and extremely comfortable with excellent all round vision and a great driving position. But it really came into its own in the snow. As several neighbours battled to cope with compacted snow on top of a layer of ice, the Disco took it on without a whimper and I struggled to get the wheels to even consider spinning.

    I wanted to give the vehicle a challenge so I went out in search of more difficult conditions and found them just two miles from home on the edge of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. A twisting and hilly back road which is a delightful drive in the summer grew horns and growled at any unsuspecting traveller who looked upon its two feet of level snow and fearsome drifts where the wind had carved its own landscape.

    The snow got deeper and more challenging but the Disco didn’t flinch. I selected the ‘snow’ button on the transmission control, more for security than need and continued on my way to exit at the other end; only then, when I glanced in my rear view mirror, did I see that from this end the road had been closed!

    A very impressive test even without using the vast array of other traction tricks which were available, such as the Terrain Response system of Hill Start Assist and Gradient Acceleration Control which are new in the Disco4.


Comfort & Safety

    The test car in HSE spec came with tons of standard features but the £4000 of options were quite handy too. I especially liked the £175 heated steering wheel – it’s the sort of thing I didn’t know I needed and now I’ll wish it was in every car I drive during the winter; the central console cooler box (£230) wasn’t necessary in the -12C outside temperature but could be useful in the summer; the surround camera system (£700) gives five independent views around the vehicle to check the ground conditions off-road; and the park heating system, which adds £1000 to the price, is very clever in pre-heating the engine and then channelling residual heat into the cabin.

    It means the vehicle warms up while you're getting ready to leave the house and can be operated either via the dedicated remote control or through a timer operated from the touch-screen. The automatic headlights were on all the time in the half-light of winter and the added feature of auto full beam and dip was superb.      

    Should I buy one?

    Land Rover still has the best-known name for handling the worst that nature can throw at us. The Disco4 costs a bob or two but it’s a great investment.

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £49,695/£53,480
    Engine / Power: 2993cc V6 turbo/ 245PS
    How fast?: 0-62mph 9.6secs,  Max 112mph
    How big/heavy?: H1887mm W2022mm L4838mm / 2583kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 30.4 mpg / CO2 244g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: Band L, £750
    Alternatives: BMW X5; Mitsubishi Shogun; Porsche Cayenne

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