Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Disco Fever? JUNE NEARY Gets to Grips with the Latest Version of Land Rover's Impressive Discovery

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Disco Fever? JUNE NEARY Gets to Grips with the Latest Version of Land Rover's Impressive Discovery

Article excerpt

Byline: JUNE NEARY

THERE'S nothing quite like a Land Rover Discovery and this improved fourth-generation version continues to offer the toughest, the most practical and the most capable choice in the large SUV sector.

Recent changes have added extra hi-tech equipment, a whole raft of subtle cosmetic updates and a greater emphasis on improved efficiency and lower emissions. The result is an even more compelling multi-purpose proposition.

There's still something very special about a place behind the wheel of a Discovery. In contrast to more car-like rivals, it's not a cockpit-like experience with all the controls angled towards you as they would be in, say a Range Rover Sport.

This is different - a place of command, a place to do business with the elements, be they the snake-infested swamps of the rainy season in the Serengeti or the snarled-up traffic of a wet windy morning on the school run.

View the car from this perspective and you're less likely to wonder why you can't throw it about with abandon and are more likely to simply settle back and enjoy the way it cruises through the urban landscape.

It's around 500kg heavier than its most obvious German rivals thanks to the integrated body frame double chassis underpinnings - which is an awful lot more bulk to carry around. So most of the time, you'll drive this Discovery at a saunter.

Having said that, the torquey 256bhp 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel is always ready to break into a run, accompanied by a rather wonderful snarl at the same time as you move smoothly up and down the standard ZF auto gearbox's eight ratios. To be specific, 62mph from rest occupies 9.2 seconds on the way to 112mph.

All of this is especially impressive in light of the fact that, thankfully, Land Rover has refused to compromise on this car's legendary off-road ability. So you get a proper heavy duty 4x4 system able to direct fully 100% of torque to either axle.

And, if you do find yourself somewhere really sticky, it can be locked in the optimum 50:50 front-to-rear power-split ratio that will ease you out. …

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