Land Rover Discovery 4 - iDrive

A school-run oil burner that’s hard to beat off-road

Price: from £37,995 (£51,195 as tested)
Engine capacity: 3-litre SDV6 255hp
Top speed (mph): 112
0-60 mph (seconds): 8.8
Fuel economy (mpg): 32.1
CO2 emissions (g/km): 230

Land Rover is having a bit of a moment in the sun. Sales are booming, it has just hired 1,000 new workers for its Merseyside factory and it has agreed a joint venture that should pave the way for production in the lucrative Chinese market.CO2 emissions (g/km): 230 Land Rover is having a bit of a moment in the sun. Sales are booming, it has just hired 1,000 new workers for its Merseyside factory and it has agreed a joint venture that should pave the way for production in the lucrative Chinese market.

It’s the baby Evoque (loved by WAGs – there’s a Victoria Beckham special edition) that has had the lion’s share of attention in recent months, but look beyond the glamour and the dependable Discovery has been refreshed. Last month the millionth one rolled off the production line. To celebrate, the company sent one to Beijing (it knows where its bread will be buttered in the future) on a 50-day journey, raising money for the Red Cross. To rather less fanfare, it dropped a sparkling new model off with me for the weekend to put to the test.

The Discovery is a school-run favourite near me in north London for its comfort, touch of bling and roomy interior, but to really test it a journey to its spiritual homeland is in order. So with my wax jacket and walking boots in the boot I’m off down the M4 to test it in its natural habitat – the chocolate-box villages and narrow lanes of the Cotswolds.

Leaving town the new Discovery smooths out bumps and potholes with ease and settles down as a more-than comfortable city and motorway cruiser. It even has lower emissions than the model it replaces – though it still belts out 230g of carbon per kilometre and I struggle to get more than 25 mpg from it.

It also gets an eight-speed automatic gearbox (operated by the Jaguar XF’s nifty selector dial) but it occasionally picks a duff gear and the wheel-mounted paddles are slow to respond. The steering is direct but not too light and it is only under heavy braking that you become aware of just how big the Discovery is – there’s room for seven people and their luggage.

It’s a great family car, but where the Discovery really stands apart from its rivals is its ability to handle virtually any terrain you throw at it. My off-road test (more thorough than most city Discoveries will ever endure, but far less than it is capable of) confirms it still rules off-road. It will slice through mud and broken ground like a Challenger tank on exercise, which is, er, useful if you're into that sort of thing. But back in town, where Discos spend the vast majority of their time, I could find much in the way of challenges for its Terrain Response System and massive wheels to tackle. At least it was the muddiest car around, though.

The Competition

If you don’t need to go off-road the BMW X5 offers greater fuel economy. The new Mercedes M-Class is flash and sublime on tarmac but isn’t cheap.

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Field Engineer

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has 30 years of ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Account Manager

    £27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...

    Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager - Software & Services

    £35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager...

    Recruitment Genius: Exhibition Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

    £16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding B2B exhibition and...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat