Discovering things…

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Forgetting the Range Rover and Sport for a second, the Discovery – certainly for the price – is one if not the best 4x4’s around today with great residual values and a tough, rugged exterior and a beautifully-crafted interior.

Not everyone of course likes big 4x4’s, and the Discovery sort of bridges the gap between too small and monstrous. Couple to that it’s as good off the road as it is on, it has a case here for being just about perfect.

The old Land Rovers were endearing to say the least; the choice of virtually every farmer and equestrian fraternity, it proved an invaluable mode of transport. The Discovery 4 here moves the game on firmly from that of the 3 and does the job just as well, but with oodles more comfort and it looks so much more modern. There’s now a body-coloured bumper at the front, and looks very much part of the family; the Freelander on steroids is what it resembles down the sides and at the back the two-piece tailgate is retained and is rather squarish to behold.

Unambiguously a Land Rover product then, it somehow conquers the ‘boxy looks’ with a somewhat cute silhouette.

Mine here had the super 3.0-litre SDV6 turbocharged and intercooled engine fitted, in HSE specification with a full-on 255 brake horsepower; It has full-time four wheel drive and can cut it on the road should the need arise for a bit of a dash. Mine here also had the brilliant ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox – one of the smoothest I think I’ve ever encountered. Top speed will see you hit 112 miles per hour, with 60 taking just over 8.8 seconds, a far cry from the 2.7-litre units that used to struggle to get under 12. I have air suspension all round that gives a compliant ride, with ride height generous should the need to go off-piste with ground clearance of up to 310mm. Its super smooth on the tarmac, with the brakes working overtime if called upon, safely. A centrally mounted knurled wheel (known as the Terrain Response System) can be adjusted to your driving conditions, giving five permutations and is as good as a Land Rover expert sat nest to you letting you know what’s what and what to do in the event of…foolproof and very good it is.

New alloy wheels shod with generous rubber cross the borders of ploughing through mud and a daily commute very well, allowing access to their limits if the needs arise. I can expect around the 32 miles to the gallon mark easily here, probably nudging a bit more on a steady drive somewhere in no hurry.

Emissions whilst a bit on the heavy side (at 230g/km) will not worry private buyers at all, and the insurance group is 41.

And with that high driving command, the Discovery is a sensible choice.

Interior: Not everything in here has been changed form that of the old model, but it echoes the persona of that from the RR and the RR Sport. Trim level depends on what you get for your money, but standard kit is fine in the GS spec that includes air conditioning, brake assist, 17-inch alloy wheels power windows and airbags galore; next up from entry-level is the XS which adds larger alloys, cruise control plus much more over that of the GS (adding about £6,000 to the entry-level price of £38,825. Top of the pile HSE adds larger alloys still plus sat nav, upgraded sound system, parking sensors and leather trim. I like it in here, the materials are good quality, and it feels rugged but somehow silk purse-like. Options now include Vision Assist Pack (£1,000) cooled cubby box (£235) front on-board TV (£510) and the must-have Rear Axle Locking Diff (£750). Standard price for the HSE here is £52,450 plus the options.

Summary:It’s all about the money, and with prices starting for the 4 as shown above, it’s a great car to own and drive. More apt would be the possibility - should you wish – of owning the excellent 3 version as a used 4x4 as it will be still bullet-proof and still have that fabulous sumptuous interior.

The Discovery 4 is a great 4x4, getting more car-like to drive every time it receives a facelift.