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Above & Beyond – Land Rover Discovery 4

Published:Sunday | November 13, 2016 | 11:00 AM

The 2016 Land Rover Discovery 4 remains mostly unchanged since its introduction in 2004 as the Discovery 3. In 2009, Land Rover executed a few updates to the model and the Discovery 4 was launched.

Traditional Discovery styling is evident on the 4, from the wrap- around windows on the 'C' pillar above the cargo area to its split tail, asymmetrical gate. The front grille, mirrors and bumper add a clean finish to its distinctive design, with its signature front lights accentuating its contemporary style.

Design

The Discovery 4 (LR4) retains its handsome British lines and stance that Land Rover customers continue to love. The LR4, incorporates several decades of Land Rover's history and embodies several characteristics of the legendary Land Rover Defender. The functional design and utilitarianism of the LR4 evokes confidence as the vehicle that can truly go everywhere.

In the cabin, the LR4's height and large windows provide an unobstructed view of the road. The stadium style seating gives each row of passengers their own personal view of surroundings. Our tester was the HSE, the more luxurious model in the line-up which seats up to 7 passengers with its optional third row seating.

Interior

The cabin feels bright and airy thanks in part to the large windows and dual sunroofs over the driver and rear passenger areas.

The ergonomics of the cabin are well laid out and operating the features of the vehicle is fairly intuitive. Ambient lighting and rich leather reinforce the luxurious atmosphere that Land Rovers are known for.

On starting the LR4, the gear selector rises from the centre console, a feature first introduced by sister company, Jaguar. Powering the LR4 is a six-cylinder supercharged diesel engine mated to an eight speed automatic transmission. This propels the vehicle from rest powerfully and effortlessly with smooth gear shifts, commendable for a full sized SUV.

This model is also equipped with Land Rover's legendary 'Terrain Response' System. Through the mode selector, the LR4 swiftly adjusts the LR4's engine, transmission, four-wheel drive system and suspension to adapt to the terrain conditions. Land Rover should be commended for making such a selection as simple as it is, by allowing the driver to use a pictogram to select the option that best matches the surface condition.

The key element and exemplary feature of the LR4's off-road ability is its air suspension. The vehicle can be raised or lowered to adapt to the road conditions, whether it be for wading in water over two feet deep or lowering to make access easier. The vehicle handles particularly well for a full-size SUV and negotiating tight spaces are effortless. During our test drive, a heavy downpour created a flash flood on a city street, forcing us to raise the height of the vehicle to cross confidently. The air suspension also gracefully absorbs the 'potholes' our roads are known for.

Production of this current model Discovery is nearing end, and will be the final chance for anyone who wishes to purchase the last 'boxy' Land Rover produced.

Technical Data:

Model Tested: 2016 Land Rover Discovery4

3000cc 6-cylinder Supercharged Diesel

Output - 340BHP

Fuel Consumption - 7.7L/100KM

Key Features: LCD Touchscreen

Meridian 11-speaker, 380W Audio System

Multifunction Instrument Display - provides visualisation of vehicle information.

Terrain Response System & Air Suspension

Push-to-start technology, Keyless Entry/Exit - Key Fob

Price as Tested: $13.6M