As far as new models go, Land Rover has yet to do anything completely new with its mainstay model since the arrival of Discovery 3 in 2005.
This, the most recent Discovery, has a new petrol engine, a refreshed exterior and audio systems, and is probably the last significant update to the series until an all-new model arrives here, probably in 2016.
The Land Rover Discovery 4 visual changes are very minor. They include a new grille, new front bumper, new headlights (incorporating new LED daytime running lights), two new alloy wheel designs and the ‘Land Rover’ bonnet badge replaced with one that says ‘Discovery’.
At the back, the ‘4’ has been removed from the badging, which, like the front badge, now just says ‘Discovery’. The engine variant information now appears on the front doors.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The new 3L supercharged V6 was developed from its predecessor, the petrol V8. Unlike the V8, the V6 is not offered, at this point, in a naturally-aspirated version – only a supercharged V6 is on the menu.
Like the V8, the SCV6 has direct fuel injection, variable valve-timing and has all-alloy construction. The SCV6 has cross-bolted main bearing caps for improved rigidity and the twin-cam, four-valve cylinder heads are made from recycled aluminium.
Intake and exhaust valves are controlled by a dual independent variable cam timing system, which works with the positive and negative torques generated by the movement of the intake and exhaust valves.
The key component of this new engine is, of course, the supercharger – a Roots-type twin vortex supercharger centrally mounted between the cylinder banks. A water-cooled intercooler reduces the intake air temperature. New to the 3L V6 is that the supercharger boost control is electronically supervised by new Bosch engine management software, offering efficiency gains of up to 20 per cent.
The Discovery’s all independent, air-spring suspension is a proven design, and it continues to work very well. The ability to soak up big bumps with ease is one of the greatest assets of this vehicle when touring, as is the ability to manual adjust suspension height to suit offroading or to improve ease of access when stopped.
Like the Discovery 3 and 4 tested before it, this Discovery 4 SCV6 towed very well. It has a lot of kerb weight on its side, plus what appears to be a natural load-lugging stability. The mirrors can be a bit tricky when attaching towing mirrors (the mirrors are quite large) and not everyone likes the Discovery’s tow hitch arrangement (the box hitch component locks in from below, and is not compatible with a weight distribution hitch).
And how does the SCV6 perform when towing? Like the trailer is not even there. It towed the 1800kg van behind without a problem, and when we towed another 2600kg van later, it also appeared undiminished in its eagerness to perform.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is a very comfortable, stable and luxurious tow hauler with plenty of performance on offer. The fuel consumption figures when towing are not great, but that goes with the territory – this is no super-efficient diesel. If you like to tour in comfort and want a big tow capacity in the sense of weight-carrying ability and performance – and don’t mind the fuel bills – then the Discovery 4 SCV6 might be just the thing.
The full test appears in Caravan World #533, January 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!