It’s as big as The Hulk, has more grunt than a GT3 race field, the poise on road of Nureyev in Swan Lake and the agility of a salmon leaping from an ice cold river. They’re flowery words to describe the latest iteration of Land Rover’s venerable Discovery TDV6 but it’s all that and more. A Wheel Thing takes the beastie for a solid on road stint and comes away wishing the keys stayed for longer.The Discovery TDV6 is blocky, squared off, seemingly hewn from a single piece of metal. It stands a massive 1891 mm tall (including roof rails) and has a face not unlike the sibling Range Rover, complete with LED driving lights and logo shone down to the ground from the wing mirrors. At the rear are the classic Land Rover tail lights (now with LED lighting) and split fold non powered tailgate with electric release for the lower section. In profile there’s windows large enough to be sails for an America’s Cup yacht. From 1890. Yep, the Disco is a big ‘un all round.And that extends to the beautifully appointed bone/beige and chocolate coffee( aka Almond and Arabica) leather interior, optioned in the test vehicle over the cloth covering normally found in the TDV6, with driver, passenger, mid row passengers and rear seat passengers (which fold flat into the floor) all having plenty of shoulder, leg, and head room. The Discovery did lack heating for the front seats (which were the optionable electric powered) and, to be honest, a heated tiller would have been nice too, but it’s optionable on the other two models. Such is the manner of companies differentiating between models in a range.The middle row seats have a solid mechanism to their folding; some middle rows simply feel as if they’ll fold with a slight breeze once unlatched, the Discovery’s give an impression of needing some muscle to do so. Of course that’s not the case, but there’s that implied sense of oomph required. They’re also separate seats, three seats, not a sixty to forty split fold and big enough for three average sized adults to be in. This configuration is also an option, with the 60/40 split the norm.Up front, well it’s just a beautiful place to be. The Arabica leather across the top, the symmetrically designed console (bar the Start/Stop button at driver’s left in a right hand drive vehicle) and the simple and elegant dash dial look. Not that it’s a major thing but the temperature dials adjusted by one degree stops, not 0.5 as seems to be the standard and a button or tab for dual zone operation to single wasn’t readily apparent either. Controls for the drive modes are button operated as is the variable height air suspension, giving up to 310 mm maximum ground clearance.
But there’s that sweet colour combination, the subtly supportive seats (subtle because although there was room to move you also feel safe and after a good stint behind the wheel there’s no feeling of tiredness) and the JLR touchscreen’s familiarly cluttered look. DAB is fitted and the sensitivity of the units that Jaguar/Land Rover/Range Rover again comesunder scrutiny, with drop out in areas other manufacturers systems don’t have. Meridian supply the speakers and it’s again a clean, well defined sound stage.As mentioned, the Discovery is big; there’s a wheelbase of 2885 mm inside a length of 4829 mm and with the mirrors folded ut, it’s 2200 mm wide. It’ll wade up to 700 mm in depth, on the 19 inch alloys and 255/55 Wrangler rubber and can climb and depart at 32.2 and 26.7 degrees without raising the body on the air suspension. Otherwise it’s 36.2 and 29.6. The size provides up to 1260 litres of cargo space and gives passengers 1020 mm of head room at the front, plus 983 mm to 1018 mm in the third row if fitted with the “Alpine roof”. Weight? Well, it’s more than it looks, at a hefty 2558 kilos…Although there’s a decent 155 kilowatts at 4000 revs, there’s an even better 520 torques at 2000. This contributes greatly towards the fuel economy figures, which Land Rover quotes as being 9.8L per 100 kilometres in the ‘burbs, 8.1L/100 on the highway (which is higher than expected) and comes from a 82.3L tank. A Wheel Thing finished on 9.0L after just under 670 kilometres. They’re good, if not great figures, considering it’s an eight speed auto connected to the constant 4WD (no transfer case in the base TDV6) system and there’s a 0-100 kilometre time of over ten seconds. Some weight loss work would see both figures improve.Although it’s a tad weighty, it doesn’t deter the Discovery from being agile and nimble. Also a strong advocate of road safety and driver education, A Wheel Thing sees far too much of what could be politely termed bad driving whilst out and reviewing cars. Thanks to Sydney drivers exhibiting said bad driving, it gave the Discovery opportunities to display its flair for handling, manouverability and mid range acceleration. The family pizza sized disc brakes 360/350 mm front/rear) also do a sterling job of hauling up the 2.5 tonne machine in anything from mild to wild situations.
On an overnight jaunt to Nowra, some 160 kilometres south of Sydney but a two plus hour drive, the tacho showed why an eight speed auto is a wonderful thing, with barely 1400 revs showing at 100 kmh. With something like 90% of that peak torque available at around that rev point, it makes for an easy, relaxed, cruising speed. Give the go pedal a prod and the eight speed auto drops back one or two cogs, quietly and smoothly. This has the Discovery move along quite nicely thank you, with that 520 Nm peak being picked up by the transmission. To aid and add the driving experience, there’s a well weighted steering system that can be moved with just one finger yet has real heft and feel to it, with plenty of feedback.
It’s also a superbly planted vehicle, supple to the point of being unbelieveable in its ride quality, with a confident sense of control being imparted to the driver. The driver education also plays a part in knowing how to manhandle the Discovery through tight curves and turns, such as those found heading to Nowra via Kangaroo Valley, with the front tucking in and the rear settled with just a touch of acceleration. There is, however, still the matter of 2.5 tonnes of mass to consider…yes, it’s a great ride and handler, but you can feel that mass move about and come into play in turns and braking.
At The End Of The Drive.
It’s a helluva car for a surprisingly low price: RRP is around $68K (as of June 2016) but there’s something like $9400 in on road costs to tack on as well. THEN there’s the extensive options list, allowing you to personalise your new Land Rover to your own taste. But you’ll get Land Rover’s standard three year warranty, road side assistance and the option of extended warranty for extra piece of mind (Land Rover Extended Warranty)
Fit, finish, driveability and in real terms pretty damned good fuel economy make this car a winner in the eyes of A Wheel Thing. Land Rover continues the legend and the Land Rover Discovery TDV6 was given back with a heavy heart.
Details of your new Land Rover Discovery are right here: 2016 Land Rover Discovery