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Land Rover Discovery HSE
road test

Strong and secure ..... and powerful!


Everyone knows the new Land Rover Discovery 3 is just around the corner. That being the case it is time to have a quick look at the outgoing Discovery, which is still available as a new vehicle whilst stocks last.

The Discovery has been with us for many years and it is a firm favourite. And quite rightly so, as it's the most attractive of all the medium/larger 4x4 on the market. And being a Land Rover means it is as tough as old boots, so to speak.

We drive the top of the line HSE model fitted with a petrol V8 and manual transmission.

The HSE, priced at $79,490 (plus the traditional add-ons), is well equipped.

Standard equipment includes seating for seven (leather seats for rows one and two), electric seat adjustment up front, heated seats. front and rear air conditioning, twin sunroofs, DVD player in the rear, 6-disc CD player, park distance control, 18" alloy wheels, engine immobilisation, cruise control and burr walnut centre console.

The 4 litre V8 is rated at 136 kW at 4,750 rpm, whilst torque is a very healthy 340 Nm at 2,600 rpm. As you would imagine, these figures produce good performance. You never need to worry about being slow of the mark in urban traffic! Fuel usage is as expected ..... heavy! It's rated at 22.9 l/100 km in the urban cycle according to Land Rover.

The engine choice on the outgoing model is the 4-litre V8 (auto only) and there is, also, a 2.5 litre intercooled, turbo-charged 5-cylinder diesel (manual or auto).

When the new Discovery 3 arrives, it will be with a new range of engines.

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www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

Driving the Discovery HSE is a pleasing experience because of numerous points. The driving position is excellent, the ease of controlling this over 2-tonne vehicle is surprisingly pleasant and the power delivery is delightful. Handling on the road is quite good because of the effective suspension and excellent brakes. It is a heavy vehicle though and, as such, it isn't as nimble as a sedan. The steering made me think it was tired but it does its job. The steering just doesn't provide confidence at low speed though. At driving speed and on unsealed roads it was very good. On unsealed roads, the Discovery does an excellent job.

As part of our test, we loaded up 4 folks and drove through the Watagan Mountains from Martinsville and onto the Yengo National Park. Such a run was easy and very comfortable in the Discovery. It was during this run that the Discovery's only fault was discovered. You may even notice it in the photographs. Rear seat passengers don't have a great amount of space for their feet when entering and leaving the vehicle. But it isn't a major concern by any means. Although the new Discovery 3 does address this issue.

This second generation Land Rover Discovery will, doubtlessly, provide enjoyment for many folks for many years to come, both as a new vehicle and as a second-hand acquisition. The V8, though, will be restricted to those who have sufficient income to fund each kilometre of travel. About 3 or 4 years ago I remember buying my first $50 tank of petrol. I was stunned! But today, a Discovery HSE with an empty 93 litre tank will take $100 worth of petrol!

The delight of experiencing the Discovery HSE ensures the Next Car team is looking forward to the Discovery 3, which isn't far away now.

Stephen Walker
23rd November, 2004

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Copyright 2004. All rights reserved.