..... more

Road Test


Land Rover Discovery 3 HSE

by Stephen Walker

18th December, 2006


www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

As tough as old boots is a mighty fine reputation. And Land Rover has been living up to this philosophy since the 1948 arrival of the original Land Rover, the Series 1. The Series II and Series III continued the hard-earned and much envied Land Rover tradition.

Whilst the tough reputation remains, these days the Land Rover brand is attached to more upmarket models than ever before. As such, Land Rover has moved away from the mainstream 4x4 market, leaving sales in this arena to be defended by the Land Rover Defender. However, the likes of Mitsubishi's Pajero and Nissan's Patrol easily outsell the latest version of the classic Land Rover.

In Australia, Land Rover's present day success is built on the Discovery. The original Land Rover Discovery arrived on our shores in late 1991. It added a new dimension to the Land Rover brand, which now had three models on offer (the classic Land Rover, the new V8 Discovery 3-door and the Range Rover). The 5-cylinder diesel and the 5-door body style arrived the following year to further expand and enhance the Discovery line-up. The much improved Discovery II then came along in 1999. But, now, the Discovery 3 is out there blazing a new trail for Land Rover.

The sales trail is upmarket somewhat, with prices (RRP) ranging between $63,990 and $89,990 for models as diverse as those powered by a 4 litre 6-cylinder (PULP) petrol engine or a 2.7 litre V6 turbo-diesel or a 4.4 litre V8 (PULP) petrol engine. The prices mentioned exclude options.

The major competitors for the Land Rover Discovery 3 in Australia are the outstanding Volkswagen Touareg and the American-built Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

The test car, on this occasion, was the HSE V8. Priced from $89,990 (RRP) this model sits at the top of the Discovery 3 line-up. It has a 4.4 litre lightweight aluminium alloy V8 as standard equipment. Power is rated at 220 kW at 5,500 rpm and torque is rated at an excellent 425 Nm at 4,000 rpm. This particular engine is shared with Jaguar!

The fuel tank has a capacity of 86 litres, which is a good thing given that the V8 Discovery 3 burns 20.9 litres of petrol for 100 kilometres of urban driving (Land Rover's figures). On the combined cycle, the company claims the consumption is 15 litres per 100 kms. Although we didn't test their claim, we were certain that during our 917 kms in Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter Valley we were using much more fuel than we wanted to use. We gained the impression that the fuel gauge was just as fast as the tachometer!

That left us with the impression that the diesel has just got to be a better option for all but a few buyers. Prior to the Australian release of the Discovery 3 we predicted the V6 diesel would be the most popular engine choice for Australian who buy the new 'Disco', as it is affectionately known. Our time behind the wheel of the new Discovery 3 reiterates why we were thinking such thoughts.

www.nextcar.com.au (copyright image)

So the fuel consumption of a V8 4x4 is a shocker. And, clearly, that's the way it is with the Discovery 3.

For towing, the Land Rover Discovery 3 can pull a credible 3,500 kilos (braked) or 750 kilos (unbraked).

The big news for Discovery 3 is the technical aspects of this desirable vehicle. There's the Terrain Response system which optimises driveability and comfort, as well as maximising traction. You choose one of five terrain settings (there's a switch on the centre console) which selects your mode: a general driving programme, one for slippery conditions ('grass/gravel/snow'), and three off-road modes (mud/ruts, sand & rock crawl). Terrain Response selects the most appropriate settings for the vehicle’s advanced electronic controls and traction aids – including ride height, Engine Torque Response, Hill Descent Control, Electronic Traction Control and transmission settings.

Discovery 3 has an integrated body-frame structure, which allows Land Rover to deliver the comfort, refinement and on-road attributes of a monocoque, while setting appropriate standards for off-road performance. The Discovery 3 also features adaptive headlights that swivel with the direction of travel to illuminate the road ahead.

The interior is a very pleasing aspect of the new Disco. The roomy interior is well designed and offers a welcoming ambience. The access to/from the back seat is improved and stadium-style seating provides a good view to rear seat passengers. Seating for seven is available, for those who don't value luggage space.

At $89,990 (RRP) the Discovery 3 HSE V8 is well priced. It delivers driving pleasure with a comfortable interior, great hauling capabilities and legendary off-road performance with the satisfaction of knowing you're enjoying yourself with a vehicle that is up to the job!

Other Land Rover content: here.

Next Car Pty Ltd
ABN 47106248033

Next Car Pty Ltd

Copyright © 2006.
All rights reserved.