THIRD DISCOVERY

DOES A LAND ROVER WITHOUT A DUAL-RANGE TRANSFER CASE DESERVE TO WEAR THE DISCOVERY BADGE? FRASER DRIVES THE TD4 DISCO TO FIND OUT.

WORDS AND PHOTOS FRASER STRONACH

LAND Roverís all-new Discovery has just won our 4x4 of the Year award, in SD4 guise; with the high-powered four-cylinder SD4 one of three engine options in the Disco range. For 4x4OTY we also tested and evaluated the six-cylinder TD6 Discovery, which didnít find the same favour with the judges. What we didnít take on 4x4OTY was the TD4, which is the least powerful and least expensive of the three all-diesel engine options. Aside from not being available with dual-range gearing (even as an option), the TD4 was left off the shortlist because we didnít get to drive it before 4x4OTY testing began. This left open the question of how the new Discovery Ė with the base engine Ė performs, and how it performs off-road without dual-range gearing. After all, not having low range doesnít worry the VW Amarok, which also runs an eight-speed ZF gearbox.

The two-litre four-cylinder TD4 claims 132kW/430Nm, and while that doesnít sound particularly exciting, thatís about what the 2.8 in the Prado (130kW/450Nm) makes, and the TD4 is lighter than Prado and has two more gears.

The end result is the TD4 gets along comfortably and effortlessly enough in most driving conditions; although, more power for overtaking would certainly be welcome.

Does it miss low range? Definitely. The TD4 doesnít like steep climbs and is certainly no mountain goat, like the Amarok. The height-adjustable air suspension is its off-road trump card, allowing you to dial-in instant lift. Throw in that the suspension is blessed with good travel, and you have the making of a capable 4x4.

As ever with Discovery, thereís a big cabin capable of seating seven (with the optional third-row), decent luggage space, a high payload figure and full-size spare. More fuel capacity would be good, but the engine is economical, while the tow rating is limited to 3000kg.

Prices for the TD4 start at $66K for the S model, with the SE looking the better buy.

FULLY LOADED THE TD4 can be had in all four equipment grades up to the top-spec HSE Luxury. What we have here is an SE Ė one up from base grade Ė thatís been loaded with 23 different options or packs that rocket the price from less than $80K to $112,685. The most expensive option is the $4800 Drive Pro Pack of radar cruise, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and assist, reverse traffic detection and a driver-condition monitor.