BACK IN the middle of last year we asked Land Rover if we could get a Discovery Sd4 as a long-term test vehicle. This was the vehicle we had recently awarded as our 4x4 of the Year and we were keen to see what living with it and exploring in it over an extended period would be like.
Land Rover told us it was ordering its stock of 2019-spec cars and the thencurrent fleet was being pulled out of service, so they offered us the chance to specify and order a vehicle as we would like it via the online vehicle configurator at www.landrover.com.au
Now itís unlikely Iíll ever be able to afford to order and buy a new vehicle of any kind, let alone something the calibre of the Discovery, so I was pretty chuffed at being let loose on the configurator with the promise of an actual vehicle at the end of it.
Iíve played with vehicle configurators from many manufacturers plenty of times, but it was only ever dreaming of how Iíd spec a car. This was the real thing.
Itís well-known that European car manufacturers offer a truckload of options and extras on their vehicles which can really jack up the price, so I set aside some time to dive into the Land Rover configurator, but it wasnít that complicated. As a 4X4 Australia vehicle there were a couple of essentials we needed, while the rest were comfort, convenience and style options.
The first essential item Ė and to match our 4X4OTY-winning vehicle spec Ė was the Capability Plus Pack. All Discovery vehicles have a dual-range transfer case, Terrain Response and height-adjustable suspension, however, this $3270 pack includes All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC), Terrain Response 2 and the
Active Rear Locking differential. The most valuable part of the entire kit is that auto-locking rear diff.
The other must-have for us was to upsize the Discovery SEís standard-fit 19-inch alloys to 20s. No we havenít gone crazy and resorted to big bling wheels, itís just that 19s are a relatively uncommon size and there are a lot more options for off-road-suitable tyres on 20-inch rims. The 20-inch, five-split-spoke gloss black wheels added a further $2990 to the $87,450 sticker price.
While we were going black on the wheels we also added the $1400 Black Exterior pack, which darkens the grille, side vents, door mirrors, bonnet badging and tow eye covers. Lather all that over the Santorini Black paintwork and black-as privacy glass and the Disco is looking pretty stealth.
Inside I went for contrasting Acorn leather trim on the seats ($850 for heated front seats), natural Shadow Oak veneer trims ($640), and a dual panoramic roof with opening front sunroof and fixed rear (another $4370 to the price). All up weíd be looking at $103,840 plus on-road costs to drive away in this black beauty.
While $100K sounds like a lot of money for a family fourby, the Discovery delivers a lot of car. After all, it wasnít our 4X4OTY for nothing. Think of it as a more affordable Range Rover and you start to see the value, as itís a true luxury vehicle with all the luxury and convenience features you would expect. Well, almost all of them.
There are couple of features that come standard on much lower-priced vehicles that are not present on the Disco SE. They arenít essential, but we miss them at this price point. The SE gets keyless push-button start/stop so you could theoretically leave the key fob in your pocket, but it doesnít have keyless entry so you still need to unlock the doors using the fob. Keyless entry is another option on the SE, or standard if you step up to the HSE.
Initial use of the Discoís factory navigation system has taken a bit of getting used to and itís not as intuitive and simple as most other factory set-ups. Nor does the system have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, which would solve this problem with direct connectivity to your chosen smartphone. Land Rover does have an InControl app that links to your phone, but we tried it and it offers nothing we would use. They might be petty little gripes and they certainly shouldnít detract from the vehicle ownership experience.
The black Disco is living with us for the next six months, and next month weíll start putting some kilometres under its tyres.