WE TOOK possession of the Discovery in late December and it landed pretty much exactly as we spec’d it on Land Rover’s configurator. The only real difference being that the steering wheel is on the right-hand side – thankfully – and it has roof rails. With the holiday break beckoning we set about putting some kilometres on the car, which had less than 150km on the clock.
Two weeks and a little more than 4000km later, the Discovery has proven itself as an incredible long-distance tourer. What was just as incredible was the sub-7.0L/100km of diesel fuel it sipped on the highway.
The trip took us from Melbourne to Brisbane via the Newell Highway, where we toured at the speed limit; being extra cautious to watch the speedo, with extra police patrols in force for the holidays.
The SE spec has standard cruise control and not automatic radar cruise, which suits us fine as auto cruise can be a nuisance. Auto cruise is an option on SE spec, but we’d been careful not to tick too many options on this car to keep the price reasonable.
IN THE HEAT of summer it soon became apparent I should have ticked the box for optional cooled seats. The leather seats in the SE are heated but cooling is optional, and cool pews would have been appreciated during the long, hot stints on this drive. Fortunately, the airconditioning does a pretty good job of keeping the cabin cool; although, it does struggle a bit with Australian summer conditions. My usual preferred setting for climate control in any car is 23°C, but in the Disco I find myself using ‘A/C Max’ to cool the cabin and then setting it to 20°C to maintain comfort.
The seats and cabin are very comfortable, making long drives pleasurable. This latest Discovery has a very different feel to its cabin than that of Discos past, but it still has a large glasshouse that offers plenty of vision around the car and makes it ideal for touring scenic country roads or manoeuvring tight off-road tracks.
While the Sd4’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine might seem small for a large SUV like the Discovery – in fact, torque output has been cut from 500Nm in MY18 to 430Nm for the MY19 specification, to meet emission regulations – it never feels wanting for more performance on the highway.
Overtaking road trains at upwards of 100km/h was never an issue, the transmission kicking back quickly and the car powering onwards. Peak power remains at 177kW.
There is one area of performance where it does feel wanting, and that’s low-speed around-town throttle response. You squeeze the pedal lightly to drive through a roundabout or pull out of a street and there’s nothing there, so you squeeze it a bit more and the car shoots off like it’s propelled from a catapult. It’s almost like turbo lag, but you would expect the bi-turbo arrangement of the Ingenium engine would account for that ... it’s more likely the calibration of the throttle than the engine itself. This seems to be a trait of a few new vehicles, and it’s one aftermarket throttle tuners will take advantage of.
For now the Disco will be tasked with some city commuting, before we get to take it off-road again.