Test Drive: Land Rover Discovery 4 V6 HSE Black Edition image

We’ve tested the new Land Rover Discovery 4 V6 HSE Black Edition. The Land Rover Discovery has been in production since 1989 but purists will always go for the Defender, if they’re a Land Rover fan, while businessmen will not give their Range Rover away.

So we now know that it’s not the perfect off-roader and it’s not a luxury cruiser either. In fact it’s something in between with some premium features and the ability to get you out of a “muddy” situation, but choose your tires carefully or you will learn that lesson the hard way!

Our test vehicle was called the HSE Black Edition, for no obvious reasons, because the predominant color was not black anywhere in the cabin and especially on its exterior design. It came with a pretty steep price tag but in a world surrounded by BMW X5s, Audi Q7s, Volkswagen Touaregs, Mercedes-Benz MLs (GLE) and so on, it’s a well-deserved fresh touch.
Land Rover Discovery 500022

Land Rover Discovery 500009

The Land Rover Discovery 4 is actually based on the Discovery 3. It is an updated version which is using the same Integrated Body Frame structure, bringing updated lighting cluster, new bumpers and some fresh touches in the cabin. It has been introduced back in 2009 and designed by Gerry McGovern and, believe it or not, it is closely related to the Range Rover Sport. In North America this is also known as the LR4 and it is bringing four engines to the lineup, the 2.7L Ford TD V6, the 3.0L Ford TD V6, the AJ 3.0L V6 and the 5.0L V8 made by Jaguar. Transmission options include the 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic and 8-speed automatic, all of them signed by ZF.

Engine and Transmission

The tested vehicle came with the 3.0 liter V6 turbo diesel engine, producing 256 HP at 4,000 rpm and 600 Nm of torque, available at 2,000 rpm. Power is being sent to both axles at the same time through the aforementioned 8-speed gearbox. Don’t expect a sporty vehicle because it’s not the case but you won’t be disappointed in it either. It has enough torque to get you up a steep hill, even with five people in the cabin and a trunk filled with luggage, so don’t worry about taking a trip to the mountains in it. The transmission is close to perfection, gear change is performed smooth but you won’t escape that “laggy sensation” when you will want to overpass another vehicle. The fact that the British brand has added paddle shifters to an ocean liner isn’t helping it either but, then again, it’s not like you can put it in sequential mode using the gear shifter, so it’s a good compromise in the end.
Land Rover Discovery 500024
Fuel Consumption

This is a quite delicate topic because most carmakers are rolling out eco-friendly vehicles and since we haven’t been driving the 5.0L Jaguar powered version of the Discovery 4, we expected some lower figures. This is a big surprise considering the fact that you will have to cruise at 100 km/h in order to burn 9.5L / 100km, on the highway, and in a crowded city the trip computer refused to show a figure lower than 14.2L / 100km. Keep in mind that the climate control was on the whole time and that the driving mode was not sporty at all. Push the throttle hard and you will exceed the 20L / 100km in the urban environment and at speeds over 130 km/h – 140 km/h, on the highway, the “beast” will eat 14L / 15L of fuel.

The official figures provided by Land Rover for this specific version of the Discovery 4 are 9.8L / 100km in the city, 8.1L / 100km on the highway and an average of 8.8L / 100km. These are not impossible to achieve but they will represent a real struggle, so be prepared! Note: our figures were obtained with the Eco mode on.

The Ride

Taking the Discovery 4 for a spin means that you will travel in comfort. Don’t expect anything similar to what the Range Rover is providing but you would shake around every time you will go over a speed bump. The SUV is an extremely comfortable vehicle in the city and on the highway thanks to a brilliant suspension system which has numerous settings. You can set the vehicle for a normal cruise, you have a snow mode, a mud mode, a rock mode, a grass mode and you can also raise or lower the suspension system, but with the fully raised setting engaged, you won’t be able to go fast, and this makes a lot sense because you don’t want to end up on the highway cornering with a fully raised vehicle.
Land Rover Discovery 500041

Land Rover Discovery 500001
You also get an Eco mode and, just like a new self-respecting model, this is cutting down some of the engine’s power in order to improve the fuel consumption. If you want to go faster, the Sport model, which can be engaged using the gear selector, will allow the engine to rev higher and the only manual gear changing can be performed using the two paddle shifters added to the steering wheel. If you happen to be an off-road enthusiast, you then know that selecting the right tires can make a big difference between getting stuck in the mud, like I did, and being able to cross a small river.

Interior Design

It may be basically the same vehicle as the Discovery 3, which has been around since 2004, but the Discovery 4 doesn’t feel outdated, for the moment at least. Our high-end version came with a lot of leather, covering just about any surface, with visible stitching, an ergonomic layout and, best of all, large buttons and knobs which can be operated using gloves. Try to find that on your X5! You also get a nice clock in the middle of the dashboard, along with an infotainment system and a Meridian sound system which sounds just great. There is also a two-zone climate control, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, ambient lighting and a lot of storage spaces, so nothing to complain about here. The seats are very comfortable and they are providing just enough side support, the armrests, wrapped in leather, are soft and doing their job just like they should, the driving position is high and you can also see the bonnet, which is a plus in an SUV, especially from the new generation. There is also enough room for your small children on the third row of seats and when these are not needed, they just store flat into the floor, allowing you to use a gigantic 1,260 liters.
Land Rover Discovery 500033

Land Rover Discovery 500034
Likes / Dislikes

The “Likes” part is quite high and it definitely includes that wonderful suspension system which is making Land Rover known as a gigantic player in the SUV segment. The premium touches in the cabin are also found here, along with the maneuverability, the good brakes, the spacious cabin and the numerous storage spaces inside it. The electrically adjustable with memory function and heated front seats will take care of you during long drives and they won’t let you down either whenever you want to leave the road and take it for what it has been designed initially – off-roading. The “Dislikes” part includes the engine, it feels old and the fuel consumption is not helping it either. The ZF transmission is good but not good enough and that laggy sensation will eventually drive you mad, especially if you are used to something similar which is offered by BMW. Other than that, nothing to complain about the “new” Discovery.


Euro NCAP has tested the Discovery 3 back in 2006 and the vehicle obtained 4 stars in Adult Occupant, 4 stars in Child Occupant and 1 star in Pedestrian safety but keep in mind that the regulations have dramatically changed over the past 9 years.

Tested Vehicle

Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0L V6 HSE Black Edition
Engine: 3.0L diesel, 2,993 cc
Power: 256 HP (188 kW) @ 4,000 rpm
Torque: 600 Nm (443 lb-ft) @2,000 rpm
Transmission: automatic, 8-speed
Dimensions: length 4,838, width 2,220 height 1,887mm
Weight: 2,400 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 82L
Trunk Capacity: 1,260L
0-100km/h: 9.3s
Top Speed: 180 km/h
Tested Car: 58,156 EUR, VAT included
4.0 / 5