Land Rover Discovery 4 Black Limited Edition 2013 Review

Land Rover Discovery 4 Black Limited Edition 2013 Review

land-rover-discovery-4-black-front-quarter

At $130,250 I’m as likely to go roving over the land as I am to wear my favourite business shirt while doing judo. However, with the limited off-roading I dare do in the Discovery 4 Black, which consisted of a verified ‘safe’ bit of beach and some fairly non-challenging rocks, I can confirm that it has abilities that normal cars don’t have on terrain that will throw you around and pin you to the mat.

land-rover-discovery-4-black-front-interiorFive Terrain Response modes help the air suspension adapt to the requirements. Leave it in the standard mode and you’ll get through most obstacles, but there are options for low gear ratios, raising the suspension up to 125mm for a total of 310mm for extreme off-road, and lowering it by 50mm to allow easier entry for passengers. Bashing through the rocks? Put it in the rock crawl mode which gives lighter braking. In ruts and mud? Put it in the mud mode for better ground clearance. On the beach? Put it in sand mode to give better launch control to stop you digging yourself a hole.

Technically the Land Rover comes with all the goods for negotiating areas that are difficult. It’ll wade through water 700mm deep. The approach, break over and departure angles are 36.2, 27.3 and 29.6 degrees respectively. Hill descent control mode helps you descend in a controlled manner down steep slopes without needing to use the brake or accelerator. Gradient release control provides smoother, more gradual acceleration up steep inclines. Traction control diverts the power to whichever wheels still have grip and moderates the throttle.

land-rover-discovery-4-black-rearBut this is a luxury SUV for commuting in comfort and carrying seven people in style. It has a 3-litre V6 twin-turbo diesel engine that produces 183kW and will motivate this imposing beast to get to 100kph in 9.3 seconds, although if you try that often you’re not going to get anywhere near the 8.8l/100km claimed fuel usage. We achieved an average usage in mixed driving of just over 10l/100km. Power is delivered to all four wheels via an 8-speed gearbox which you can leave to make the choices itself, or control via paddles on the steering wheel.

On this limited edition Black you get grille vanes and side fender in Narvik Black, Narvik Black door handles, Narvik Black mirror caps, Satin Black extended roof rails, Land Rover bonnet and tailgate Discovery 4 badges in black, privacy glass and 20-inch five-spoke black alloy wheels. When the Land Rover itself is in black, too, it looks like it’s straight out of the movies.

The tailgate is split folding. In some cases this is extremely useful because you can open the window to through items in. In other cases, despite it being flush to the boot floor, it means short people won’t be able to easily reach items that are up against the backs of the second row of seats.

The third row of seats has adequate space for children who get their own storage cubby hole, cup-holders and air vents. Putting the seats up and down was relatively straightforward. Leave them down and you have a huge cargo space (especially if you fold the middle row down, too. Even with all the seats up you get 280 litres of space, which is significantly more than many small cars. There’s a whopping 2558 litres of space with all seats down.

land-rover-discovery-4-black-lightsThe driving experience is smooth. It does feel like it pitches and dives a bit under braking, but less so around corners. For example, the Waterview onramp in Auckland, which is a long left-hander, is signposted 55kph and the Discovery had no problems taking that at 90kph without feeling like it was going to tip us out the side. 100kph may have been possible, but I was following another car.

There’s plenty to keep you occupied in the cabin such as a heated steering wheel, satellite navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming and even rear heated seats, but notably absent at this price range are things like blind spot warning and radar cruise control. Those are my only gripes.

The Discovery 4 is an extremely versatile beast. It’ll tow 3500kg on a braked trailer – that’s enough for a sizeable horse float or boat. The air suspension is self-levelling, adjusting the height and balance when towing, and it comes with a system for stabilising a trailer, too. It’ll seat seven people in comfort. There’s plenty of power, and then there’s the aura. It’s a car that will grapple with a multitude of situations – maybe this Black Limited Edition should be called a Black Belt.

Price: $130,250

Pros

  • Looks great
  • If you dare take it into the rough stuff, it has all the goods to get you through
  • Lots of creature comforts

Cons

  • But missing some expected features

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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