Reader help: Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 2.7 or SDV6 3.0?
Which Land Rover Discovery (4) is best?
QUESTION: Now that Discovery 5 * has been released and is alienating further the overlanding crowd, 2nd hand Discovery 4s are in demand. With a budget of $50k, would you recommend a sub 100,000kms 2.7 TDV6 with $8k left for accessories or a ~120,000km 3.0 SDV6 with $2k for accessories. Usage will be a daily driver until the big lap towing 1-tonne.
ANSWER: We asked Andrew Kovach, director at Melbourne’s well-known Land Rover specialist Ritter Land Rover www.ritter.com.au to reply. His workshop sees more offroad-modified Land Rovers than just about any other, so he’s well placed to give an opinion:
“I think it’s way too early to say that the new Discovery 5 is alienating the ‘overlanding crowd’. I haven’t seen any on the road, let alone in the bush. So how do you make such an assumption? Australia does demand exclusive attributes to vehicles that are imported here. Our ADRs and conditions are unique. It would be hard to believe though, that all the accolades that are heaped by journalists from around the world doesn’t translate to a popular vehicle in Australia. I think people get worried that they won’t be able to fit their favourite accessories to the new rounded shape. I’ve learnt though, that the aftermarket accessory companies adapt pretty quickly if there’s a buck to be made. For example, the Ford Everest is a round vehicle and you can buy anything and everything for it.
To clarify the demand for the Discovery 4. It could be that it’s actually a good vehicle and is in demand? Bit like the Land Cruiser? Even if you don’t agree with that, another reason is the stock situation. Land Rover stopped production of the Discovery 4 around September 2016. So dealer stock dwindled to virtually nothing early 2017. So being a popular vehicle demand outgrew supply and prices stayed high.
So what to buy, a 2.7 TDV6 or a 3.0? The 2.7 TDV6 is a superb engine that is strong and will do everything that’s described. One tonne isn’t heavy so towing won’t be a problem. The 3.0 produces 160 more newton metres (440 Nm vs 600 Nm). Quite a bit when you are talking towing and overtaking. The engine is a bit more complex but not really any less reliable than the 2.7. The best part is that it’s as economical as the smaller engine, despite such a huge power increase. I have a 2.7 that’s done nearly 300,000kms. It tows 1.5 tonne 2-3 times a year and it’s great. I’d love a 3.0, but won’t change until I can afford a 3.0 with an 8 speed gearbox, instead of the 6. Then you really feel the difference.
But I’m digressing. If I were to start from scratch and I could afford it, it would be the 3.0. I’d smile every time I put the foot down. I might miss out on a few accessories, but I’m sure after a time I’ll eventually get them.”
And my answer:
I agree with Andrew for the most part. The all-new 2017 Discovery is, Land Rover say, just as capable offroad as the older model if not more so. However, I can also see some potential issues; screw-in recovery points and less space in the back. When the Discovery 3 came out in 2005 the aftermarket didn’t rush to support it with the likes of long-range tanks, bullbars and snorkels, and I can see the same sort of reluctance this time around. As usual, the aftermarket companies will assess demand and that will drive development, or not. If the accessories aren’t there then the appeal of the vehicle as a tourer will be limited regardless of its inherent capability.
I owned a 2.7L D3 for several years and thought the engine was great, felt more powerful than its 140kW would suggest, and easily towed way more than 1 tonne. So I’d go for the 2.7 over the 3.0, and other advantage is that the 2.7 can take 17″ wheels, the 3.0 has to run 18s.
The title image is of a D3 and a 3.0 D4, slightly inaccurate as this post deals with two versions of the Discovery (4) but close enough. And below is what was the world’s finest looking Discovery 3, running 245/70/17 tyres:
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* The “Discovery 5” is not an official name. Explanation here.