Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 – 2017) Review

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Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 – 2017) At A Glance

4/5

+Imperious on and off-road, hugely practical, more desirable than the current Discovery, refined and high-quality interior.

-High running costs, reliability and quality issues, a little old-fashioned.

Insurance Groups are between 38–40
On average it achieves 87% of the official MPG figure

The Land Rover Discovery 4 is one of the best SUVs in the world. If you demand proper off-road ability to go with your spacious and luxurious family car, the ‘Disco’ is arguably the only choice for the price. It’s a car that bridges the gap between authentic 4x4 workhorses like the Toyota Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi Shogun, and premium road-going SUVs like the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90. It’s not perfect, for reasons which we’ll explain in a moment, but it speaks volumes that the Discovery 4 remains in such high demand.

Looking for a Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 - 2017)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

An evolution rather than a revolution: the Land Rover Discovery 4 was a comprehensive revamp of the Discovery 3, with Land Rover taking the best bits of the earlier model, then making improvements across the board. The result was a Discovery that felt closer to a Range Rover than ever before.

 

Launched in 2009, the Discovery 4 enjoyed a long production run, with loyal owners growing to love its compelling blend of on-road comfort, off-road brilliance and interior space. Thanks to seven seats, the Discovery 4 became a favourite of school-run parents who didn’t fancy owning a humdrum MPV. More than a decade on, the Discovery 4 remains as desirable as ever, maybe more so than the current model.

 

It has everything going for it. The chunky and upmarket styling wouldn’t look out of place in the Land Rover range today – many people prefer it to the softer and controversial look of the current Discovery. Inside, the Discovery 4 also feels noticeably more upmarket than the Discovery 3, even if elements like the infotainment system and trim materials are beginning to show their age.

 

This thing is huge. Even in seven-seat mode, boot space is on a par with a supermini. If the third row of seats isn’t required, luggage capacity rivals a large estate car, while a Discovery 4 in two-seat mode is cavernous enough to shame a large van. Crucially, the rearmost seats are suitable for teenagers. This isn’t always the case in a seven-seat SUV.

 

All versions come with a V6 diesel engine and an automatic transmission. As a basic guide, the later the Discovery 4, the better it will be. The 2.7-litre TDV6 diesel was a hangover from the Discovery 3 and isn’t up to the challenge of powering this goliath of an SUV. The 3.0-litre TDV6 is preferable. Better still, opt for the later 3.0-litre SDV6 diesel, which is both more efficient and more powerful. As for automatic transmissions, the six-speed unit is adequate, but the eight-speed gearbox is more flexible.

 

Buying a Land Rover Discovery 4 makes most sense if you intend to venture off-road. Few cars are as good as tackling the rough stuff as a ‘Disco’, so you’re free to climb every mountain and ford every stream. Thanks to a maximum towing capacity of 3,500kg, it’s also ideal for towing a caravan or large trailer.

 

So what are the drawbacks? Running costs are one. The sheer weight of the Discovery 4 means that its diesel engine has to work incredibly hard, so fuel economy will be poor. Then there’s the cost of parts and maintenance. The complex software and hardware will be expensive to fix when something goes wrong. Note the use of the word ‘when’.

 

Which is why we recommend buying a Discovery 4 via the Land Rover approved used scheme while you still can. You’ll pay more for a later model, but these are the best resolved of the crop, and the warranty should provide some initial reassurance.

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend a used, seven-seater that's ULEZ compliant?
"I have a 2015 Land Rover Discovery 4. I live in London and it does not comply with the ULEZ regulations coming into force in October 2021. I need a second-hand seven-seater that does comply. I like the Disco 4 as it is roomy. Are there other makes that are comparable and ULEZ compliant? My budget is around £32,000? "
Skoda Kodiaq, Volvo XC90 or the Hyundai Santa Fe. All are large, comfortable and available with seven-seats. I would also add the Kia Sorento to the shortlist, it's the only model to come with a seven-year-warranty. A budget of £32,000 would get you a near-new Sorento with the majority of its warranty still left to run: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/cars-for-sale/search/Kia/Sorento/?l=0&p2=35000&s=PriceDesc
Answered by Dan Powell
Should I be put off a model that has very mixed reviews for reliability?
"Looking at your review, I noticed a lot of engine problems listed under "What to watch out for" on the Land Rover Discovery 4. It's putting me off buying one with all the big issues listed. Is that me being dramatic or do all vehicles have similar issues? In other words, after reading what is written, would people still say they are a great vehicle?"
I'm a big fan of the Land Rover Discovery 4. They are great vehicles but there is no hiding from the fact that this model has a mixed reputation for reliability. General maintenance is expensive, too. A cam belt change will easily set you back £500+.
Answered by Dan Powell
Can I combine a dash camera with a reverse parking camera?
"I recently bought a Land Rover Discovery and am very pleased with it. Unlike my previous vehicle, it didn't come with a reversing camera. What is the best retro-fit model and, as I am also interested in a dash cam, is it something I should combine i.e. a forward and rear-facing camera with the rear displayable upfront?"
We haven't tested any aftermarket parking cameras, but the customer ratings on Amazon are always a good guideline as to what's worth spending your money on. AutoVox is a known brand to us as they make dash cams too, so the AutoVox reversing cameras are a good bet - this one also has very positive reviews: https://amzn.to/2GK2yiv Our advice for a front and rear dash cam would be either the Nextbase 422GW with rear cam module or the Z-Edge T4 dual dash cam, both of which we've tested and which we have linked to below. You can find footage in our reviews as well as the cheapest places to buy it currently. In terms of using a rear camera as a reverse camera, that won't work. The rear cam footage is shown in the corner of the dash cam, making it completely unsuitable for use as a parking camera. I'd recommend getting a proper parking camera that can link to the infotainment screen. Nextbase dual dash cam review: https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/reviews/review-nextbase-422gw/ Z-Edge T4 review: https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/reviews/review-z-edge-t4-dual-dash-cam/
Answered by Georgia Petrie
Need a capable 4x4 for light off-roading and towing
"I am looking to buy a vehicle for my 20-minute commute. The car will also need to cope with occasional off-road towing of a 750kg trailer. I cover 15-20,000 miles a year and don't want an automatic. I've been looking at pick-ups edging towards £25k but alarmed by the poor fuel economy. Would a Land Rover Discovery Sport be better? Or perhaps a Freelander 2?"
I'd be hesitant to buy a Discovery Sport or Freelander 2 outside of its warranty period. As you'll have seen in our reviews, we get quite a few reports of issues regarding both these cars, and Land Rover ranked fairly poorly in our recent Satisfaction Index (https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/honest-john-satisfaction-index-2018/honest-john-satisfaction-index-2018-the-results/# Having said that, you won't get much better than a Land Rover for off-road use. A Skoda Kodiaq might be a good option and is our 2018 Car of the Year. Also consider a Hyundai Santa Fe. There's a new model out but your budget will get you a late example of its predecessor.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 – 2017) cost?

Buy new from £48,339 (list price from £53,150)