Review: Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 – 2017)

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Now has the 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine it really needed. Still unstoppable off-road. Classy image. Refined and high-quality interior. More power and lower emissions from 2012.

Prices creeping up to Mercedes GL levels. Other 4x4s this size are better on road. Ominous number of total engine failures and a new engine is £15,000 + VAT.

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

The Land Rover Discovery 4 is arguably the most complete family car you can buy, with a cavernous interior, fold-flat flexible seating for seven, go-anywhere four-wheel drive and a range of options to keep both the driver and passengers entertained.

The Land Rover Discovery 4 is essentially a facelifted and vastly improved Discovery 3. The biggest change is the arrival of a powerful and refined 3.0-litre diesel. This 245bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre TDV6 eventually replaced the entry-level 2.7-litre diesel, which was available in the previous Discovery and, despite being larger, offers better fuel consumption and lower emissions. There is no petrol option offered in the UK.

Other changes that mark the Discovery 4 apart from its predecessor are a ring of LEDs around the headlamps at the front, an upgraded interior with a smarter look and better materials plus slightly smoother, less brutal styling.

The Discovery 4 isn't cheap, but it does compare well with other large off-roaders and is very generously equipped with a top sound system, intuitive satellite navigation and even the option of a 360 degree camera system, which gives the driver a complete view round the car. It's particularly useful for reversing, looking for oncoming traffic at tight T-Junctions and checking for rocks and other obstructions when off-roading.

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.

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

List Price from £48,340
Buy new from £44,079
Contract hire from £500.92 per month

Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4829–4838 mm
Width 2022–2200 mm
Height 1887–1891 mm
Wheelbase 2885 mm

Full specifications

The driving position is commanding, which encourages a feeling of being in complete control. Most controls are at the driver's fingertips, including stereo and mobile phone controls on the steering wheel. The high seating position gives a clear view of the road ahead and side visibility is good too. Because of its size, it's often difficult to see out of the back - especially when there are five passengers in the back. However, a reversing camera and large wing mirrors do help to some extent. The leather seats are heated and electrically adjust in a number of ways for drivers of all sizes to get comfortable.

Those in the back aren't forgotten, either. Rear space is good - especially for those in the second row of seats - and six passengers can be driven in comfort on even longer journeys, with good head and legroom. there's the option of a Harmon Kardon Logic 7 stereo system that allows passengers to listen to different audio at the same time. On the road, there's minimal wind, road or engine noise and the Discovery 4 is serene under most conditions.

Fold down the five rear seats and there's a colossal 2,500 litres of luggage space on offer, which is large enough for most families' needs. Owners who infrequently use the two rearmost seats will appreciate that they fold into the floor and don't need to be removed. It robs a little in the way of boot space, but it saves the hassle of taking out bulky seats and storing them.

For 2012, inside it’s as posh as you want it to be according to the trim level you order. The old command shift gearlever is replaced by a Jaguar like rotary knob. And the rotary ‘Terrain response’ selector is supplanted by a small control panel for selecting ride height, low range and centre diff lock.

Child seats that fit a Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 – 2017)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 – 2017) like to drive?

The star of the engine line-up is the 3.0-litre TDV6, which is the diesel engine that the Discovery has needed for years. This twin-turbo engine pumps out 245bhp and offers a great blend of performance and refinement. With 442 lb ft of torque on offer, there's plenty of pulling power on offer for seamless overtaking, while on the motorway it's a pain-free cruiser. This model features a faster throttle response to the Discovery 3 and has less of the dreaded diesel clatter at speed - in fact, you'll struggle to notice it.

And for a car weighing more than two and half tonnes, it shifts too. 0-62mph takes just 9.6 seconds and it'll do a top speed of 112mph. Improvements to fuel consumption and economy are particularly impressive. Despite being larger than the 2.7-litre diesel, it's cleaner and returns greater mpg. CO2 emissions are down by 10 per cent to 244g/km and the official fuel economy figure is 30mpg.

This all makes the 189bhp 2.7 TDV6 look pretty feeble in comparison. It shouldn't, it's not a bad engine, it's just that it's overshadowed by this larger, newer unit. Anyone looking for a used Discovery will find plenty of these on the market under the bonnet of a Discovery 3. It's a cheaper option and one that should appeal to buyers who don't need the towing grunt of the 3.0-litre TDV6.

Speaking of which, one of the Discovery 4's best features is available when you opt for the tow bar. It connects to the rear view camera, and displays a line to guide your tow bar to the tow hitch of the trailer when you reverse. Check out the image gallery for a picture of it working. Towing weight is 3500kg.

There's no getting away from the fact that the Discovery 4 is a large car and no where is this more felt than around town, where it can be a struggle to negotiate narrow roads and get into tight parking spaces. That said, it's surprisingly agile out on the open road with confidence inspiring cornering, reasonable steering feedback and handling that you'd expect of a much smaller vehicle. The ride is good too.

As you'd rightly expect, it's off-road where the Discovery 4 really excels. The 'Terrain Response' off-road system is controlled by a dial on the centre console and sets the car up for driving in nine different conditions through five settings including grass, gravel, sand and snow - the driver doesn't even need to think. The heavy duty setting optimises the car for for mud and ruts by raising the car's ride height. For the even more adventurous, the wading depth is 700mm.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.7 TDV6 28–31 mpg 11.7–12.7 s 244–270 g/km
3.0 SDV6 30–37 mpg 8.8–9.6 s 203–244 g/km
3.0 TDV6 30 mpg 9.6 s 244 g/km

Real MPG average for a Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 – 2017)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

21–36 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Land Rover Discovery 4 (2009 – 2017)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

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
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What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 33%
  • 4 star 17%
  • 3 star 17%
  • 2 star 17%
  • 1 star 17%

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