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What's it to be... Discovery or Range Rover?

By Bruce Fraser | Oct 28, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

I WONDER if it's not a coincidence, what with Christmas now a matter of just weeks away, motor manufacturers are releasing their "toys for boys".

I WONDER if it's not a coincidence, what with Christmas now a matter of just weeks away, motor manufacturers are releasing their "toys for boys".

Last week it was Mercedes-Benz and their new generation GL range.

This week it's Land Rover and their new-look Discovery and the "Big Daddy" - the Range Rover Sport Supercharged.

The Christmas stocking under the tree had better be pretty big to house one of these goodies and what better way to reward oneself than with a vehicle that has created a strong following in the black community.

"Around 70percent of sales of the Sport are to black businesspeople," said Land Rover sales and marketing manager Roland Reid.

"These are leaders in industry. People who are quite happy to use it as a weekday commute and then visit family over weekends in places like Thohoyandou."

So what is it that these captains of industry are quite happy to pay up to R961000 to have sitting in their driveway.

Well, the Discovery 4 has a hard act to follow, with its predecessor the Discovery 3 picking up over 100 awards for its on and off-road capabilities.

The interior takes on a new look with full seven-seat capability, 7-inch touch screen technology, more rounded bumpers and new headlights/tail-lights (which include clear lenses).

A new 3.0-litre twin turbo diesel engine replaces the previous 2.7-litre and a 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine is available for those who enjoy that little extra oomph.

Both derivatives of the Discovery feel equally at home on and off-road. A bit of off-roading at Glen Oakes Farm in Western Cape was a good test of the vehicles' capabilities, with standard features such as hill descent control and electronic air suspension coming to the fore. The air suspension means your ride height can be raised up to 125mm to clear tricky obstacles.

In both vehicles the seating is super comfy, especially for the driver and front passenger.

Keyless entry and push button start/stop is standard across the whole range as is a dial on the centre console that enables you to select which driving mode you wish to be in.

The various categories include either sand; grass, gravel or snow; mud and ruts; or rock crawl.

For most of us though, it was the Sport Supercharge we wanted to test.

Equipped with a 5.0-litre engine, this baby rocks. On firm terrain the Sport has the kick of a sports car and the interior is once again of an excellent standard.

Hooked up to a 6-speed automatic transmission makes for a smooth ride, but if you want to bring out the "boy-racer" in you paddle shift is mounted on the steering wheel.

A number of innovations have been introduced on this latest model Sport. A new surround camera system - consisting of five cameras helps for when towing or parking, and automatic high beam assist technology switches your lights to high beam and back, depending on the external light.

A lot is also made of the new fuel efficiency and cutting of carbon dioxide emissions. But what I can say is that the Sport is a thirsty beast and expect nothing less than 15litres per 100km.

So what is it ... the Discovery 4 or the Range Rover? Well I guess a lot depends on your budget. Both are fine vehicles, with the Range Rover the premium vehicle in the Land Rover stable. Either way, they are vehicles that are bound to attract much attention and envy. Just ask some of our politicians!


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