Land Rover Discovery
(2009 - 2016)

  • Superb ride quality
  • Supremely capable on almost any terrain
  • Styling is both elegant and tough
  • Hugely practical
  • Scary reputation when it comes to reliability
  • Expensive parts and maintenance costs
  • Can be riddled with issues
  • Tech is feeling old
Overview

Widely regarded as one of the best 4x4s in the world and praised for its ability to tackle the depths of the wilderness as convincingly as emanating a sense of class and sophistication, the Land Rover Discovery 4, when new, was a near perfect vehicle.

However, Land Rover has built quite the negative reputation when it comes to reliability and the cost of ownership and maintenance.

Released in October 2009, the Land Rover Series I was manufactured in Solihull, UK, and was available with 2.7- and 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engines and 5.0-litre V8 petrol engines.

The Series II was released in January 2013 and introduced a lower output 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine and eight-speed automatic transmissions. Fitted to models with turbo-diesel engines, the eight-speed ZF 8HP70 automatic transmissions contributed to improved fuel economy through earlier torque converter lock-up and ‘Transmission Idle Control’ which would engage neutral when the vehicle was stationary.

Released in Australia in early 2014, the Series III introduced a revised range as the 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine was replaced by a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 engine. Visually, the Series III featured a new front grille, front bumper, headlights, daytime LED running lights, ‘Discovery’ badging on the bonnet (previously ‘Land Rover’) and two new alloy wheel designs.

The Discovery 4 may be supremely practical, incredibly comfortable, loaded with equipment and a joy to drive both on-road and off but should you buy one? Read on.

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What goes wrong

It’s important to know that for many years, statistically, Land Rover has been the most unreliable automotive manufacturer.

V8 petrol variants:

  • Timing chains fail
  • Oil pumps fail
  • Various bearings fail if not serviced correctly
  • Fragile cooling systems result in overheating
  • Oil leaks
  • Various electronic issues

 

Diesel variants:

  • Turbo failure resulting in catastrophic engine failure
  • Fuel pump and injector problems
  • EGR problems
  • Timing belt and fuel pump belt issues
  • Belt tensioner and idler bearings can fail before scheduled renewals
  • Multiple electronic gremlins
  • Electronic handbrake problems
  • Dirt in the braking system or badly adjusted brake shoes can disable the electronic parking brake
  • Parking brake actuator can seize
  • Air suspension problems
  • Front lower control arm bushes fail before 100,000kms
  • Roll bars and tie rods have problems
  • Brake pipes can rust
  • The sensors controlling the air con and air suspension can fail
  • Fuel gauge can misread due to dodgy connectors and reprogramming of the software
  • Various electronic issues
Model range, pricing and features

TDV6 (2009 - 2016)

  • Price when new: $68,400 - $129,900
  • Price used: $20,000 - $90,000

The base model Discovery 4 is certainly not lacking in equipment and what extra toys the TDV6 you’re looking at is equipped with will depend on how liberal the original owner was with ticking the huge array of option boxes.

However, avoid the earlier TDV6s with the 2.7-litre 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engine at all costs. These engines are bombs just waiting to go off.

A well cared for, fully serviced, mint condition TDV6 is all the Discovery 4 anyone really needs.

Standard features:

  • 12-volt auxiliary sockets
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • 8-speaker stereo
  • ABS
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Airbags (front/head and side first row)
  • Airbags (front/head second row)
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Painted bumpers – body colour
  • Painted exterior mirrors – body colour
  • Brake assist
  • First, second and third row cupholders
  • Cargo cover
  • CD player
  • Central locking
  • Centre differential
  • Colour display screen
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Hill descent control
  • Park distance control
  • Rollover stability
  • Traction control
  • Trailer sway control
  • Cruise control
  • Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)
  • Engine immobiliser
  • Guard flares
  • Front fog lamps
  • Footwell lamps
  • Headlight washers
  • Electronic level adjustment for headlights
  • Headlights automatic (light sensitive)
  • Independent front and rear suspension
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Multi-function steering wheel
  • Electric parking brake
  • Power door mirrors
  • Power steering
  • Power windows
  • Rain sensor (auto wipers)
  • Split folding second row seats
  • Push button start
  • Air electronic and auto levelling suspension functions
  • Cloth trim (Leather optional)
  • Wade sensing (From 2014)
  • Blind spot monitoring (From 2014)
  • Closing vehicle sensing (From 2014)
  • Reverse traffic detection (From 2014)
  • T-junction cameras (From 2014)

Optional Extras:

  • Technology Pack
  • Vision Assist Pack
  • Cold Climate Pack
  • Mid-grade Hi-ICE Harman Kardon audio
  • Premium Harman Kardon audio
  • Black Design Pack
  • Electric sunroof with glass tilt and slide
  • Rear air conditioning
  • Locking rear diff
  • Digital radio costs
  • Windsor leather interior

TDV6 SE (2009-2010)

  • Price when new: $68,730 - $81,990
  • Price used: $35,000 - $65,000

The SE simply adds more equipment as standard and offered varying engine options dependent on year model.

TDV6 SE adds:

  • 7-Seat capacity
  • 19-inch alloy wheels
  • 9-speaker stereo
  • Second and third row airbags
  • Body coloured grills
  • Body coloured guard flares
  • Bi-Xenon headlights
  • Corner headlights (fixed)
  • Electric anti-glare rear view mirror
  • Subwoofer
  • Coloured tail lights

Optional Extras:

  • Tow package

TDV6 HSE (2009-2010)

  • Price when new: $94,990
  • Price used: $30,000 - $50,000

The top-spec TDV6 HSE is loaded with luxury equipment however we’d recommend looking elsewhere in the Discovery 4 range as the tech in the TDV6 HSE is starting to age and many of the extras became standard fitment in later editions.

TDV6 HSE adds:

  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Front armrests (passenger and driver)
  • Rear vision camera
  • Cargo net
  • Front and rear parking distance controls
  • Electric front seats (driver’s with memory)
  • GPS
  • Inbuilt harddisk drive
  • Leather gear knob
  • Leather seats
  • First, second and third row map/reading lamps
  • Navigation system DVD video/audio
  • Power door mirrors with memory
  • Sun visor with dual illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Voice recognition

SDV6 SE (2009 - 2016) and SCV6 SE (2014 - 2016)

  • Price when new: $81,990 - $94,990
  • Price used: $25,000 - $85,000

Basically a TDV6 SE with more ponies under the bonnet and much of the optional or extra equipment on the TDV6 range fitted as standard.

This comes a very close second to the TDV6 as the Discovery 4 to get.

SDV6 SE and SCV6 SE adds:

  • 11-speaker stereo
  • Digital sound processing
  • Selectable driving modes
  • Electronic differential lock
  • Gear shift paddles
  • Hill holder
  • Multi function control screen
  • Advanced navigation system
  • Fully adjustable first row seats
  • Leather third row seats
  • Tailgate with opening window
  • Four-zone climate control air conditioning

SDV6 HSE (2009 - 2016) and SCV6 HSE (2014 - 2016)

  • Price when new: $95,100 - $96,290
  • Price used: $25,000 - $90,000

The top of the range SDV6 and SCV6. All the bells and whistles and luxury features you could ever wish for.

SDV6 HSE and SCV6 HSE adds:

  • 20-inch Alloy wheels
  • Ambient interior lighting
  • Front armrests (passenger and driver)
  • Rear vision camera
  • Cargo net
  • Front and rear parking distance controls
  • Electric front seats (driver’s with memory)
  • GPS
  • Inbuilt harddisk drive
  • Leather gear knob
  • Leather seats
  • First, second and third row map/reading lamps
  • Navigation system DVD video/audio
  • Power door mirrors with memory
  • Sun visor with dual illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Voice recognition

HSE Luxury (2009 - 2012)

  • Price when new: $109,400
  • Price used: $25,000 - $90,000

The top of the range 6-cylinder Discovery 4 for a period of time was drenched in luxury items and accessories.

HSE Luxury adds:

  • 17-speaker stereo
  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • Power adjustable steering column
  • Individual armrests for first row seats
  • Door handles body colour
  • Chrome side body mouldings
  • Centre console with mini fridge/cool box
  • Chrome grille trim
  • Colour display screens (rear seats)
  • Third row cup holders
  • Second row DVD player
  • Wireless headphones for rear seats
  • Leather armrests
  • Leather interior trim
  • Metallic paint
  • Premium sound system
  • Rear step bumper
  • Remote control multimedia functions
  • Roof rails
  • Smokers kit
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Woodgrain inserts

V8 (2009 - 2014)

  • Price when new: $129,900 - $126,460
  • Price used: $40,000 - $70,000

The most powerful but least fuel efficient Discovery 4.

We are seeing many reports of the V8 beginning to experience many mechanical and electronic gremlins.

As cool as it is, we’d recommend steering clear

V8 adds:

  •  Front, side and rear vision cameras
  • Active rear differential
  • First row electric seats
  • High beam auto dipping
  • Heated front windscreen
  • First and second row heated seats
  • Heated washer jets
  • Electric sunroof
  • TV tuner analog and digital
  • Tyre pressure monitoring

Graphite (2015 - 2016)

  • Price when new: $70,780 - $89,900
  • Price used: $45,000 - $60,000

Available in TDV6 and SDV6 variants, the Graphite edition draws inspiration from the optional Black Pack.

Graphite adds:

  • Grey finish to the grille and fender vents
  • Gloss black and lighter grey frame design
  • 19-inch seven-split-spoke alloy wheels finished in a dark gloss grey

Landmark (2015 - 2016)

  • Price when new: $106,690
  • Price used: $65,000 - $90,000

Based on the SDV6 HSE, the Landmark, like the Graphite, is essentially a styling special edition.

Graphite adds:

  • Full-length roof rails in a bright finish
  • Black fender vents, grille and mirror caps
  • Landmark badging to the side and rear
  • 20-inch five-split-spoke alloy wheels, matched to a choice of five body colours.
  • Windsor leather seats
  • Extended leather pack

XXV (2014)

  • Price when new: $109,430
  • Price used: $55,000 - $80,000

The HSE-based XXV marked the 25th anniversary of the Discovery nameplate and is loaded with exclusive extra equipment

XXV adds:

  • Narvik Black grille surrounds and mirror caps
  • Dark Atlas features on the grille and side vents
  • Silver roof rails
  • Body-coloured door handles
  • Stainless steel rear bumper tread plate
  • 20-inch polished silver forged alloy wheels
  • XXV badges on the front door and tailgate
  • Leather-upholstered dashboard, instrument cluster cover and door sill panels
  • Twist pile carpet mats
  • Leather-wrapped wooden steering wheel
  • XXV embossing throughout
Should you buy it

If you’re financially, emotionally and mentally prepared for the inevitable reliability issues and have another car to drive while the Discovery 4 is away being diagnosed and repaired (which could take weeks), yes should buy one. Very few other cars can do what the Discovery 4 does and it is truly wonderful, when it works.

However, when it works may be occasionally at best and we just cannot justify the cost of ownership or the mental anguish that comes with ownership. Especially if it is to be the only car in your garage and you are not in a financial position to justify the potential depreciation and maintenance expenses.

A 200 Series Toyota LandCruiser, Lexus LX or Nissan Patrol will do everything the Disco 4 can do without the looming reliability concerns and all seem more impervious to depreciation when compared to the Discovery 4.

Warranty & servicing

Warranty:

3 years/100,000kms with 3 years roadside assist

Servicing:

24,000kms or every 12 months (2009 – 2010)
26,000kms or every 12 months (2011 – 2013)

Tech Specs

Body style:

  • 5-door SUV

Engines:

  • 2.7-litre 6-cyl turbo-diesel (TdV6)
  • 3.0-litre 6-cyl twin-turbo diesel (TdV6, TdV6 SE, TdV6 HSE, SDV6 SE, SDV6 HSE, HSE Luxury)
  • 3.0-litre 6-cyl supercharged petrol (replaces 5.0L 8-cyl)
  • 5.0-litre 8-cyl petrol (V8)

Power:

  • 140kW – 2.7-litre 6-cyl turbo-diesel
  • 155kW – 180kW – 3.0-litre 6-cyl twin-turbo diesel
  • 250kW – 3.0-litre 6-cyl supercharged petrol
  • 276kW – 5.0-litre 8-cyl petrol

Torque:

  • 440Nm – 2.7-litre 6-cyl turbo-diesel
  • 510Nm – 5.0-litre 8-cyl petrol
  • 450Nm – 3.0-litre 6-cyl supercharged petrol
  • 520Nm – 600Nm – 3.0-litre 6-cyl twin-turbo diesel

Transmissions:

  • 6-spd sports automatic four-wheel drive
  • 8-spd sports automatic four-wheel drive

Fuel use:

  • 10.2L/100km – 2.7-litre 6-cyl turbo-diesel
  • 8.3 – 8.5L/100km – 3.0-litre 6-cyl twin-turbo diesel
  • 11.5L/100km – 3.0-litre 6-cyl supercharged petrol
  • 13.9L/km – 5.0-litre 8-cyl petrol

Dimension:

  • Height: 1837mm – 1887mm
  • Length: 4829mm – 4838mm
  • Width: 2176mm
  • Kerb weight: 2475kg – 2486kg (Depending on variant)
Disclaimer

Information correct as of June 11, 2021.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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