Land Rover

Disappointing fuel economy, for obvious reasons, but well suited to hard family use

  • Well suited to hard family use, massive cabin, dealer service, great storage, refinement, cruising ability, tyre wear<br/>
  • Disappointing economy due to weight and aerodynamics, hard driver's door armrest, some niggling faults<br/>

Forget summer... give me winter any day! Shortly before the long-term Discovery left our fleet, I grabbed the keys and took the TDV6 to the French Alps for one final punishing test of its abilities. Knowing from previous experience that the combination of winter sports and two children means that no matter how big the car, it's never large enough, first we invested in a £259 Sports roofbox. This meant having to visit dealer Stratstone Woburn Green in High Wycombe, Bucks, to get it fitted. As ever, we received exemplary service, and the car was valeted for free. Perhaps the helpfulness of the staff was a good thing, considering we weren't only there to collect the storage box. The Disco has never let us down, but there have been one or two teething problems that have dented our confidence. The windscreen washer fuse had blown - a technical bulletin now tells dealers to upgrade the fuse from 10amp to 20amp - and the parcel shelf handle had broken off. A technician told me he'd seen three or four others that had suffered the same problem. On top of these niggles, we never got to the bottom of why the Terrain Response system occasionally dropped into limp home mode. Thankfully, that fault didn't recur on our French family foray, which passed off entirely without incident. The Disco was in its element, coping with everything from child seats to wet skis and boots with effortless ease. However, it's not perfect. The driver's door armrest could do with some extra padding, the cruise control always takes a few seconds to engage, the parking sensors are hyper-sensitive to their surroundings and the MP3 plug-in port is hard to reach on the rear of the console. Also worth bearing in mind if you drive in colder climates is that the wipers can't be raised, so the rubber can sometimes freeze to the windscreen. Speaking of rubber, we've been very impressed with how the tyres have withstood 23,000 miles of motoring in the 2.7-tonne off-roader - but we're far less happy with the fuel consumption. The weight, combined with a poor 0.41Cd drag factor and a roofbox, meant that even while cruising on French autoroutes, BK05 LLM only returned 23mpg. But despite its huge thirst for diesel, the lasting impression we'll take from 12 months of Discovery driving is just how astonishingly adaptable and capable the big Brit really is. Oliver MarriageSecond opinion As a counter-point to the economy Oliver got in France, I decided to treat the Disco gently over the course of two tankfuls. I drove as lightly as possible, and the improvements were significant. I managed to top 26mpg - a 12 per cent increase. However, that still leaves the Disco trailing behind more efficient rivals, such as the Volvo XC90 D5 and BMW X5 3.0d. Chris Thorp, dep. motoring editor

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