Land Rover Discovery 3 G4
was an open opportunity to take part in the first G4 1 day challenge which
I just could not let pass.
LR has made the G4 accessible (via online
applications) to the general public. It is a VERY scaled down version of
the real thing intended to get the general public to feel the spirit of
the G4 without excessive pain and without being a super human.
The challenge takes place in Northern
Gauteng at various locations, using the new
Land Rover Discovery 3.
There where 6 teams of 4 people.
The challenge had a mix of driving tasks
and physical tasks - the physical tasks included your typical survivor
type activities, with added mountain biking with navigation , some running
and navigation, geocaching, kayaking, puzzle building, off-road driving we
also had a cooking competition and micro fine driving: We had to get a
bonnet mounted lance inserted in a hole in a box - with 10mm clearance
around the lance - this was against the clock and there was a matrix of 16
boxes on a rooftop parkade - interesting with 6 vehicles dashing around
using 2 way radio navigation form a team member sky balloon.
Our team (Team Thailand) won this challenge
by maintaining a constant performance throughout. Out score goes on a list
and at the end of the year the top 4 teams compete again.
Vehicle: The closest I have been to a D3
was walking past one. Having the
Landyonline Workshop I get the
opportunity to drive all sorts of vehicles (Usually only the ones out of
warranty) so I have a reasonable idea of the various vehicles available.
The first impression of the D3 is that it
is miles ahead of the D2 in most departments. It is a totally new vehicle
with no carry overs from the previous models.
During a task on the Monte Casino roof top
I drove the top of the range V8 in a quick stop-start scenario requiring
a lot of forwards backwards driving and careful steering.
Everything works well, it takes a moment to take off but just when you are
having fun you got to stop again. It behaves very well for such a huge
vehicle. The total absence of a traditional hand brake is very weird
indeed...you press a button on the dash to apply the hand brake...then
just drive off when you are ready, the handbrake releases itself.
There are a lot of toys to play with
inside, the voice controlled navigation system is stunning (note: voice
controlled as well as voice prompted - just say "go home" and it navigates
The rest of the challenge used TDV6 base
model D3's. The "dial-a-terrain" button is a way to help those with no
off-road knowledge to drive off-road with reasonable safety and success.
Unfortunately (for people like me that like to choose stuff) there is no
manual adjustment option an no manual override of any of the electronic
systems. The market focus is however not at those that are keen off-roaders,
but rather at the "lifestyle" type people.
The challenge was reasonably busy so I did
not get a whole lot of time to study the finer details of the off-road
ability. The independent suspension (A first on full size Land Rovers)
does seem to traverse rough terrain quite easily, but it's axle
articulation did not seem to be excessive, the traction control took care
of airborne wheels and prevented traction loss - there was no noise or
complaining from the vehicle when doing this.
The steptronic type transmission and engine
combination works extremely well together, the engine revs effortlessly.
With the vehicle doing about 80 km/h you can select 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or
6th and work your way down and the vehicle does not jerk or shake, the rev
counter simply moved up or down according to the gear...you hear and feel
nothing...until you accelerate and it all wakes up nicely and works very
well - the change up is exceptionally smooth and unnoticeable with no jerk
forwards or backwards, the kick down is equally smooth and happens when it
should without you hoping it will happen soon.
Behaviour at speed is great. One of our
team members had never driven a big vehicle (like the D3, D2, D1) before
and thought that it had a bit of body roll, on the other hand I thought it
was exceptionally good based on the performance of previous models. The
inside of the D3 is very spacious, significantly more than the D2, that
boxy look from the outside pays off inside.
I never go a look under the bonnet, but if
the Td5 is anything to go buy it would have made no difference as it is
probably also a big plastic cover over everything.
One thing is for sure, the D3 is not a
vehicle you want to own out of warranty - it has a great deal of
electronics onboard, while the engine and gearbox ECU's of previous models
are actually very reliable the additional ECU's used can potentially
bankrupt even the most affluent of owners. Even if all the ECU's work ok,
they are all connected to all sorts of sensors and crappy electronic
devices. I may be speaking out of turn here but LR seems to have a knack
to bungle things up even when good brand names are used. Take the D2 auto
box - it is a ZF box with a ZF gear position sensor - LR managed to mount
the aircon water drain pipe above it so it gets water dripped on it
continuously so it dies. The D2 has a Wabco air suspension system, Wabco
is a very popular industrial brand - but in the D2 it is a hopeless mess
that costs a lot of money to repair.
Let's hope that the D3 has good components
that are well installed and properly engineered - it certainly feels as if
everything is very happy and working nicely together - as a whole, the D3
is far ahead of the D2.
Michael Schwarz of Johannesburg on the new
So I got a demo Disco 3 last weekend. I
Decided to head out to the farm and see what it could do. Firstly, this
thing is huge! There were six of us and everyone kept marveling at the
amount of space. I tried sitting in all 3 rows and was comfortable in any
seat. The biggest surprise was the refinement onroad. That 4.4l V8 is a
peach. The auto box changes gears almost imperceptibly and the air
suspension does an amazing job of suppressing bumps and potholes.
The suspension is height adjustable as can
be seen here:
the way to the farm I set the cruise to 135 and saw consumption of about
13 l/100km on the OBC. Not too shabby. When we reached the farm it had
been raining and we headed off to an area that had recently been ravaged
by a fire to check out the damage. This area also contains a 4x4 only
route. The trail is very rocky with many loose boulders. Time to put the
Disco in rock crawl mode. This was amazing! The suspension rises to
maximum height and the throttle map is changed so that you are able to use
the full travel of the pedal to modulate your speed very accurately while
not going very fast at all. The brakes also intervene at the first sign
that the car is about to "run away" on descents. Just as we
reached the point on the trail where backing out was not an option the
weather changed very suddenly. The photo left was taken at about midday!
Then it started to hail. And I mean hail!
The racket was tremendous.
At this stage the lack of visibility (from
the hail) became a problem. Still the Disco eased forward limited only by
the driver's inability to see and the passengers' reluctance to stand
outside being pelted by hailstones (which were now large enough to cause
damage to the car) and provide guidance.
what seemed like hours the hail eased and we were able to complete the now
very slippery trail without incident. I was impressed. This went way
beyond what I would ever set out to do and the Disco performed
faultlessly. But the real adventure was just about to start. The area we
had been playing in was on an elevated part of the farm. To leave the farm
we had to travel down into a valley and up again to reach the gates. As we
got back to the sand road we needed to travel on the problem became
apparent. Due to the devastation caused by the fire there was nothing to
slow the huge amount of water which had fallen in such a short time. To
make things worse the rain and hail started again even harder than the
first time. We watched streams form all around join to become muddy
rivers. The easiest place for these rivers to form was on the roads. It
was eery feeling 3 tons of offroader shimmy and shake as the soil was
washed out from around the wheels. The hail had also increased in size and
the car was taking a real pounding.
was no cover for miles and the only option was to creep up onto an island
of ground which was out of the water and wait it out. This ground had a
thick covering of hail on it but a twist of the knob to set things for
slippery conditions and the Disco climbed out of the water without a
murmur. We watched this dam go from empty to almost full in less than half
Eventually the water slowed to the point
where we could make our way off the farm on the now badly damaged roads.
When we got back to the road we were only able to travel a short distance
before being forced to turn around as the authorities had closed the road
due to the amount of ice on it. So I got to test the Disco in conditions I
would do my best to avoid if possible. And it came through with flying
colours. I'm convinced!
Michael was convinced and purchased the
Silver V8 HSE..
Photos/Text courtesy Michael Schwarz and
found on www.thelandroverchronicles.com
Peter Stewart, ZA-LRO, New Discovery SII
breath of unadulterated fresh diesel fumed air!
the opportunity on Saturday to drive a new Disco II V8 a bit thru some
interesting obstacles. Here are my 'unadulterated' observations:
motor is ohso smooooottthhh. The new Disco feels very solid and finish
looks quite good. We ploughed thru some nice mud and up and down slippery
slopes and it managed quite nicely. the tail end did not seem overly prone
to scraping - the tow bar thingamajig catches first so damage to bodywork
is minimized. The traction control is quite amazing if you are used to
driving a Landy without an axle difflock (if you can stomach the
are some good axle twisters and both myself, a TDi 90 and a Suzuki got
ourselves hung up with two wheels in the air. I idled thru with the Disco
II with my clutch foot flat on the floor and as little gas as possible and
the wheels lift, they spin in the air a little, stop and pass traction to
the wheels on the ground - interesting to watch. So much for Andrew Saint
whatever Prego's review - alltho he did admit the thing was faulty. We
went thru some good dongas with some sandy twisters climbing out and there
also it managed ok. About the diesel versus petrol thing the I did get the
impression that the diesel could crawl quite a bit slower over obstacles -
seems to be the better off for torque there. I thing the gearing in first low range
is different between the two. The Disco II and Craig's 90 TDi
both climbed quite a steep rocky wall. The Disco made it up with quite a
bit of gunning and spinning although to be fair it is blessed with the
stock Mitche@#$%^& tyres whereas the 90 has Contis - the 90 just about
idled up. We tried the hill descent goodie down a steep slope and it seems
to work ok if you like driving automatics.
summary if you have the money and have been thinking about buying a new
J**p Grand Red Indian for the sake of its version of traction control and fanciness
but haven't cos you like Landys then buy the Disco II - it
should not disappoint. For me I was impressed, I don't have the bucks and
I prefer manual control over what's locked and what's not but there is a
generation of guys who have secretaries who answer the phone, tea girls
who make the tea, garden boys who mow the lawn and in the same vein just
wants to put foot to get through the mud without bothering too much about
the mechanics and will call in a chopper to airlift it out if it dies -
then enjoy it. You will score what I feel to be the more superior
suspension - nothing independent.
Land Rover Discovery 3
Why I bought a Land Rover Discovery
- EA Bradley
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