Land Rover's all-new largely-aluminium monocoque Discovery arrived here in 2017 with three engine options, two four-cylinder diesels (Td4 and Sd4) and one V6 diesel (Td6). Of those three engines, only the Sd4 remains, but it’s now joined by a more powerful, but still 3.0-litre, V6 diesel called the Sd6.
Claiming 225kW and 700Nm the Sd6 is a fair jump up from the 190kW/600Nm Td6 it replaces and provides a more enticing jump in power from the Sd4’s 177kW, which pedal-to-the-metal gave little away to the 190kW V6.
Where the Td6 was a single-turbo design, the Sd6 uses Land Rover’s unique sequential-parallel bi-turbo arrangement that makes for a more muscular engine, everywhere. Using a variable geometry turbo to do most of the work most of the time by itself, at higher revs and under higher loads a secondary fixed-geometry turbo comes in sequentially (via pre-spooling) but operates in parallel once there to add pumping volume to the main turbo.
Up top there’s the extra 35kW but, more importantly, all 700Nm is available at a lower engine speed (1500rpm versus 1750rpm) than the 600Nm of the outgoing Td6.
The Sd6 is quick for a big 4x4 wagon, reaching 100km/h in just 7.5 seconds. But in a way it doesn’t feel quick as there’s no top-end rush in the power delivery, just an even and linear thrust right from the get-go. This latest generation Discovery is relatively light, too, something in the order of 400kg lighter than the Discovery 4, which is also a key factor in its lively acceleration.
4x4 shed: Discovery SD4 long-term conclusion
More useful is the Sd6’s abundant torque available right from idle, and the effortless performance it produces under all driving conditions. It has a slick eight-speed automatic, too.
The ‘light for its size’ aspect of the Discovery also translates to entertainingly sharp on-road dynamics, all helped by the fully independent suspension. The ride is compliant, too, even on the test vehicle’s 21-inch rims, thanks largely to the generous suspension travel.
That same generous suspension travel, and the fact the suspension can be jacked up 75mm via its air springs to give 283mm of ground clearance, and more if needs be if the chassis still grounds out, is the secret behind the Discovery’s considerable off-road prowess. Being a much lighter vehicle overall also helps the Discovery in soft sand, where it’s much improved upon its predecessor.
Despite all this you still need to tick the option box for the automatic rear locker to get the most out of the Discovery off-road; although, unfortunately the $85K base spec Sd6 ‘S’ can’t be optioned as such, which means moving up to the $100K SE.
Tyres are the other big issue with the Discovery; as ever, the standard high-speed road tyres are damage-prone off-road, but fortunately this generation Discovery is specified with a one-size-bigger tyre for any given wheel size than the Discovery 4. This opens up the options in terms of off-road replacement rubber, especially for 20s but less so for the 19s.
Putting 4x4 claims to the test on 4x4 reviews
2019 LAND ROVER DISCOVERY SD6 HSE
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
Max Power/Torque: 225kW/700Nm
Gearbox: 8-speed auto
4x4 System: Dual-range full-time
Crawl Ratio: 44.3:1
Kerb Weight: 2223kg
Towing Capacity: 3500kg
Fuel tank capacity: 85L
ADR fuel consumption: 7.7L/100km
On-test fuel consumption: 10.2L/100km
Price: $111,078 ($133,378 as tested)