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Four-cylinder petrol from the Ingenium family is installed in Land Rover's seven-seat SUV. Is it up to the job?

Our Verdict

Land Rover Discovery review hero front

Is this a triumph of style over substance, or is the fifth-gen Land Rover Discovery the best yet?

Matt Burt
30 March 2018

What is it?

The Land Rover Discovery Si4, a four-cylinder petrol variant of the seven-seat luxury SUV, has been added to the range at a useful time to capitalise on the continuing slump in popularity of diesel engines. 

The question is: can this turbocharged 2.0-litre inline four with 296bhp and 295lb ft really be a match for the kind of oil-burning unit that is traditionally found under the bonnet of practical-but-posh workhorses such as the Solihull-built Discovery?

The engine, part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium ‘AJ200’ family constructed at the engine manufacturing centre in Wolverhampton, has previously been added to the line-ups of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Range Rover Velar and Evoque.

On the Discovery Si4, it is mated to the eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and four-wheel drive system that are ubiquitous across the fifth-generation Discovery’s range, which you can read more about in our full road test here.

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Our test car came in SE trim, one up from the entry-level S specification, but it was still as well appointed as you’d hope a £50,000 SUV might be. Kit highlights include a 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system, air suspension, heated front seats, LED headlights, a 250W, 10-speaker sound system and leather front seats. 

Options on our test car were limited to privacy glass (£400), a rear-view camera (£375) and 360deg parking assist (£280). The latter two proved useful for backing the Discovery into dauntingly tight multi-storey parking bays.

What's it like?

More accomplished than it might appear on paper. The petrol unit does a fairly spirited job of pulling this two-tonne 4x4 on motorways, A-roads, B-roads and around town. At cruising speeds, engine noise is muted and, allied with the general hush present within the  cabin, there’s a veneer of refinement you don’t get from diesel derivatives. In that respect, this new engine complements the 4x4’s laidback vibe rather well. 

Land Rover claims 7.3sec for the 0-60mph sprint and there’s certainly decent enough urge from low in the rev range, although under load the unit seems to work harder to maintain your momentum than a more flexible diesel might. If you call on additional power, the eight-speed automatic transmission is kept quite busy shuffling up and down through its ratios.

Read about the Land Rover Discovery TD6 HSE on our test fleet 

Fuel economy could suffer as a result. Our 179-mile test yielded an indicated average of 27.3mpg against Land Rover’s claim of 29.4mpg, but if you spend a lot of time enthusiastically using a Disco as nature intended – dragging a horse box, brimmed with people, bounding along country lanes – you’ll do well to see that.

Elsewhere, the Discovery’s trademark traits remain. Its four-wheel drive capability and the ability to raise the air suspension to ‘off-road’ mode, which is up to 75mm higher than the standard setting depending on vehicle speed, ensure our test car dealt with the worst that the recent snow blizzards could throw at it with consummate ease.

The Si4 comes in at about 20kg lighter than the SD4, thanks to the lighter engine – a useful saving, if not one that has a tangible impact on the driving experience. This is a tall, heavy, comfort-oriented vehicle, after all, not one that reacts to being hustled with any particularly relish. 

Should I buy one?

Time was that the least powerful petrol variant in a model’s range would often represent the entry point, but that’s not always the case these days. This petrol derivative is £700 more expensive than the 237bhp 2.0-litre SD4, which is the equivalent diesel. The petrol is quicker – not that raw pace is likely to be a primary concern for most Discovery drivers – but delivers inferior fuel economy and emits more CO2 than the SD4. It also spews out less in the way of particulates.

If you’re buying a Discovery for its style, space and useful high-riding driving position but don’t intend to use it to its full capabilities or load it full to the gunwales, this version could suit your priorities.

However, if you’re one of those buyers who intend to work their Discovery hard, tow trailers, occasionally venture off road, regularly achieve high mileages and desire additional frugality, it’s hard to look past the diesel.

Land Rover Discovery Si4 SE

Tested Hampshire, UK; On sale Now; Price £52,995; Engine 4 cyls, 1997cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 296bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1500-4000rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 2162kg; 0-60mph 7.3sec; Top speed 125mph; Economy 29.4mpg; CO2, tax band 222g/km, 37%; Rivals Audi Q7, Volvo XC90 and BMW X5

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Comments
35

30 March 2018

 just covering all the bases maybe.....?

Peter Cavellini.

289

30 March 2018

...what an ugly mut this is, especially from the rear.

There is one in our village in dark blue with 'gangster' black wheels, it looks a joke compared to the series4.

A34

30 March 2018

This is a great whale of a car - congrats to JLR for getting a 2.0 turbo petrol to be even considered as workable! Surely the 3.0 6 cylinder makes more sense.... 

30 March 2018
Just think how good this car could be if it was a little smaller in each dimension and shed a few hundred kilos.

And it's not that multi-storey parking bays are tight, this car is too big, for Europe at least.

30 March 2018
Marc wrote:

Just think how good this car could be if it was a little smaller in each dimension and shed a few hundred kilos.

And it's not that multi-storey parking bays are tight, this car is too big, for Europe at least.

Could you be thinking of a Discovery Sport?

30 March 2018
beechie wrote:
Marc wrote:

Just think how good this car could be if it was a little smaller in each dimension and shed a few hundred kilos.

And it's not that multi-storey parking bays are tight, this car is too big, for Europe at least.

Could you be thinking of a Discovery Sport?

No, if I was I'd have said go and buy one those instead. There is a big difference in the size of the two cars. In JLR speak, the difference is known as 'white space'. I am trying to make a point on how socially irresponsible this vehicle this. The Sport is a more relevant size, but even that is a couple of hundred kgs overweight due being hobbled by ancient underpinnings.

And, there is no way you'd coax this shit box to 60 in 7.3 seconds. My Wife's Velar has the same engine, is probably 300 kgs lighter and is at best an 8 second car. Neither have we seen better than 29 mpg yet either.

31 March 2018
Marc wrote:
beechie wrote:
Marc wrote:

Just think how good this car could be if it was a little smaller in each dimension and shed a few hundred kilos.

And it's not that multi-storey parking bays are tight, this car is too big, for Europe at least.

Could you be thinking of a Discovery Sport?

No, if I was I'd have said go and buy one those instead. There is a big difference in the size of the two cars. In JLR speak, the difference is known as 'white space'. I am trying to make a point on how socially irresponsible this vehicle this. The Sport is a more relevant size, but even that is a couple of hundred kgs overweight due being hobbled by ancient underpinnings.

And, there is no way you'd coax this shit box to 60 in 7.3 seconds. My Wife's Velar has the same engine, is probably 300 kgs lighter and is at best an 8 second car. Neither have we seen better than 29 mpg yet either.

Presumably your wife's velar is also "socially irresponsible" then being a massive 100mm narrower and a whole 160mm shorter than this? Odd

31 March 2018
Paul73 wrote:
Marc wrote:
beechie wrote:
Marc wrote:

Just think how good this car could be if it was a little smaller in each dimension and shed a few hundred kilos.

And it's not that multi-storey parking bays are tight, this car is too big, for Europe at least.

Could you be thinking of a Discovery Sport?

No, if I was I'd have said go and buy one those instead. There is a big difference in the size of the two cars. In JLR speak, the difference is known as 'white space'. I am trying to make a point on how socially irresponsible this vehicle this. The Sport is a more relevant size, but even that is a couple of hundred kgs overweight due being hobbled by ancient underpinnings.

And, there is no way you'd coax this shit box to 60 in 7.3 seconds. My Wife's Velar has the same engine, is probably 300 kgs lighter and is at best an 8 second car. Neither have we seen better than 29 mpg yet either.

Presumably your wife's velar is also "socially irresponsible" then being a massive 100mm narrower and a whole 160mm shorter than this? Odd

Arguably yes, but her choice. The physical reality of the measurements you quote when on the road are huge, neither is the Velar overburden with off road tech that only a tiny % of users need, it also weighs massively less which has a huge effect on dynamics and efficiency.

31 March 2018

I would argue a Velar is more socially irresponsible. At least a Discovery is designed with genuine utility in mind - there is a point to its size and capability.

No one who buys a Velar is going to do much towing or off roading, so it’s all about show.

31 March 2018
scrap wrote:

I would argue a Velar is more socially irresponsible. At least a Discovery is designed with genuine utility in mind - there is a point to its size and capability.

No one who buys a Velar is going to do much towing or off roading, so it’s all about show.

And your arguement would be entirely valid. 

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