Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Sammy Chan
Published: December 12, 2017
We went for a quick spin in the diesel-equipped Land Rover Discovery to answer a question that a lot of our readers had: do I get the gasoline or diesel engine? It is a good question. With that gray fog hovering over the Volkswagen emissions scandal, these pollutant diesel engines have received quite the bad rep. Smelly, dirty, and unrefined, are attributes that many customers seem to associate with diesels now rather than the fuel-efficient benefits that they offer.
Luckily, Land Rover offers the best of both worlds and aims to remedy the negative public opinion. The three-row seven-seater Discovery is available with two powertrains: a 3.0-litre supercharged gasoline V6 (Si6) delivering 340 hp and 332 lb-ft, and a 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel V6 (Td6) producing 254 hp and 443 lb-ft.
You can read more in-depth about our time with the gasoline Discovery here, and while it was an excellent daily companion, the 340 hp output only just kept it from feeling sluggish off the line. Highway passes still needed the pedal to the metal, and it was hardly lithe or athletic down the straights. It’s unwieldy if you swing it too fast around corners too, though the air suspension does a fantastic job keeping the body as level as possible.
So the real question is if the diesel is a superior choice and if it offers enough benefits to warrant signing on the dotted line. We’ve seen this Td6 engine before in the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, and it impressed us very much with its brisk low-end acceleration and frugality on fuel. This Td6 has 86 less horsepower than the Si6, but it overachieves and delivers 111 lb-ft more torque. This allows the Discovery to launch from 0-100 km/h in 8.1 seconds, disappointingly a full second slower than the gasoline variant. It will also set you back a cool $2,000 for the premium, but offers better fuel consumption as compensation. The turbodiesel also uses a urea-injection aftertreatment system to clean up the byproducts and pollutants it emits, so you will have to add some diesel exhaust fluid (a mixture of urea and deionized water) every 15,000 kms or so - hardly a hassle.
While I am usually swooning over diesels, this one did not have me head over heels. While low-end power is great, there is a tiny bit of hesitation off the line as the turbo spools. The V6 provides great passing power but it runs out of breath quickly, so you have to plan ahead and get out of the way before a lung punctures. The powerband is incredibly narrow and limited, and the true playground is only under 3,000 rpm - max torque tapers off quickly after 2,250 rpm. Think of a 100-meter sprinter who has trained all their life for that one race, but suddenly ask them to do a 400-meter race, and you get what I mean. When it comes to city driving that mainly relies on those short bursts of strength however, the Discovery diesel offers quite a pleasing and potent ride through town. Pairing it with that sweet shifting 8-speed transmission only adds to the positive experience.
Moreso, the Discovery Td6 sips fuel like a nun sips alcohol, and we net an impressive average of 9.9 L/100km - you have to remember that this Discovery isn’t a lightweight either and it’s boxy shape is not exactly what we would call aerodynamic. For comparison our Discovery Si6, which also required premium 91-octane, averaged 12.7 L/100km on similar roads with a mix of city and highway driving. That’s not bad for just $2,000.
But what really got to me was the lack of refinement with the diesel. It’s odd because when I tested the Range Rover Td6, it wasn’t this coarse or nearly as rough. That powertrain felt smooth, hearty, and bellowed with hints of a strong displacement V8. Perhaps it was the superior insulation of the Range Rover, but with the Discovery I hear more of that typical diesel clatter running rampant in small intervals. Be that as it may, this turbodiesel-six is much more refined than any of the four-cylinder diesels I’ve driven in the Jaguar XE and XF (20d), but it’s just not what I was expecting. Luckily the diesel clatter and chassis shakes are incredibly minor issues that don’t come at the expense of the Discovery’s supreme ride quality and off-road credentials, and it’s one of the very few remaining SUVs to even offer a diesel option - Audi and Mercedes-Benz are all out of the game in Canada.
The Discovery is an excellent and versatile seven-seater SUV. In my last review, I called it “a Range Rover in everything but the name,” and it still holds true with a diesel under the hood. Though it may not have the refinement I’m looking for, the modest $2,000 upcharge will still be worth it for many consumers looking to save at the pump. And with gas prices holding steady at high rates, the cheaper diesel prices here in Canada may persuade customers to flock over to the Td6. They won’t be disappointed by its abundant torque and fuel-efficient character, but personally I’d sacrifice the marginal difference in money and opt for the more characterful and refined drive offered by the Si6.
On a side note, with plug-in hybrids making their way up to the Range Rovers, I’m fairly certain that the technology will inevitably trickle down to the Discovery. Keep an eye out - they just might be a winner in electric disguise.
型号 Model: 2017 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury Td6
顏色 Paint Type: Farallon Black
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $79,100
引擎 Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder diesel
最大馬力 Horsepower: 254 hp @ 3,750 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 443 lb-ft @ 1,750 - 2,250 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 9.9