THE new generation of the model has been crowned Best 4x4 at the prestigious What Car? Awards 2010.

Pitted against tough competition including the Mercedes ML, BMW X5 and the Lexus RX450h, the Discovery 4 drove away victorious with the judges citing that the Discovery’s ‘brilliance remains undimmed’.

The diesel version also bumped off the new Toyota Prado to scoop the 4x4 of the Year, as decided by 4x4 Australia — its third major award since its arrival late 2009.

Managing director of Land Rover, Phil Popham, says the new model has more than filled the tracks left by the Discovery 3.

“The outgoing Discovery 3 won well over 100 awards globally, including the coveted What Car? Car of the Year in 2005. We’ve found ways, however, to improve almost every aspect of the Discovery 4, resulting in a new supremely capable and premium vehicle,” he says.

“Land Rover’s position as a global brand has never been stronger. Our products lead many of the segments in which they are represented, and to win so many awards in not just the UK but as far afield as – Australia, South Africa, China, Iceland, Russia and the USA – is testament to the talents of every vehicle in our range.”

Trophies aside, the fourth generation Land Rover has become a hit with the Range Rover cognoscenti looking for more room to accommodate extra family members. In the top of the range model, the kids can watch a TV each as all seven headrests are fitted with screens.

2009 marked the 20th anniversary of the original Discovery. No one would have predicted in 1989, a time when the prime minister of Australia Bob Hawke wept on national TV, that an onboard computer with voice recognition could one day provide you with a list of all the liquor outlets in your vicinity.

Add full leather and new features including surround camera system, gradient release, tow assist, high beam assist and keyless entry/ignition and the brains behind the brawn really starts to shine in this latest offering out of the UK. And shine it does with three body colours added in Nara Bronze (pictured), Ipanema Sand and Bali Blue.

Caravan folk will appreciate the development of tow assist, a next-generation reversing aid that predicts the rearward trajectory of both vehicle and trailer. This helps the driver perform more accurate manoeuvres and is selected from the touch-screen menu.

Wide-view cameras on the vehicle give a clear field of vision and guidelines are superimposed over the resulting image to highlight the reversing path for vehicle and trailer.

Other towing aids are tow hitch assist and trailer stability assist. The latter detects potentially dangerous trailer oscillations by monitoring vehicle behaviour such as a slight swing in response to trailer movements.

It can initiate engine torque reduction and intervenes using the brakes to bring vehicle and trailer back under control. Tow hitch assist helps hitching a trailer to the tow ball.

Two new engines, a 3.0 litre twin turbo diesel and 5.0 litre V8 petrol, both provide greater performance with improved fuel economy and reduced emissions – although the petrol version still likes to drink, particularly when poking around town.

But it’s in wide open spaces and undulating terrain where you start to really experience the versatility of this car. It has plenty of zing too at 276kW and 510Nm of torque.

Bruce Lynton Land Rover sales manager Scott McGrath, has reported strong sales since the vehicle’s release in November with more than 30 sold.

“We would have sold more but there’s a massive stock shortage and we have more than 30 forward orders waiting,” he says.

The Discovery 4 V8 is priced at around $138,000 for the deluxe version with the base model diesel $75,851.

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