Custom Land Rover Discovery SDV6 review

Custom Land Rover Discovery review

I think I get Lincoln Trager. After more than twenty years of four-wheel driving, he’s your ‘been there done that’ kind of guy. Now it’s time to kick back and enjoy a four-wheel drive that just works.

This article was originally published in the October 2014 issue of 4x4 Australia.

Finding a vehicle that meets Lincoln’s standards for comfort and drivability was no easy task. His fussy eye for detail – from the showroom floor to out the aftermarket door – doesn’t help. And, that’s where the Land Rover Discovery comes into the picture.

Lincoln was a normal teenager. He grew up four-wheel driving with his mates in the Perth hills and he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He finished his apprenticeship as a cabinet-maker, and that’s when he realised he wanted to tinker with cars, so he switched to auto-trans mechanics. Before long, he headed back to work as a chippie to chase the money that goes with a remote job in Western Australia’s great northern frontier.

Custom Land Rover Discovery rearBased on the Fitzroy River, Lincoln had a ball – pig shooting in the morning and barra fishing in the afternoon (with the odd bit of construction work to keep fuel in the tanks). This provided Lincoln with a hands-on four-wheel drive introduction – driving to do contract work in the western desert near the Canning Stock Route.

Lincoln has plenty of camping memories in the Kimberley, with highlights from Broome to Kununurra, Cambellin, Galeru Gorge, Mercedes Cove on the way to Cape Leveque or Coral Bay (a choice spot, with plenty of tracks to explore).

There’s so much to love about a camping trip and Lincoln believes the best way to holiday is to settle in for a long drive that will get you to a perfect beach destination. So it was a no-brainer that Lincoln’s vehicle of choice had to be a comfortable long distance tourer.

Custom Land Rover Discovery engineHaving driven most models over the years, Lincoln’s previous 4x4 was a 2011 200 Series Toyota Sahara. He was happy enough with it that he was prepared to trade it in for the latest model. But before he did that, he wanted to ‘test the waters’ and see what else was out there.

“I borrowed a new D4 for the night and tested it towing my ’van. I couldn’t believe the difference, I didn’t even know the van was there. The D4 drives better, goes better, uses less fuel and is finished off better, so I didn’t even try anything else,” Lincoln said.

He chose the 2014 Land Rover Discovery SDV6 3.0-litre diesel with the updated 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. “Once you have had an auto on the sand, you wouldn’t ever want anything else ever again. The new 3.0-litre and 8-speed ’box is a great combination,” he said.

Custom Land Rover Discovery sideLincoln’s not the first person to identify the greatest downfall of the standard D4 is the 19-inch rims and rubber. Or more to the point thier lack of durable rubber. Lincoln’s fitted blacked out 18x9in KMC rims wrapped in 285/60/18 Cooper Zeon tyres – a combination that’s given him not only enhanced off road ability but unique styling.

“I get stopped in the street and asked about the wheels, they set my D4 apart from other D4s and keep everything in line with the black theme,” he said. A small amout of metal had to be removed from the front brake calipers to fit the smaller diameter wheels. This is a modifictaion that should only be undertaken by a professional and could have factory warranty implications.

Custom Land Rover Discovery wheelThe rest of the kit on the Disco gives it plenty of street-cred as well. With a supremely capable base vehicle that comfortably towed a caravan, there was no need to spend money on things like suspension or performance mods. This freed up a budget for all those extra bits usually needed for practicality and comfort.

Opposite Lock, Jandakot helped Lincoln source the right accessories and made sure they were fitted to his finicky standards – with the end result a credit to the fitting team. 

After switching to 18-inch rims, Lincoln said the next best addition is the gleaming colour-coded black Opposite Lock Bullbar and Warn XPs 9.5 winch: “Although you hardly use it for yourself, it gives you piece of mind when out on your own.”

Custom Land Rover Discovery 4X4With plenty of remote travel booked in with his family, Lincoln made sure he covered off the essential fuel issue by upping the standard OEM fuel tank to a much more respectable 175-litres, by adding a long range tank. 

With excellent fuel economy, the range is now more in the region of 1400km depending on conditions, load and weight in tow. To avoid getting lost, Lincoln uses the Hema app on an iPad mini for navigation and a Uniden 8080 remote head UHF is mounted for comms with his travelling companions.

Custom Land Rover Discovery bullbarA Front Runner slimline roof rack provides a flat base for up-top transport of swags. It also provides the neatest storage for a stainless-steel camping table, which slides out from between the rack and the roof, over the vehicle tailgate for instant setup. The roof rack also provides the perfect mounting point for a massive 50-inch light bar capable of searing your kangaroo steak to medium rare at 100 paces.

Even though the OEM HID lights provide good base performance and the light bar is incredibly bright, Lincoln firmly believes there is no such thing as too much light. He didn’t want to waste the good mounting points on the bullbar, so he added a couple of Lightforce 50W HID spot beams for extra candle power.

Custom Land Rover Discovery frontHe didn’t neglect lighting in the opposite direction either – making sure the Kaymar twin rear wheel carrier had a camp light to illuminate late arrival campsite setup. It’d be pretty hard to forget that you’d left all those lights on, but there is a neatly installed dual battery squeezed under the bonnet with a Traxide management system. This keeps all the electronics correctly balanced to ensure there’s always sufficient juice in the starting battery at all times.

Storage in the rear is maximised with deep large capacity Front Runner drawers. The essential fridge duties are well covered by an ARB 60-litre fridge mounted on the drawers.

Lincoln likes to get out as often as he can on the weekends – he’ll take any chance to head off to a local beach, camping overnight in the swag and spending the day fishing and exploring. The next big trip will be the Canning Stock Route with his seven-year-old son who keeps asking to go.

Custom Land Rover Discovery rear storageIt will be interesting to see if Lincoln trades in the Discovery for another Landie – right now, he wouldn’t do anything differently. “It’s got it all and… I don’t think they sell any more accessories,” he said.

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