When most people think of 4x4s their mind instantly drifts to Land Rover.

It is not difficult to understand why: they have consistently dominated this sector with impeccably built, reliable and technically advanced vehicles.

Alongside imperious off-road ability, Land Rover’s vehicles have recently been joined by extreme luxury – and a price to match.

The Discovery 4 is the latest in Land Rover’s revamped range, and it is something of a struggle to understand why anyone would buy a Range Rover over one of these.

For significantly less money you are getting an updated chassis, new V6 diesel engine and drastically improved looks and interior.

It is easily one of the best 4x4s around.

Shooting Gazette likes

FLEXIBILITY: With seven seats as standar, which are all useable and comfortable, you will never be short of carrying capacity. The rearmost seats fold away very simply, and the resulting boot is huge.

COMFORT: Thanks to a luxurious leather interior, the Discovery 4 is extremely comfortable. The seats are very supportive and great on long journeys. The ride is superb thanks to the brilliant suspension, which eases away the worst of any bumps.

QUALITY: The attention to detail on display in the fit and finish of the car is astounding, standing up well even when compared to a Range Rover.

THE ENGINE: The new turbo-charged V6 diesel engine is exceptional, allowing for easy cruising but providing power when needed. It is even reasonably economical, returning 30.4mpg – not bad for a car weighing over two-and-a-half tonnes.

The Land Rover Discovery 4 interior
The Land Rover Discover 4 is a very comfortable place to be, whether driver or passenger.

Shooting Gazette dislikes

EXTRAS: There is a vast array of superb equipment available on the Discovery 4, however most of it will cost you extra. Having to pay for an active rear locking differential (essential for serious off-roading) is a disappointment, and iPod connectivity really should come as standard.

BUSY DASHBOARD: Accessing all the Discovery 4’s brilliant technology can be fiddly, as the central instrument panel is far too congested.

GREEN GUILT: This is a big, heavy car with a 3 litre V6 engine in the front. Though Land Rover offset the first 45,000 miles of carbon emissions, you will be hammered by the tax man in the showroom (£750) and on your tax disc (£425).

BLING: Like the rest of the Land Rover Range (save the Defender), the Discovery 4 appears to have become rather too concerned about its looks. Chrome and LED running lights seem rather out of place on a practical, dependable working vehicle.

Specifications: TDV6 XS

Price: £42,445
Top speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 9 seconds
Urban: 25.2mpg
Extra-urban: 34.0mpg
Combined: 30.4mpg
CO2: 244g/km

For the full review, including our recommendations for other cars in this price bracket, pick up the December 2010 issue of Shooting Gazette, on sale Thursday, November 25.

Watch Autocar magazine’s brilliant test of the Discovery 4 vs. the Toyota Land Cruiser here.