* Prices may differ from that shown
People buy 4x4 vehicles for a number of reasons. Some people do buy them because of a genuine need for a vehicle which can get them through mud-plugged fields and up or down severe inclines but being realistic this is probably not a high percentage of 4x4 sales. There are probably four market sectors which cover the 4WD market.
Firstly there would be the small 4x4 such as the Freelander, Rav4 or Suzuki products. These are more lifestyle vehicles, once sneeringly dismissed as the hairdressers 4x4 they are quite useful vehicles and apparently well-liked by many owners.
Secondly we have the original 4x4 such as Land Rover's Defender range and some Toyota products. These are 4x4s which the owner will use to carry sheep, dogs, straw and expect to reach areas of land where many other vehicles could not reach Not chosen for aesthetics they employ designs little changed in 40 years and why change them.
Then we have the new 4 wheel drive versions of regular saloons or estates. Audi's long standing Quattro range is now challenged by products from BMW and Volvo
Finally there is the up-market 4x4. A market first defined by the Range Rover and now occupied with luxury products from Toyota, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and new entrants from the USA such as the Jeep Cherokee or the Chevvy Blazer. It is in this market that the Discovery now starting at about £22k sits.
When paying this much for a vehicle you have a product competing with luxury products from Germany and Japan. To pay so much you have to need the 4x4 performance or you may as well stay with an estate from BMW, Volvo or possibly Mercedes.
My Land Rover Discovery was my first dip into the world of Land Rover and was an immense disappointment. Paying £25k for a Tdi S 7-seater stretched the budget but my reason for buying a 4x4 was to tow a larger than average caravan.
For this requirement it was ideal. The weight, power and torque is perfect for towing and with a caravan behind performance is completely unaffected. But the that is part of the problem the engine was so low revving you always felt you were towing something and everything was hard work.
The ride in a straight line was OK but negotiating bends required forward planning. This is a vehicle which has its cornering limits and reaches them very quickly. Brakes (without ABS on my vehicle) did not inspire great confidence either.
A positive point is the driving position which affords a great view particularly across junctions. This allows you to drive more smoothly as you can identify and anticipate problems sooner.
What finally determined whether the Discovery stayed or went was reliability. Mine was as reliable as Nicholas Anelka. Any review of a Discovery you read will certainly mention the gearbox, my review is no exception. It started whining after about 18 month and finally locked itself another 18 months later.
In the meantime Land Rover agents had kindly offered to strip the gearbox and look at the extent of the problem at a cost of £55/hour labour. Having had so many gearbox failures you would have thought firstly they knew what the answer was and secondly Land Rover would have had a contingency to look after the plethora of customer complaints.
Then there was the electrical problems, windscreen wipers that stopped working inexplicably and restarted. Many suggestions were offered by the agents and the explanations just stopped short of hinting the wipers were haunted and needed exorcising. The windows also got stuck half -open or more optimistically half-closed . One rear door wouldn't open from the inside. The alarm was disconnected after the third night of it inexplicably going off. Perhaps it was the wiper ghost. Its piece de resistance was that you could stop, turn the ignition key to off, get out of the car, lock it and walk away and the engine would still be running.
I do not have the car now and do you know - I do not miss it one bit!
The Land Rover Discovery. It's been around for years now, and you can hardly drive down your own street without seeing one. Mind, that's some of the attraction of them - it's not that common to see a G-reg Japanese off-roader still out and about nowadays, but the roads are awash with Discoveries of this age. To me, that says something. While the current Discovery still looks similar to this original late-1980s vehicle that kicked things off, it's a lot different underneath. The last major rework was in 1998, but the new 2003 model (out now) has undergone some 400 tweaks and adjustments. It's this vehicle which really is the focus of this review. The 2003 model builds on the success of the Series II Discovery. It keeps the same ACE active anti-roll bars which have won acclaim from many reviewers because they genuinely do eliminate the roly-poly handling of the previous generation vehicles. Also on the suspension line, the rear SLS air suspension is carried across. However, damper settings all round have been revised to improve handling, and front springs now have a different rate. Body-to-chassis mounting points have been moved to better the N/V/H characteristics of the vehicle. Sound insulation has improved significantly, lowering in-cabin noise levels to that of most saloon cars, even at 70mph. The 2.5-litre Td5 diesel engine remains much the same as the 2002-model engine, in that it's a fairly quiet engine (when warm) which suffers a little from a lack of low-down torque, but which pulls the Disco along quite nicely. It's got pretty punchy acceleration when you let the revs build up too. All this gets even better when you chip it and increase the size of the intercooler. You can quite easily end up with an engine which can out-pull the V8i in a heartbeat, while still keeping its economy (of at least 25mpg, often nearer to 30). The 4.0-litre V8i engine is identical to the 2002MY engine. The pe
rformance isn't much better than the Td5, which is a surprise when you consider the capacity difference, but the economy is dreadful. Around town you'll be lucky to better 9mpg. However, the 4.6-litre unit available in the States is a lot better. The economy isn't much different to the 4.0, but this engine has a LOT more power and torque. It really will out-accelerate most things on the road. Exterior styling hasn't changed drastically over the years. The 2003-model has the same unmistakeable silhouette as all Discoveries since they were launched. However, the look has been brought up to date with the use of twin-pocket quartz halogen Range Rover-style front headlights (IMHO the Discovery varient looks better than the Range Rover ones) and a new bumper assembly incorporating quartz halogen foglights. At the back the lights have been rearranged so that the indicators are in the high-level cluster to improve visibility, and the reversing lights are in the bumper cluster where they should have been in the first place! Inside, the 2003 model has introduced new colours and styles. There's now a Land Rover Black interior theme, allowing you to specify a completely black interior. Black leather, black dash, black door casings... the only thing not black is the head lining. IMHO the black can be a little claustrophobic, which is the reason Land Rover also offer a silver highlight pack to lighten the ambience a little. Also available are Alpaca (beige) and Tundra (greeny-brown). Ours has the Tundra interior, which goes very nicely with the Alveston Red dark micatallic paintwork. The only real complaint about the interior is that the lower-end radio head unit doesn't look expensive enough. It's the same head unit that's used in Freelander and Defender, and to me that's just wrong. Sticking with the interior, the new vehicle keeps the innovative rear seat arrangement whereby all three seats have headrests, but when
you lower the centre armrest, the centre headrest descends into the seat to maximise rearward visibility for the driver. There are also now forward-facing third-row seats, but these are still the realm of children with short legs! It's possible to specify a stereo system which has headphone sockets at the back allowing third-row passengers to listen to a different audio source to the rest of the car - the driver can listen to the radio while the kids listen to a CD for example. In conclusion, the 2003-model Discovery takes all the things that have been good about Discovery all along, and builds on them to offer a package which is suitable for pretty much anyone considering purchasing a 4x4 in this class.
my dads got one of these pises of s**t an its a pile. one time the back door even fell off ... granted some one had just crashed into the back of us, but still come on,they say these things are robust. F**k that dont buy one if your gonna buy a new car dont there all turd. i dont like cars they suck. only last night the oil fiter broke. think were better off with out them. we should go back to usein horses. i meen come on a horse can entertain ya to.
No car is as well equipped as an off-roader to handle the school run. Vehicles built to wade through rivers up to the windscreen in water, like Land Rover’s Discovery and the Vauxhall Monterey, should be able to handle car-sickness or muddy football boots. The Land Rover’s classy image is helped by the thick-rimmed wheel and chunky stalks stolen from the Rover 800. The driving position is good and there’s ample head and legroom in the front and back. There are two inward-facing seats in the boot but they’re for kids only. Where the Discovery wins you over is with the neat touches like map pockets and cup holders. The ES may be pricey but you do get four electric windows, twin sunroofs, central locking, power steering, electric mirrors, alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes and an alarm/immobiliser as standard. There’s also front air conditioning, leather upholstery, a CD changer, seven seats, cruise control, a locking differential and twin airbags. Land Rover was the first manufacturer to fit airbags to a 4x4; a difficult feat as the bag has to inflate under life-threatening situations, but not when taking some serious off-road punishment. Driving the Land Rover V8 is a lazy experience. The Disco prefers to stay in the same cog, utilise a slab of V8 torque the size of Wales, and whoosh off in a relaxing, albeit slowish, manner. The two-litre ES model offers a decent amount of power, but it needs working hard and fuel consumption is little better than the V8. The Discovery’s suspension was designed for the Camel Trophy, not the King’s Road, so the live axles give an extremely harsh ride and lots of body roll.
Buying one of these was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I had wanted one for many years but when I actually got the top of the range model with 2 sun roofs I wished that I had bought the base model without any. Whenever it rained both sunroofs let in water and it spilled out into the interior of the vehicle through the electric lights or any other cut out section of the roof lining. The car drove with a serious wallow, so much so that you felt sea sick when going on lond journeys. If you came to a roundabout you needed to hang onto the steering wheel otherwise you would slide across the front seat and into the passengers lap. The main thing I look for in a acr is reliability. This was nothing like reliable! It would not start in cold weather so I didn't even keep it until we had some snow to play in. It had to go. I bought a BMW and have not looked back.
The New Discovery is a quantum leap over its predecessor. Styling, although similar, creates a sharper overall package. The two main improvements have been in the handling and build-quality departments. Where the old Discovery was wallowy, this one is much firmer and can hold a line without inducing mild sweats; it can still soak up potholes and traverse difficult terrain in comfort. Panel fit is massively improved and this Discovery felt much more solid, even the glovebox shuts happily. The feeling of solidity remains and none of the towing ability is diminished. My Discovery has the TD5 engine, which is a big improvement over the old Tdi one; the engine is noisy and rattles on start-up but dissipates when the car has warmed up. Performance is hardly amazing and the V8 is quicker but it is much more frugal – your bank manager will remain friendly. With the petrol prices in this country at the level they are, I’d choose the TD5 over the V8. Inside the car, comfort levels are high. There’s plenty of space, and long trips can be attempted without trepidation. I use this vehicle to do a lot of towing and can have no complaints over its behaviour; it will pull heavy loads and maintain stability on motorways and in difficult driving conditions. They are expensive new, retailing at over £30,000 for a fully loaded example. If you want to buy new, explore the possibilities of importing directly from the continent, you’ll save thousands. In conclusion, this car ups the game substantially over the first Discovery but then again the market is now crowded: The Japanese have been producing cheaper off-roaders and Mercedes and BMW now have entries (soon to be joined by Lexus and Porsche). I however wouldn’t hesitate in buying another for the foreseeable future; they are highly competent vehicles.
For me, the landover combined bad points from several of it's class-mates. It is not half as classy as the Range-Rover, but has nearly as bad a fuel consumption. The Range rover does 9 miles to the gallon, the LandRover only 15. Both very very poor when you consider that the freelander does 35 miles to the gallon. So, while you have to pay as much for fuel (nearly) as the range rover... The car is as classy as the freelander. The driving position is as high in a land rover as in a freelander, and the luggage capacity in the freelander is actually greater. However, the freelander is shorter and lighter, showing just how badly designed the landrover is. Also, it looks like a cardboard box on wheels! It has no shape, and fro mwhat I have heard, it is not a comfortable drive. Still... it's got those little windows in the top... they're pretty nifty!!!
Discovery, 2.5 turbo diesel, 1998 Vomit. I nearly did. This is the worst test drive I have ever had and as I cut short the experience after just fifteen minutes, the puke was on it's way up. The blancmange chassis was too much to stand unless an iron constitution was in hand. I don't have one of those, so the technicolour chunder paid me a visit. Still don't know what it was, but the driving position, the grate of the dreadful diesel unit and that childrens party chassis were chief villains. I was invited by a mate to have a go as he was on the verge of getting one and wanted a second opinion. he never got one!
When I were just a wee lad, knee high to a grasshopper I had just two goals in life. One was to be an airline pilot and the other was to be a lorry driver. When I got my Discovery it was like realising both dreams at the same time. You sit in just about the best driving position of any car I've driven. You could certainly be excused for thinking that you were at the wheel of a 44 ton juggernaut. Visibility is absolutely fantastic and you can see what's happening ahead of all the vehicles in front of you. The airline pilot bit? Well, there are switches on the ceiling, the doors, in front of you and on the centre console. Let the imagination run wild a little and it could be a 747. Well okay a Cessna then!! Try saying, 'Speedbird 721 cleared to roll, runway 25 left.' just before engaging 1st gear - it helps the illusion... This car offers you everything that you could ask for except acceleration (comparable to a 44 ton juggernaut). Its roomy, light and airy, has almost enough space to pack a horsebox inside it and tow another one behind. In addition there are loads of useful stowage spaces all over the car. I couldn't believe the number of admiring comments that I got when it was new. Anyone would have thought that it was a Ferrari!! It certainly goes a lot of places that a Ferrari won't. One problem to watch out for is the height of the bodywork. Not normally a problem except when you are on your way to some posh do and your wife is wearing a long dress. You'll have to help her up because getting in in such attire is a real problem. Otherwise I can't think of anything else to complain about.