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History of the Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover unveiled their new addition to the brand at the Frankfurt Motor Show of 1989. For the first time they branched away from their traditional pure off-roaders. The Discovery remained rugged and capable but offered increased space and comfort for passengers. The company made a bold move into the family and passenger transport markets;especially since the 4x4 family vehicle market was still in infancy. Yet their timing couldn’t have been better. It was well received, rewarding them a firm foothold in the market. Since then the model has gone from strength to strength with each new Discovery generation.

The Discovery I (1989-1999)

Land Rover had broken the mould. The original Discovery proved highly competitive against other family cars. It provided comfortable transport, utility and a practical interior design. They also lead the pack with performance, offering a tremendous 3.5 V8 and economic 200TDi diesel.

True to their roots, the Discovery was incredibly capable on tough terrain. Land Rover outfitted their model with a number of off-road essentials. The Discovery came with locking differentials, coil spring suspension system and a huge wheelbase of 100”.

Initially anxious to change, the Discovery was only available as a 3-door. This was largely due to fears of sacrificing chassis rigidity whilst off-road. Yet before long they developed a 5-door, pleasing families nationwide.

Series II Discovery (1998-2004)

With the wild success of their original model, Land Rover began developing the next incarnation “Project Tempest” in the late 1990s. It was officially born the Series II and released to the market in 1999. They implemented subtle upgrades whilst ensuring the original spirit of the Discovery. The model was named the Series II to pay homage to Land Rover’s pedigree.

The Discovery received a minor facelift but remained familiar to the original.  Land Rover claims 720 tweaks were made to this generation. Electronic engine management provided smoother power delivery with increased torque and numerous advanced driver aids were added. Active Cornering Enhancement and hydraulic anti- roll systems improved on road ability. Traction control and Hill Descent Control increased off-roading capabilities.

The Discovery 3 (2004-2009)

The Discovery 3 displayed notable refinements both inside and out. The Discovery’s signature shape was recognisable but a new construction method was used. Using an Integrated Body Frame they added little weight but massively increased the chassis stiffness and strength.

Engines were gratuitously received from Jaguar, Land Rover’s sister company. The most popular option in Europe was the 2.7 TDV6, boasting 195 BHP and a whopping 440 NM of torque. The Discovery 3 also received brand new 6 speed gearboxes and computer assisted locking differentials.

Air adjustable ride height allowed vehicle lowering for stability at high speeds and raising for off-road capability. Driving on tough terrain was now greatly simplified using the Terrain Response System. Selecting from present terrains allowed the vehicle computer calculate and implement optimum settings. The Discovery 3 was widely recognised and praised for its 4x4 abilities.

Discovery 4 (2009-)

The Discover 4 brings us to the cutting edge of 4x4 transportation. The newest Discovery is reloaded and modernised throughout. The body has been smoothed out with redesigned bumpers, front grill and light clusters. Mechanically updates have been extensive with many reliability issues addressed.

The TDV6 engine has increased to 3.0L and equipped with twin turbochargers. Fuel economy has increased whilst producing more power. The transmission makes efficient use of the additional power with an optional 8-speed box. Braking system and suspension have been overhauled specifically to improve the vehicle’s on-road ability.

Passenger comfort and luxury has reached an all-time high. The interior is subtly populated with modern tech and touch screen interfacing. Driver aids have been revamped with Automated Traction Control and additional features for Terrain Response.


Motoring News  02/10/2015 11:42:20

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