Going off with Disco tech
Land Rover’s Discovery is rugged, but can be unreliable, writes Graham Smith
THE Land Rover Discovery is respected by four-wheel-drive enthusiasts for its off-road ability, but others deride it for its poor build quality and lack of reliability.
The Discovery was launched overseas in 1989 and arrived here two years later. Since its arrival it has made steady inroads into the market, winning over a loyal band of fans, who have come to regard it as one of the best four-wheel drives around.
OWNERS quickly discovered the downsides of owning a Discovery. Early on their build quality was poor and anyone who had bought a thirsty V8 petrol model found themselves working doubly hard to repay the overdraft they’d taken out to fuel it.
But it has to be said that many of the problems, such as poor build quality, electrical faults and oil leaks, were largely things of the past by the time the Discovery II was replaced by Discovery III in 2005.
When it first landed here Discovery was offered as a base wagon and an ES, both with a choice of petrol V8 or turbo-diesel engines.
In a major overhaul in 2002 the range was revamped and the Discovery became available in four levels — the entry-level Wagon, the S, SE and the range-topper HSE.
Each was available with either a 4.0-litre petrol V8 that delivered 136kW at 4750 revs and 340Nm at 2600 revs, or a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel with 101kW at 4200 revs and 300Nm at 1950 revs, which was the engine most buyers chose.
The base wagon could be had with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed auto, but the other models were only offered with a fourspeed auto, with drive on all models through all four wheels.
The entry-level wagon was a comfortable, well-equipped five-seater with the choice of petrol and diesel engines, and standard cloth trim, air, remote central locking, immobiliser, front fog lamps and a six-speaker sound system with CD player. The S was similarly equipped, but with seating for seven.
In the middle of the range sat the SE, also available with petrol and diesel engines, and in addition to the equipment of the entry-level wagon, it also had leather trim and steering wheel, walnut trim, auto-dimming mirror and 11-speaker premium sound with a CD stacker. Sitting atop the range was the HSE, the model with the lot, which added twin electric sunroofs, parking distance controls and heated fold-back mirrors.
On the lot
DODGE the V8 models — they not only cost a fortune to run, but every- one knows it and value has slumped as a result. Pay $14,000-$22,000 for a 2002-2005 S, $18,000-$28,000 for an SE of similar vintage, and $21,000$32,000 for an HSE.
In the shop
WHEN shopping for a Discovery II, it’s important to have it checked by an