Go­ing off with Disco tech

Land Rover’s Dis­cov­ery is rugged, but can be un­re­li­able, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

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.

Model watch

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

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