BUYING GUIDE LAND ROVER SERIES 1
If you’re looking for 4x4 adventure on a budget, the first Disco offers on-road comfort and off-road practicality in one design
If you're looking for off-road practicality on a budget, you've found it.
As Land Rover’s answer to the onslaught of Japanese 4x4s in the 1980s, the Discovery is fast becoming the default choice for budget off-road enthusiasts . Introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1989, the Discovery made use of Range Rover suspension, axles and drivetrain while power choices were between the beloved 3.5-litre Rover V8 or a torquey 200Tdi diesel engine. Initially available only as a three-door model, mainly to avoid conflict with the Range Rover, the Discovery was aimed at a younger, less-conservative driver with Jasper Conran-penned interior trim. A five-door version arrived for 1990.
The design was critically acclaimed and improved Land Rover’s reputation. Sales boomed, with the fivedoor 200Tdi in particular proving popular. With seven seats, the Discovery became a fashion statement for young families and by the time the second-generation model arrived in 1998, the Discovery had established itself as a class-leading SUV with a cult following.
WHY YOU WANT ONE Cheaper than granddaddy Defender yet just as capable in the rough stuff, it’s arguably better looking than the contemporary Range Rover and far more DIY-friendly. There are plenty of specialists, sourcing parts isn’t tricky, and ownership means you can go off road with the scores of Land Rover clubs across the UK. Above all, it’s good fun and if you find one that’s been well looked after, you’ve got a prime investment and a dependable British workhorse.