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Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Discovery Published: 11th Jan 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Discovery
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This cross between a Defender and original Range Rover offers the best of both worlds and values are quickly rising as a result

Thirty years young this year, the Land Rover Discovery was designed to take the place of the original Range Rover and be the next rung up from the Defender. However, of late the Disco has carved a niche of its own, liked for its Defenderstyle practicality and Range Rover refinement.

Like all classics from the famous Solihull company prices are heading north and with newer Discovery generations suffering from expensive reliability issues, some owners are now harking back to the days of this old, simpler off-roader and buying good examples back, often on the advice of specialists who say that a good Discovery is probably better suited to the majority of enthusiasts’ needs than the legendary Defender.

Dates to remember


Introduced as three door only, with either 113bhp 3.5-litre petrol V8 or 111bhp 2495cc 200 TDi turbodiesel engines. Air-con is optional (but not on the diesel until late 1990) while all buyers can pay extra for a third row of seats.


For 1991 model year, the V8 gains fuel injection to give 164bhp, although this drops to 153bhp if the optional catalytic converter is specified.


From October a catalytic converter becomes standard on the V8 and an automatic gearbox joins the options list for this model.


Changes start with a rare and generally unloved 234bhp twin-cam 2-litre ‘four’ petrol version, the V8 petrol engine is increased in capacity to 3947cc, boosting power to 182bhp; four-speed automatic available for the Tdi


A facelift brings a new grille, and larger headlamps. A redesigned dashboard with twin airbags, height-adjustable steering wheel and side impact bars feature. Diesels are now Land Rover’s beefier 300 TDi unit.


The V8 remains but the unpopular 2.0-litre petrol alternative is dropped. 1998 Discovery 2 introduced, a facelifted Discovery 1 that comes in five-door form only. The diesel is now Land Rover’s BMW-designed 2495cc five-cylinder TD5 unit in place of the previous TDi. There has also been an array of special editions including the Argyll and,Aviemore (1997), Safari (June 1998), MM (January 2000), Adventurer and Metropolis (2002) and the G4 Challenge (2003).

Buying advice

Rust and a hard off-road life are the chief worries and you need to crawl underneath to check. Rear inner wings can also go (even if the inner wings are in generally good order), the rear floors and footwells could well be full of holes. The V8 is very robust if it’s been serviced right (although the 3.9 block can be suspect) but the diesels want watching – the TD5 is better but common issues include weak fuel pumps, fuel pressure regulators, fuel injector O-rings and seals along with loom problems. It’s not uncommon to find Disco 2s have ditched rear air suspension for conventional springing. Transmissions can suffer from leaks, wear and noise while it’s rare to find a Discovery with all the electrics all working well and good. Sunroofs are also big leakers.

What makes this classic so special to drive and own in 2019

A good Discovery makes for a fine daily driver that’s far more civilised and easier to drive than any Defender but is still as masterful off-road and more refined than the original Range Rover, with a far airier interior. That stalwart V8 suits this 4x4 so well but is naturally juicy; if you want a diesel then the TD5 is by far the nicest being pleasingly punchy. Handling is entirely tidy as standard but best of all can be greatly improved (either on or off-road) via a wealth of mods available. Apart from daily driving, they make great recreational classics via owner’s clubs.

Best buys & prices

Originals are more likely to be modified; second gen best for everyday use. Prices start at around £1000 and go right up to as much as £10,000 for a minter, with the right spec (leather, seven seats, electric adjustment for the front and a service history). Budget around £5000 for something nice.

G-WACs (all were registered G xxx WAC) ex-press cars and some special editions are also highly desirable. Lots around but their condition is the most important as values harden due to the model’s 30th birthday.

From £1000 target price £4500

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