The Land Rover Discovery is an all-terrain vehicle of the E segment produced by the Land Rover company. This model has three generations and is less expensive than the Range Rover model of the same company. Discovery was introduced in the late 1980s and is the most popular Land Rover model. It is less utilitarian than the Land Rover Defender, but it is very competent off-road. The Discovery series IV is sold in North America under the name LR4.
Discovery Series I
The first Land Rover Discovery was introduced in Great Britain in 1989. The company named the vehicle “Project Jay”, and was close to being called “Highlander” or “Prairie Rover” until the decision was made to improve the strategy and add the name “Land Rover”.
The new model was based on the chassis and powertrain of the Range Rover, but at a lower price to compete with the Japanese offerings.
The Discovery was initially available in a three-door version, partly to avoid taking the Range Rover market out, which was more expensive. The five-door version was available the following year. Both versions were equipped with five seats, and the option of adding two more seats in the rear of the vehicle was made possible.
In an almost unique move at the time, Land Rover used an external consultant, Conran Desing Group, to design the interior. The idea was to ignore the interior designs of current cars and position the vehicle as an accessory lifestyle, a new concept at the end of the decade of 1980 that influenced enormously in the automotive design in the following years. The interior of the Discovery 1 incorporated a large number of original features, although, as in all design projects, many of the ideas shown in the indoor mock-ups built for the Range Rover in the Conran workshops were discarded as a compartment for sunglasses in the center of the steering wheel (they were days before the airbag). Despite this, the design was acclaimed by critics and won a “British Design Award” in 1989.
Before 1994, Discovery was available with a diesel engine with turbocharger and direct injection of 2.5 liters and a V8 petrol 150 HP, 3.5-liter ENGINE. In the UK, V8 models are comparatively rare to see since Discovery owners prefer cheaper diesel engines. Consequently, the sale prices of vehicles with V8 engines were lower. In North America, the situation was the opposite and most of the vehicles sold were equipped with V8. A two-liter Rover engine was available for a time and was known as 2.0 Mpi. This was an attempt to attract buyers since the tax laws of the United Kingdom (and also Italy) benefited vehicles of less than two liters.
Further Reading: Common Discovery Engine Problems
A combination of changes in taxes and low engine performance in front of such a heavy vehicle condemned this engine to disappear.
Land Rover Discovery Series I for the US market
In 1994 many changes were made to Discovery I; the 200Tdi and 3.5L V8 engines were replaced by Rover V8 300Tdi 2.5L and 3.9L engines introducing an electronic emission control Bosch for certain models and markets. About that time, all manual models were equipped with a stronger R380 gearbox. The new models carried larger headlights and a second set of rear lights on the bumper.
A noticeable nuisance with these new taillights was that the cabling was changed several times to fit European safety legislation. Some vehicles were left with a frustrating team where the bumper, vulnerable, contains the only flashing lights; Other examples have these lights duplicated.
The designers of the original model were forced to economize and use parts of the then mother company, Rover. The 200 series used the basic structure of the Range Rover, Morris Marina door handles, Austin Master taillights, gearbox and instrumentation parts of the Austin Rover Group. The favor was returned when the Discovery’s new dashboard was also part of the first-generation facelift of the Range Rover, albeit with small differences that reflected a higher status, such as an analog instead of a digital clock.
1995 (year of the model) was the first year in which the Discovery was sold in the United States. The airbags were incorporated into the design of the 1995 model to comply with the requirements of the US motor vehicle regulations, although they were not standardized in all markets. The 1995 models sold in the USA used the Range Rover 3.9L V8 engine, and in later models, it was increased to 4.0L.
Like all Land Rover vehicles designed from Land Rover Defender models, it has permanent four-wheel drive with differential lock in the transfer case. As with most Land Rovers, the handbrake acts on the transmission on the rear of the transfer case.
In Japan, the Discovery was offered under the name Honda Crossroad. (The Rover was related to Honda from the early 1980s. The relationship ended after Rover was taken over by BMW in 1994). (Honda revived the ‘Crossroad’ brand in another small sports vehicle in 2007). The only difference between the two were the logos . 1
Discovery Series II
Discovery Series II debuted in 1998. The interior and exterior were redesigned to be less utilitarian, but they were still very similar to the Series I. However, all body panels were new (and incompatible) except the exterior of the rear door.
The rear overhang was extended to improve the load space and the possibility of mounting two additional seats in the direction of travel and use comfortably by adults. Although the excessive rear overhang that had a negative impact on driving off-road.
However, off-road driving was still impressive and, in practical terms, the choice of tires was more relevant. The changes in the engines of the diesel models gave rise to the engine of 2495cc TD5 (5 cylinders of direct injection in line) in the model’s Defender updated.
This electronically controlled engine was softer, producing more useful torque at lower revs than its 300 Tdi predecessor. The Td5 engine is commonly attributed to BMW but the engine derived from the Rover L-Series engine developed by Land Rover.
The V8 version was increased to 4.0 liters at the same time. Some versions were equipped with ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement, an electronically controlled hydraulic anti-roll bar system). Some models were equipped with anti-roll control.
It was still equipped with a differential lock, although the connection to operate it was not included, as Land Rover believed that traction control and the newly developed Drop Control System would make it redundant.
In 2002, the US models no longer incorporated this mechanism. At that time. the mechanism was eliminated in European models of 2002 and remained that way until a renewed model was introduced at the end of the same year.
The demand caused the mechanism and controls to be reinstalled as an optional cost in the British models. The updated models are easily identifiable by their new headlights, which coincide with the Range Rover and the renewed Freelander. However, like the previous models, this can be misleading since the kits are available to modify vehicles from 1998 – 2002 with the new lights.
A small number of Discovery II commercial models were produced by Land Rover Special Vehicles, based on five doors with tinted windows for security. Normal vehicles were exported to the Republic of Ireland, where the rear windows were broken and the rear seats destroyed to offer a model that avoided an inordinate vehicle registration rate (saving approximately 40%).
Commercial vehicles came with rear roll control as standard. The last revision of this vehicle, from the branch ‘Pursuit’, came with climate control, bars on the roof, and serial browser.
On the 2nd of April of 2004, owners of Ford Motor Company introduced the new Discovery 3 (or LR3 in North America) as a 2005 model.
Although the Discovery Series II was a popular and very capable vehicle, its chassis, suspension, and axles had changed a little since the launch of the original Discovery in 1989. In fact, that vehicle essentially used the same bases as the original Range Rover, launched in 1970. Discovery II was beginning to lose sales in favor of other more sophisticated Japanese off-roaders (such as the Toyota Land Cruiser and Mitsubishi Pajero) and more “sporty” European off-roaders (such as the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class).
A replacement vehicle had been planned for years, but the project was delayed many times due to the dissolution of the Rover group in 2000 and the need to replace the Range Rover in 2001.
The Discovery 3 was an entirely new design. Its style is still that of the traditional Land Rover, with the functionality dictating the appearance, with a number of horizontal and vertical lines. It contains the key features of Discovery. For North America, the name LR3 was chosen because of the qualitatively negative associations that had the name Discovery.
Regarding the chassis assembly, Land Rover developed a new method which they called the Integrated Body Frame (IBF). Previous Discovery models had used a traditional and strong chassis. While it was tough on off-road employment, these were heavy and hard to drive on the highway.
Monocoque vehicles are stiffer, allowing improved handling at high speed, but which can be damaged by stress caused by hard off-road use. In the IBF body, the passenger and engine compartment is constructed as a monocoque, which contains the gearbox and suspension. It combines the virtues of the two systems but makes the Discovery 3 a heavy vehicle for its size, worsening road performance and off-road agility, especially on soft soil such as sand. This was one of the reasons why the new Discovery became the first Land Rover to offer a rear differential lock.
Another great change was the equipment of an independent suspension (Fully independent suspension FIS ) – Like the Range Rover Series III, this was a system of air suspension, which allowed to alter the height of the vehicle simply by inflating or deflating the airbags.
The vehicle can be lifted off-road to allow a more clear view, but decrease its height at high speeds to improve driving. FIS has been seen as inferior to previous off-road suspension systems due to its tendency to make the vehicle land. Land Rover, to solve this problem when necessary, developed the cross pneumatic suspension in which the suspension emulates the action of its predecessor (what one falls, the other rises). What’s more, if the vehicle’s chassis touches the ground when the suspension was at the height for rough terrain, the system detects the load reduction and elevates the vehicle an extra inch.
In the United Kingdom and European markets, the base model was offered with an independent spring suspension system. This model was unique, having only five seats and being only available with a 2.7-liter diesel engine. This model lacked the Terrain Response system (see below).
All this was designed to make the new vehicle, suitable for changing the 4×4 market. Off-road ability ended up being less important compared to road handling. Land Rover was determined that Discovery 3 would maintain the branch’s reputation as a high-performance off-road vehicle, while also being good on the road.
While the Discovery 3 was not as good in competition, it improved a lot on previous models and its off-road credentials remained intact.
The engines used in the Discovery 3 were taken from the sister company of Land Rover, Jaguar. 2.7 liters, 190 hp diesel engine V6 440Nm (it was wanted that the TdV6 was the most sold in Europe). For the British market, and as a high-performance option elsewhere, the 4.4-liter, 300-horsepower (223 kW) V8 engine was chosen. In North America and Australia, the engine of Ford V6 of 4.0 liters and 216 horses were available. Before the launch, there were rumors that Land Rover would introduce the diesel unit in the American market, but the use of diesel with high sulfur content, for which the TdV6 engines were not designed made that rumor unlikely.
The gearbox in the Discovery 3 was also new. For the diesel engine, the standard was a six-speed manual gearbox. Optionally, and as standard on V8 engines, a six-speed automatic transmission was available. Both came with a two-speed transfer case and permanent four-wheel drive. A computer controls the progressive blocking of the central differential, ensuring traction at delicate moments. It had a similar differential on the rear axle for help pull.
The Discovery 3 was equipped with electronic driver assistance systems. Drop control (HDC) prevented the vehicle from ‘slipping’ when gradients are lowered and electronic four-wheel drive control (4ETC) prevented the wheel from spinning in low traction conditions. It also incorporated stability control and traction control.
Probably, the biggest feature of the new vehicle was the innovative ‘Terrain Response’ system (this system won a ‘Popular Science Award’ in 2005). Previously, off-road driving was a skill that many drivers found daunting. Thorough knowledge of the vehicle was needed to be able to select the proper gear, transfer ratio, various differential systems, and various master techniques to traverse hills, deep water, and other difficult terrains.
‘Terrain Response’ tried to facilitate these difficulties as much as possible. The driver selected a type of terrain on a dial in the cab of the vehicle (the options are “Sand,” “Ice / Grass / Snow,” “Mud / Furrows” and “Rocks”). The onboard computer selects the correct configuration of the gearbox, adjusting the suspension height, adjusting the differential lock and even alter the response of the engine according to the terrain.
For example, in “Rocks”, the suspension is raised to the maximum height, the differentials are blocked, and the response of the regulator is altered to provide control at low speed. In “Arena” mode, the traction control system is essential to be more sensitive to skids, the differential locks are partially blocked and the response regulator is remapped to produce more powerful outputs with a small pedal movement. The driver maintains a manual control over off-road systems, being able to select the ratio of the transfer case,
In addition to the new mechanical and electronic systems, the Discovery 3 introduced many more advanced and modern designs for the interior and exterior of the vehicle. The appearance of the original Discovery of 1989 was determined by limited funds and the consequent use of components of the first generation of Range Rover. This continued to influence the Series II.
The Discovery 3 was able to have a fresh and minimalist style. The interior improved remarkably, with seven flexible seats. Unlike the older models, adults could use all seven seats. Passengers in the rear row of seats entered through the rear side doors instead of the tailgate of previous models.
The driver benefited from a modern DVD and navigation system. This system was unique to Land Rover because, in addition to the typical road navigation, it included off-road navigation and information on 4-wheel drive mode. In that mode, the display showed a vehicle outline, indicating the amount of suspension, movement, the angle of the front wheels, state of the lock differentials and icons indicating the mode in which Terrain Response was configured, and what gear was selected. in the automatic versions.
The vehicle was well received by the press at its launch, with the Terrain Response system, road improvement, and intelligent interior design. Others indicated that the diesel engine still did not offer enough power in competition (especially given the weight of the vehicle), but above all the vehicle achieved a high score.
A plus point in the launch of Discovery came when Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC’s Top Gear engine program drove one to the top of Cnoc a Fhreiceadain, in Scotland where no other vehicle had arrived. Richard Hammond, also from Top Gear praised him as “The best 4×4 of all time”.
In Australia, the vehicle received the “4WD of the Year” award for virtually all 4WD press, often impressing conservative journalists. It was acclaimed for the first time that electronics really improves the safety of mechanical systems.
Between the off-road drivers and the enthusiastic Land Rover community, the new Discovery gradually gained acceptance. Given the qualitative improvements of the vehicle on the road, many were concerned that the abilities of the off-road vehicle were compromised, and others expressed doubts about relying on electronic systems in extreme conditions.
However, in 2006, two years after the launch of the vehicle, the skills and reliability have been tested by both the press and private owners. Land Rover and many other companies have developed off-road equipment to optimize the use of Discovery.
The Range Rover Sport is based on the Discovery 3 platform.
Discovery Series IV
Presented to the public in 2009, this Discovery named LR4 is based on the old LR3 with certain improvements. Land Rover reported that this is a completely new model with more than 400 improvements. The bodywork underwent changes in the front and rear lights, the side grilles and the front. The Land Rover all-terrain system was improved and the engines were changed.
Now it can be purchased with the 8-cylinder and 5000cc Jaguar engine, which it shares with its older brothers the Range Rover Sport and the Range Rover, or with the usual TDV6. In the first years, the old 2.700cc and 190hp engine was available, but the Discovery 4 mounted a new diesel engine of 2.993cc and with power powers TDV6 with 211cv to SDV6 with 256cv.
The TDV6 has an acceleration in 10.7 seconds to reach 100 km / h. On the other hand, the SDV6 has an acceleration of 0-100 km / h in 9.3 seconds and with a maximum speed of 180 km / h. In the TVD6 engine, it has 600 Nm at 2000 RPM and in the SVD6 engine, it has 700 Nm at 2000 RPM.
The Land Rover Discovery 2014 has maintained its restyling, which is attractive. Its rectangular shape and immense space allow you to transport all kinds of things taking advantage of its 1260 liters of luggage space to the second row but if you extend it to the first you will get 2560 with the front seats with your maximum space for passengers and with the minimum you get the 3000 liters.
The Land Rover Discovery 2014 has a standard pneumatic suspension which is surprising as it will help you if necessary, in the lowest mode the vehicle measures 183 cm, with a chassis height of 18.5 cm, in normal mode the vehicle measures 189 cm, with a height to the chassis of 25.5 cm and in high mode the vehicle measures 196 cm, with a height to the chassis of 32.5 cm.
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