17 June 2010

Land Rover Discovery / LR4

As the gap between the then soon to be called Defender and Range Rover widening (as the latter went more posh), a new model could now be added. Late 1989 saw the arrival of the Discovery and it slotted nicely in between the two existing models. It was to be a lifestyle, leisure vehicle and it hit the sweet spot sales wise. From the beginning, it was available with seven seats, was good for towing the horse float and of course was excellent off road too.

When Ford took control, work on the Discovery 3 commenced. To me that was when the Discovery/LR3 really came of age. In some respects it didn't sell quite as well as the improvements deserved, mainly because there is so much more competition for it to deal with. That said, it still has sold well, in the 50,000's initially but falling back somewhat with the recession. Now called the Discovery 4, about 21,000 were made in 2009.

The rugged, no nonsense look is spot on. Only its weight being against it, the price paid for its off road prowess. It has won more awards than I've had hot dinners so its quality is recognised by those who know their onions, so to speak. In my opinion, this is the best 4x4 and that feeling is confirmed in markets such as Australia and South Africa, where the Disco is consistently the best selling Landie. Conditions in these places can be rough and the Discovery really shines when the going gets tough.

I assume the Discovery 5 will be as light as it can be for a true off road vehicle. Fuel saving is important nowadays and there is room for improvement here. That said, it needs to maintain its core attributes to retain those loyal customers who love the Disco for the fine vehicle it is.

The bottom line: The 4x4 doesn't come any better than this.

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