The Land Rover Discovery is a mid-size luxury SUV, from the British manufacturer Land Rover. There have been five generations of the vehicle, the first of which was introduced in 1989, the second called the Series II update in 1998, the third generation, titled Discovery 3, launched in 2004 and was marketed in North America as the Land Rover LR3. The fourth in 2009 was the Discovery 4—Land Rover LR4 for North American markets. The fifth generation Discovery was introduced in 2017, and omits the numeric suffix of the previous two versions.
The Discovery Series I was introduced into the United Kingdom in October 1989. The company code-named the vehicle "Project Jay". The new model was based on the chassis and drivetrain of the more upmarket Range Rover, but with a lower price aimed at a larger market segment intended to compete with Japanese offerings. This was the only Discovery generation with a four-cylinderpetrol engine.
Pre-facelift Discovery V8i five-door (UK)
Pre-facelift Discovery Tdi three-door (Portugal)
The Discovery was initially only available as a three-door version; the five-door body style became available in 1990. Both were fitted with five seats, with the option to have two jump seats fitted in the boot. Land Rover employed an external consultancy, Conran Design Group, to design the interior. They were instructed to ignore current car interior design and position the vehicle as a 'lifestyle accessory'. Their interior incorporated a number of original features, although some ideas shown on the original interior mock-ups (constructed inside a Range Rover bodyshell at Conran's workshops) were left on the shelf, such as a custom sunglasses holder built into the centre of the steering wheel. The design was unveiled to critical acclaim, and won a British Design Award in 1989.
Much of the interior was constructed from 'Sonar Blue' plastic (with blue cloth trim), with map/magazine holding slots above the windscreen, hand-holds for rear passengers incorporated into the head restraints of the front seats, remote radio controls on the instrument cluster, twin removable sunroof panels (including a special zip-up storage bag behind the rear seats) and a Land Rover-branded cloth fabric holdall in the front centre console for oddments storage that could be removed from the vehicle and worn as a handbag using a supplied shoulder strap (relatively few of these bags have survived, making them collectable items). Despite such features, the interior's basic structure was the same as the Range Rover and virtually all the switchgear and instruments came from other Rover Group cars such as the Maestro and Montego. Similarly, the Discovery utilised several Range Rover body panels, as well as headlights from the Freight Rover van and taillights from the Maestro van. The latter would continue to bear the Austin Rover 'chevron' logo on their lenses until production of the first generation Discovery ended in 1998, ten years after Austin Rover ceased to exist.
The designers of the original model had been forced to economise and use the "parts bin" of the then parent-company, Rover. The 200 series used the basic body shell structure from the Range Rover, door handles from the Morris Marina, tail lights from the Austin Maestro van, and interior switchgear and instrumentation from Rover's surplus parts.
In 1992, the Discovery received several additions and improvements. The interior was offered in a more traditional beige as well as the distinctive (but controversial) light blue, an automatic gearbox was made available on 200Tdi models, new colours were added to the range (and the large 'compass and mountain' side decals worn by early Discoveries to disguise wavy panel fit around the rear three quarter windows were no longer fitted) and the 'SE' pack (incorporating alloy wheels, front driving lights, roof bars and a special range of metallic paints) was introduced as an option. A two-seater, three-door Discovery Commercial version, lacking rear side windows, was later offered by Land Rover Special Vehicles also known as SVO (Special Vehicles Operations).
Before 1994, the Discovery was available with either the 2.5-litre 200 Tdi engine or the 3.5-litre Rover V8. Early V8 engines used a twin SU carburettor system, switching to Lucas 14CUX fuel injection in 1990. A 2.0-litre petrol engine from the Rover stable was briefly available in a model known as the 2.0-litre Mpi I4. This was intended to attract fleet managers, since UK (and Italian) tax laws benefitted vehicles under 2.0 litres. A combination of changes in taxation and lack of power for such a heavy vehicle led to the demise of this engine, despite its fitment to several Discoveries supplied to the British Royal family-most notably driven by Prince Philip around Windsor Great Park, in his position as Park Ranger.
The transmission was a permanent four wheel drive system, with a high and low range transfer box, locking centre differential at the transfer box. Similarly to the rest of the Land Rover range, the handbrake acts on the transmission at the back of the transfer box, therefore locking the rear prop shaft or both front and rear prop shafts if the central differential lock is engaged.
In Australia, the Series I launched in April 1991, available only as a three-door estate in 3.5-litre V8i guise with 115 kW (154 hp) and 260 N⋅m (190 lb⋅ft) and coupled with a five-speed manual gearbox. In October 1991, Land Rover launched the five-door body variant in base V8i and luxury HL versions. Both featured central locking, electric windows, headlight washers and heated door mirrors, with the HL adding alloy wheels, air conditioning, driving lights and an improved audio system. Furthermore, the Tdi engine became available, rated at 83 kW (111 hp) and 265 N⋅m (195 lb⋅ft). In early 1993 a four-speed automatic option was added to the Australian range and the HL was discontinued.
Facelift Land Rover Discovery V8i five-door (Australia)
In 1994, many changes were made to the Discovery. It reached some markets as the "Discovery 2"; the 200Tdi and 3.5 L V8 engines were replaced with the 2.5 L 300Tdi 4-cylinder and 3.9-litre Rover V8 engines. The 300Tdi introduced a Bosch electronic emissions control for certain models and markets. At around this time a stronger R380 gearbox was fitted to all manual models. The newer models featured larger headlamps and a second set of rear lights in the bumper. The new rear lights had their wiring configuration changed several times to meet real or expected European safety legislation. Some vehicles were left with an arrangement where the vulnerable bumper contains the only working direction-indicator lights; other examples have these lights duplicated in the traditional rear pillar location.
The 1994 model year marked the first year that the Discovery was sold in the United States. Airbags were incorporated into the design of the 1994 model to meet the requirements of US motor vehicle regulations, though they were not fitted as standard in all markets. All North American specification (NAS) models were fitted with the 3.9-litre V8 from the Range Rover SE models, and later models saw a change to the 4.0-litre version of the engine.
Technically speaking, the 1996 to 1998 US models with 4.0-litre engines had the same displacement as the 3.9-litre engines fitted to the earlier 1994 to 1995 US models; the differences between the engines involved improvements to the block rigidity and pistons, and a change from the Lucas 14CUX engine management to the distributor-less Generic Engine Management System ("GEMS"). In earlier 3.9-litre US engines the fuel injection computer (14CUX) did not control the ignition, which was instead controlled by a traditional system with an ignition coil and distributor made by Lucas. The GEMS system was developed jointly by Lucas and SAGEM; it controlled both spark timing and fuel injection. Unlike the earlier systems fitted to Rover V8 engines, GEMS was made OBD-II compliant. This change was largely driven by the federal requirement (starting in 1996) for vehicles sold in the United States to meet the OBD-II specification.
1994 Honda Crossroad (Japan)
In Japan, a badge-engineered version of the Discovery I was offered, called the Honda Crossroad. The Rover companies had a cross-holding relationship with Honda UK since the early 1980s. The relationship ended after Rover was taken over by BMW in 1994. (Honda revived the nameplate 'Crossroad' in another small sport utility vehicle in 2007.)
In the Republic of Ireland, local tax laws meant that the first ever example of a Discovery Commercial (van) was launched there in 1991. A revised version was launched in 1993, shortly after the UK market example of late 1992. The Irish examples have formed the basis of the Discovery's success and high sales there, as commercials are on a much lower tax band.
Country Life(Switzerland, 1991): The Country Life was a five-door V8i Discovery with special interior trim, including a leather-wrapped Nardi steering wheel, wood door and console trim, and identifying decals. It also included a picnic basket. A total of 50 Country Life editions were built.
Orienteer(Australia, 1992): The Orienteer models were all three-door, equipped with the V8. They were fitted with five-spoke alloy wheels and driving lights, and "compass" side graphics. Seventy-five Orienteer Discoverys were built; because they sold out quickly, this special edition was offered again for the 1993 model year.
Freestyle(France, 1993): The Freestyle was available as either a three-door or five-door, and all were painted metallic blue and adorned with Freestyle decals. They were fitted with front and rear anti-roll bars and the "Freestyle" five-spoke alloy wheels.
County Rider(France, 1993): Intended to appeal to equestrians, the County Rider was equipped with a rear floor liner, rub-strips and wheel-arch protectors, mudflaps, floor mats, an adjustable tow hitch, and a saddle rack. Available as either a three- or five-door, all were painted green with special decals.
Rossignol(Australia, 1993): Named for Skis Rossignol, this was a three-door V8i painted in Caprice blue-green metallic and fitted with a ski rack. It was also fitted with rub strips, wheel arch protectors, and other items that were optional on the base models.
Camel Trophy(Japan, 1995): All were painted Sandglow Yellow, and built with roof racks to which were fitted metal Camel Trophy plates. Available was either the V8 with automatic gearbox, or 300Tdi diesel with five-speed manual.
Sunseeker(Germany, 1996): Fitted with a chromed front bullbar and painted metallic blue with special decals. All were in the five-door configuration with deep-dish alloy wheels.
Goodwood(UK, 1997): Before it was discovered that the name "Goodwood" was controlled by the owners of the Goodwood Circuit, Land Rover had already planned production of 500 Goodwood special edition examples. They were painted British Racing Green (renamed to "Goodwood Green") with coachlines and special badging, and trimmed with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and walnut interior accents. All were also fitted with dished alloy wheels. Because of the legal objection to the use of the Goodwood name, the single unit built for the London Motor Show was the only one actually badged as such and the remaining 499 were left unnamed.
Horse and Hound(UK, 1997): Twenty of these were produced, as a result of a joint promotional effort between Lex Land Rover (of Maidenhead) and Horse & Hound magazine. All were five-door Tdi models with an individual series number and special decals.
Argyll(UK, 1997): Available as either a V8i or Tdi and painted either Oxford Blue or Woodcote Green. Re-introduced in 1998 as a three-door variant.
Aviemore(UK, 1998): Base on the seven-seat GS model, the Aviemore had special badging and was available as either British Racing Green over beige cloth or Rioja Red over grey cloth. It was also equipped with dished alloy wheels and a heated windscreen.
Anniversary 50(UK, 1998): Designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Land Rover, this edition had special 50th Anniversary badging and either Atlantis Blue or White Gold paint. The interior was Lightstone leather, and the wheels were the "Boost" style alloy design. It was built as a V8 automatic or Tdi (with either the automatic or manual gearbox.)
Safari(UK, 1998): Again based on the seven-seat GS, the Safari was painted Epsom Green and was equipped with a rear ladder, roof rails, and additional fog lamps. It was available with either the V8 or Tdi engine, although the manual gearbox was only offered in conjunction with the Tdi. A total of 1,100 were built.
Camel Trophy(Germany, 1998): Painted Sandglow Yellow with "Tornado" style alloy wheels. Equipped with a snorkel air intake, trail lamps, a roof rack, a ladder, and a bullbar.
Trophy(Germany, 1998): Not to be confused with the "Camel Trophy" edition also available in Germany during the same year, the "Trophy" had alloy wheels and air conditioning, twin airbags, a front bar with additional lamps, and a special spare tire cover. The Trophy was only available with the 300Tdi engine.
Esquire(Germany, 1998): Like the Trophy, the Esquire was equipped with twin airbags, air conditioning, and alloy wheels, but it was also standardised with ABS and the interior was trimmed with wood and leather.
The Series II Discovery debuted in autumn 1998 and in the US in 1999. Land Rover promoted that the Discovery Series II had been modified with 720 'differences'. The interior and exterior was re-worked to be less utilitarian, but it was still similar to the Series I. Every body panel was new except the rear door outer skin. The rear body was extended to improve load space but at the expense of added rear overhang, which adversely impacted off-road ability.
Pre-facelift Discovery II Td5
Facelift Discovery II Td5
Facelift Discovery II Td5
Changes to the diesel engined models saw the 2,495 cc Td5 (in-line direct-injected straight-five engine) introduced, in line with the updated Defender models. This electronically managed engine was smoother, producing more usable torque at lower revs than its 300Tdi predecessor. The Td5 engine is often mistakenly attributed to BMW; it was derived from the Rover L-series passenger car engine and further developed by Land Rover. The 3,948 cc V8 petrol version from the Discovery 1 was replaced with the Range Rover P38 Thor 4.0-litre Rover-derived V8. There was no actual increase in capacity over the previous 3.9-litre engine. Although the basic design of the engine was similar, it was actually quite different internally: it used a different crankshaft, had larger bearing journals with cross bolted caps, different con rods, and different pistons. The blocks were machined differently, to accept extra sensors for the Gems and Bosch (Thor) injection system and to allow the extra stroke of the 4.6 crankshaft. For the 2003 and 2004 model year Discovery II they changed to the 4.6-litre V8 (though the 4.0 continued as the only V8 option offered in the UK). ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement, an electronically controlled hydraulic anti-roll bar system) was fitted to some versions, which reduced cornering roll. Self-levelling air springs were fitted to some models and European type-approval for seven-seat vehicles was only given to air-sprung examples.
The locking centre differential was still fitted until early 2001, although the linkage to operate it was not attached, as Land Rover believed that the traction control and newly developed Hill Descent Control would render it redundant. The actual locking mechanism was removed in early 2001, before being fully reinstated (with linkage) with the facelifted 2003 model. Whilst the traction control system worked very effectively, it did not offer the same level of control and smooth operation as the vehicles fitted with the differential lock. Customer demand saw the diff lock controls fully reinstated as a cost option only (standard on top of range HSE/SE vehicles) on UK/Irish models, and aftermarket kits are offered by several vendors for those vehicles which were produced with the lock, but not the linkage.
The US version was available in three trim levels: S, SE, LT and HSE, the SE, LT and HSE having a seven-seat option, SE7, LT7 and HSE7.
The "facelift" models are easily identified by new "pocketed" headlamps (which matched the Range Rover and facelifted Freelander models) as well as redesigned turn and brake lamps on the rear of the vehicle. The turn signals were moved from the bumper to the high side fixtures. The earlier Series II models could in turn be easily distinguished from the original Discovery by the position of those stop light fixtures above the window-line (earlier models had them below), and by the replacement of paddle door handles with the current sort. The Series II also differs slightly in dimensions.
A small number of Discovery II Commercial models were produced by Land Rover Special Vehicles, this time based on the five-door bodyshell but with the windows rendered opaque to give van-like appearance and security. Normal vehicles were exported to Republic of Ireland, where the rear side windows were smashed and rear seats were destroyed in the presence of a Revenue official, to offer a model that avoided the Vehicle Registration Tax (saving approximately 40%). The Commercials came with rear self-levelling suspension as standard.
In the final production run of the Discovery II, only two models were offered for sale in the UK market, the 'base' Pursuit, which still retained a high level of equipment as standard, and the top specification Landmark, which offered an all-leather interior, twin sunroofs, Active Cornering Enhancement, six-disc CD player, and a heated windscreen. The final vehicles left the production lines in late May 2004 to make way for the all new Discovery 3 (LR3) models.
On 2 April 2004, Land Rover introduced the Discovery 3, marketed as the LR3 in North America. It retained the key features of the Discovery, such as the stepped roofline and steeply raked windscreen. The LR3 name was chosen for North American markets due to negative quality associations with the Discovery name and (according to Land Rover) a preference in the American market for alpha-numeric model designations – the second generation Freelander was also re-designated for the North American market as the LR2.
Land Rover developed a body construction method for the Discovery 3, marketed as Integrated Body Frame (IBF). The engine bay and passenger compartment are built as a monocoque, then mated to a basic ladder-frame chassis for the gearbox and suspension. Land Rover claims IBF combines the virtues of monocoque and ladder-frame – though it makes for a heavier vehicle than a monocoque construction, compromising performance and agility somewhat but adding strength, toughness and adaptability.
Pre–facelift Land Rover Discovery 3 SE
Facelift Land Rover Discovery 3 TDV6 SE. Note: body-coloured trimmings, redesigned wheels, and clear fender-mounted indicator lenses.
The LR3 features full independent suspension (FIS). Like the Range Rover L322, this is an air suspension system, enabling ride-height adjustment by simply pumping up or deflating the air bags. The vehicle can be raised to provide ground clearance when off-road, but lowered at high speeds to improve handling. Land Rover developed 'cross-linked' air suspension. When needed, the suspension mimics the action of a beam axle (as one wheel drops, the other rises). If the chassis of the vehicle contacts the ground when the suspension was at its 'off-road' height, the system senses the reduction in load on the air springs and raises the vehicle an extra inch. In the UK and European markets, a coil-spring independent suspension system was offered on the base model. This model was unique in the range by having only five seats and only being available with the 2.7-litre diesel engine. This model lacked the Terrain Response system.
The engines used in the Discovery 3 were all taken from Land Rover's sister company at the time, Jaguar. A Ford/PSA-developed 2.7-litre, 195 hp (145 kW), 440 Nm V6diesel engine (the TdV6) was intended to be the biggest seller in Europe. For the US market and as the high-performance option elsewhere, a 4.4-litre petrol V8 of 300 hp (220 kW) was chosen. A 216 hp (161 kW) 4.0-litre SOHCFord V6 petrol engine was available in North America and Australia.
The gearboxes on the Discovery 3 were also all-new. For the diesel engine, a six-speed manual transmission was standard. As an option, and as standard on the V8 engine, a six-speed automatic transmission was available. Both came with a two-speed transfer box and permanent four-wheel-drive. A computer controlled progressively locking central differential ensured traction was retained in tough conditions. A similar differential was available on the rear axle to aid traction.
The Discovery 3 was fitted with multiple electronic traction control systems. Hill Descent Control (HDC) prevented vehicle 'runaways' when descending steep gradients and 4-wheel Electronic Traction Control (4ETC) prevented wheel spin in low-traction conditions. An on-road system, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), prevented skidding when steering and braking at speed. The vehicle also featured the 'Terrain Response' system. Previously, off-road driving had been a skill that many drivers found daunting. A wide-ranging knowledge of the vehicle was needed to be able to select the correct gear, transfer ratio, various differential systems and master various techniques required for tackling steep hills, deep water and other tough terrain. Terrain Response attempted to take away as many of the difficulties as possible. The driver selected a terrain type ("Sand", "Grass, Gravel & Snow", "Mud & Ruts" and "Rock Crawl") on a dial in the cab of the vehicle. The on-board computer systems then select the correct gearbox settings, adjust the suspension height, adjust the differential lock settings and even alter the throttle response of the engine suitable for the terrain. For example, in "Rock Crawl", the suspension is raised to its maximum height and set to allow maximum wheel articulation, the differentials are locked, the driver is prompted to switch to Low Range, and the throttle response is altered to provide low-speed control. In "Sand" mode, the traction control system is 'primed' to be more sensitive to wheelspin, the differentials are partly locked, and the throttle response is re-mapped to produce high power outputs with short pedal movement. The driver retained some manual control over the off-road systems, being able to select the Transfer Box ratio and the suspension height manually, although use of the Terrain Response system is needed to allow full use of the vehicles' capabilities.
As well as new mechanical and electronic systems, the Discovery 3 introduced a new design to the interior and exterior of the vehicle. The Discovery 3 was able to have a fresh, minimalist style. The interior featured a flexible seven-seat layout. Passengers in the rearmost row now entered through the rear side doors, instead of the tailgate as in previous versions. The driver benefitted from a DVD navigation system, including some optional features like Bluetooth telephony in later models. Like the Range Rover, this audio, information & entertainment ("infotainment") system in the Discovery 3 adopted an electronics architecture whereby the system's distributed control units pass information and audio amongst one another and throughout the vehicle via optical links based on the MOST (or, Media Oriented Systems Transport) fibre-optic automotive networking standard (informally called the "MOST-bus")[unreliable source?]. The system's navigation functions were unique to Land Rover because, in addition to the typical road map navigation, benefits included an off-road navigation and four-wheel drive information mode. When in four-wheel drive information mode, the screen showed a schematic of the vehicle, displaying the amount of suspension movement, angle the front wheels were steering, the status of the locking differentials and icons showing which mode the Terrain Response was in, and what gear was selected on automatic versions.
The vehicle was lauded by the press, with the Terrain Response system, improved on-road dynamics, and interior design receiving particular praise. Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC's Top Gear motoring show drove one to the top of Cnoc an Fhreiceadain, a 307 m (1,007 ft) mountain near Tongue in northern Scotland, where no vehicle had previously reached. Richard Hammond, presenter of Top Gear, praised it as the "Best 4X4 of all time". In Australia, the vehicle was awarded "4WD of the Year" by the 4WD Press.
In 2006, Land Rover used the Discovery 3 in its G4 challenge, alongside the Range Rover Sport. The vehicles used were all in standard mechanical form, except for the fitment of additional Land Rover off-road equipment.
The first all-new model placement since the Freelander, the Range Rover Sport is based on the Discovery 3 platform, rather than on the larger Range Rover.
A 2008–2009 facelifted model of the Discovery 3 offered a Harman/Kardon stereo system upgrade, six-CD changer, clear side indicator lights, and body-colour bumpers.
The Discovery 4 (called the LR4 in North America) is an updated version of the Discovery 3. Using the same Integrated Body Frame structure, the new Discovery has altered front and rear light units and a restyled front grille and bumper to adopt the same smoother, rounder style as also adopted for the 2010 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport. The Discovery 4 also retains the body-coloured wheel arches and bumpers as the late Discovery 3s (early D3s had black plastic trim). Optional Daylight Running Lamps can be specified whilst LED lights feature prominently in both front and rear lamp units.
Pre-facelift Discovery 4 TDV6 (Australia)
Facelift Discovery 4 HSE (Europe)
Facelift Discovery 4 TDV6 (Australia)
The majority of the changes are mechanical, with reliability issues addressed, improvements to engines and gearboxes, brake and suspension refinements, but also included major interior upgrades with a more luxurious and contemporary interior with greater luxury and technology levels available. The D4 receives two engines from Jaguar Land Rover's Gen III range. The TDV6 Gen III is a 3.0-litre development of the 2.7-litre engine used in the D3. The new version features advanced twin-sequential turbochargers where a Variable geometry turbocharger is used at low engine speeds, with a second standard turbo is brought online at higher engine speeds. Two versions of the 3.0-litre diesel are offered. Fuel economy was improved over the previous generation diesel while power, torque and diesel NVH were improved significantly. This system provides greater output than the older engine, with 241 bhp (180 kW) and 600 N⋅m (440 lb⋅ft) whilst reducing CO2 emissions by 10 percent when first introduced and in 2014 increased to 188 kW (252 hp). The Gen III version of the V8 petrol engine (available in markets outside the UK such as North America, Russia, Japan, Australia, and some EU countries) is now a 5-litre unit with Direct Petrol Injection developing 385 bhp (287 kW) and 520 N⋅m (380 lb⋅ft).
An improved version of the ZF six-speed automatic/sequential gearbox was incorporated and in 2012 was further improved including a change to 8 speeds. It includes taller gearing to take advantage of the new engines' greater torque output and an updated lock-up system to further reduce fuel consumption. Other technical changes include the fitting of the more powerful brakes from the Range Rover Sport and thicker anti-roll bars to improve on-road handling. The Stability Control System now includes a programme that detects the onset of understeer and applies the brakes. The Discovery 4 retains its predecessor's fully independentair suspension with cross-linking when off-road and the twin-range transfer gearbox with an electronic infinitely variable locking centre differential. As before, a similar locking rear differential is available. The Terrain Response system remains but with two new features – the 'Sand' mode incorporates a new traction control mode to prevent loss of traction when starting off and stopping in soft sand, and the 'Rock Crawl' mode gains a feature that applies gentle brake pressure at low (less than walking pace) speeds to improve grip and stability on slick rock. The system is also 'retuned' to account for the new engines and gearboxes with their different torque characteristics. Other new electronic systems include Trailer Stability Assist which can adjust the throttle and brakes to prevent a dangerously swaying trailer.
The 2.7-litre TDV6 engine was available in Europe on the basic 2.7 GS passenger and 2010 Commercial ranges. Unlike the Discovery 3 base model, this was equipped with air suspension and the Terrain Response system. The automatic gearbox was an option on this model. The 3.0-litre Gen III model (only with automatic gearbox) is also available in the GS trim level.
The Discovery 4 also features a redesigned interior (in keeping with the new styles introduced elsewhere in the LR range for 2010). The instrument cluster is updated with redesigned analogue speedometer and tachometer gauges for improved clarity. The analogue temperature/fuel gauges of the previous model and the electronic information display are replaced by a single TFT screen capable of displaying information in a variety of modes and formats. The interior also has a new centre console, which includes redesigned and simplified switches and controls. The Discovery also has a new seat design and a wider range of available interior materials – some previously only seen in Range Rover models. The stated aim of the interior redesign was to lift the vehicle upmarket, with higher-spec models now aimed at the luxury and executive markets.
The car gains some electronic systems from the Range Rover lineup, such as the optional 'Surround Camera System' – a series of cameras located in the front bumper, door mirrors, and rear tailgate handle which can display their images on the centre console screen to improve visibility (although the image quality of this system was downgraded by Land Rover around 2014). Other electronic systems are intended to improve efficiency – the engines feature a 'Smart' alternator that only charges the battery when engine load is low, thus helping to reduce fuel consumption when the engine is working harder.
The Discovery 4 was unveiled in the summer of 2009 and went on sale in the United Kingdom on 1 September that year. A Commercial van variant was released in the UK at the same time using the 2.7 engine and offered in GS and XS trim levels. In the Republic of Ireland a Commercial van was offered from 1 January 2010 based on the XE 2.7 manual and HSE 3.0 auto engines.
An armoured Discovery with B6 ballistic level of protection was announced in 2010. It offers numerous safety features designed to protect the occupants, including protection from grenades and small arms fire. The vehicle is indistinguishable from the standard LR4.
For the 2011 model year announced late 2010, the 2.7-litre engine was dropped and two versions of the 3.0-litre engine were made available – one called the TDV6 and one called the SDV6 (the latter offering 245 bhp).
For the 2012 model year, diesel models in Europe came with the new eight-speed auto gearbox with steering wheel paddle controls and a circular dial selector that raises upon startup. The SDV6 engine was uprated to 255 bhp (190 kW) whilst both diesel engines featured reduced emissions for European models. During 2012 the HSE Luxury special edition was announced, featuring enhanced trim levels, and available in Europe and North American markets.
In Ireland, 2012 saw the introduction of a new five-seat version of the Discovery 4 classified as an N1 Commercial vehicle, therefore attracting lower VRT rates. There is also a new two-seat Commercial on the same rules. All Irish models came with the lower emissions TDV6 engine. In 2014, an enhanced version of the unique-to-Ireland five-seater commercial utility went on sale which included almost all top-of-the-range features for a lower price. This vehicle is now the top selling Discovery in Ireland due to the fact that it attracts low road tax (€333 per year) and VAT can be reclaimed.
For 2013, models received a style freshening, new badging, new fuel stretching technology, improved audio systems and a new range of driver assistance, comfort and safety features. The 2014 Discovery comes with a standard ZF 8HP transmission, and in some markets can be supplied with a one-speed transfer case (replacing the two speed transfer case). 2014 also marks the first use of a 2,995 cc (2.995 L; 182.8 cu in) supercharged six cylinder engine, replacing the previous V6 and V8 offerings.
In a January 2011 comparison test by Car and Driver, the Land Rover LR4 came in fourth place out of five cars behind the Audi Q7, BMW X5, and Acura MDX. However, it has always won the Auto Express categories of Best Large SUV and Best Towcar since it was launched in 2009.
To celebrate 25 years of the Land Rover Discovery, a special edition of 1800 (?) vehicles was produced in 2014 marked as the XXV, and featured a number of unique details including light grey (Cirrus) XXV-embossed Windsor leather seats, special grill sets, and almost every extra and expansion pack available. A number of these were exported in silver grey and the darker causeway grey for UK markets.
A major milestone in Land Rover Discovery's history came when the one millionth example built rolled off the Solihull production line in March 2012. This vehicle, along with two similar examples, was driven from Solihull to Beijing, China in a replication of a 1950s expedition. During this expedition, G459 WAC, a pre-production Discovery 1 (which was subsequently converted into an amphibious vehicle) joined in the celebrations when the expedition visited Lake Geneva. The expedition concluded with the actual Millionth Discovery appearing at the Beijing Motor Show. This vehicle subsequently returned to go on permanent exhibition at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust centre at Gaydon, Warwickshire, England.
2,193 kg (4,835 lb) (petrol)
2,230 kg (4,920 lb) (diesel)
The fifth-generation Discovery was unveiled in the grounds of Packington Hall near Meriden, UK on 28 September 2016, the eve of the 2016 Paris Motor Show, and went on sale in the UK in February 2017. Built on a platform shared with the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, the current Discovery leaves behind many of the design traditions of former generations for a more modern, though less overtly practical, design. This model also marks the return of the Discovery marque in the U.S. market, replacing the LR moniker of the previous generation models. There are five seat, seven seat and commercial van versions in Ireland and other European markets.
This is the first Discovery that will be manufactured outside the UK, with production being moved to Slovakia in 2019.
Discovery HSE Td6
The design of the third-generation Discovery was previewed by the Discovery Vision Concept at the 2014 New York Auto Show, and the production design stays very true on the exterior. In profile, the exterior design is also very similar to the small Discovery Sport model. In contrast to previous Discovery models, the third-generation has a much more rounded shape, eschewing the traditional angular design. The tail lights have changed from a vertical orientation to horizontal, and the third-row side glass no longer blends into the roof glass. The tailgate is no longer horizontally split and has been replaced with a conventional top hinged tailgate made from composite. The roof is still stepped over the third row, though it is now largely cosmetic in comparison to the previous models and the roof now has a strong taper to the back. The interior closely follows that from other contemporary Land Rover models, while continuing the 3-row tradition of the Discovery.
The new Discovery 5 incorporates several changes over its predecessors. For the first time, the Discovery is based around Land Rover's aluminium architecture, first introduced on the Range Rover (L405). The use of aluminium chassis and body panels gives a weight loss of up to 480 kg over its predecessor. This weight loss combined with a new aerodynamic design, achieves a fuel efficiency improvement over previous Discovery generations. The new Discovery is offered with a combination of V6 petrol and diesel engines. All Discovery 5's are equipped with a standard 8 speed automatic transmission. An available option package adds a two speed transfer case (low range gearbox) and the option of an actively locking rear differential. Coil springs are now standard on base trim models, while air suspension is still offered as an option.
Land Rover also introduces Terrain Response 2 on the Discovery 5. Similarly to the first generation of Terrain Response, Terrain Response 2 constantly monitors wheel slip, wheel speed, angle of approach or departure, and the suspension's compression or rebound to adjust the anti-lock braking system, throttle response, differentials and traction control systems. The driver can select modes for snow, grass, gravel, mud ruts, sand, or rock crawling by the spin of a dial on the centre console. Terrain Response 2 also introduces a new 'Auto' mode that allows the vehicles computer to select the most appropriate mode on its own.
The Discovery 5 is the first Discovery to be built on a unibody chassis, unlike its predecessors which were built body on frame. This allows the vehicle to have higher torsional rigidity with less weight. According to the automotive press[who?], the latest generation has a higher wading depth (up to 35.6”), improved ground clearance and a more comfortable ride while traversing adverse terrain.
Derivatives and specialist versions
Discovery 4 Sentinel at DSEi 2015
Supacat's LRV 400 Mk2 is based on the Discovery 4
Supacat, part of SC Group, offer two vehicles based on a modified Discovery 4 platforms. The Specialist Utility Vehicle 600 (SUV 600) is a production standard Land Rover Discovery 4 that is converted to 6x6 or 6x4 configuration for use in the emergency services and wider utility sectors. The Light Reconnaissance Vehicle 400 (LRV 400) is an open lightweight 4x4 vehicle of the Land Rover Defender class. The LRV 400 was developed based on a combination of market research and customer feedback from the 2011-unveiling of a proof-of-concept closed cab variant. Development of the LRV 400 continues, the latest Mk2 shown publicly for the first time at DSEI 2015 (15–18 September). The most significant design change for the Mk2 is a switch of the automotive platform to the Land Rover Discovery 4 rather than the off-road racer platform previously offered.
Land Rover offers an armoured version of the Discovery 4, the Sentinel. Protected to Level B6 (defined in accordance with European Standard EN1063 BR6 (glazing) and EN1522 and is certified by QinetiQ), according to Jaguar Land Rover the Discovery 4 Sentinel is almost indistinguishable from the non-armoured Discovery 4. As a factory supplied product the vehicle comes with a Land Rover three-year or 50,000 miles (80,000 km) warranty, the support of Land Rover's worldwide dealer network and a range of additional after sales packages.
As of 1 January 2017, some 1,200,000 Discovery models had been sold in total since launch in 1989.
Total sales are for 2009 and onward, excluding sales prior to that year.