Introduced in the late 1980s the Land Rover Discovery is described as a mid sized Sports Utility Vehicle and, at the time of writing, is now on its fourth generation.
The first generation of the Discovery used the chassis and drivetrain from the Range Rovers of that period. During the first generation there were many engines, including: a 200tdi, 300tdi, various models of V8 and a doomed 4 cylinder 2 litre engine. There were two gearboxes on offer, a 5 speed manual and a four speed automatic.
Following on in true Land Rover style the Discovery was a competent off-roader. Also its simple no-thrills engines, gearboxes and drivetrain meant that travellers or people going of the beaten path could repair the vehicle with normal tools.
The first series of Land Rover Discoveries were used in the extreme off road event ‘Camel Trophy’ thus showing their true versatile nature.
Then, as the generations came and went, the number of engines and gearboxes that were available grew to a very large list. There have been 9 different types of engines put into the various models, petrol and diesel. Also, there have been 6 versions of gearboxes. Land Rover has now done away with the standard coil springs it favoured so much, there is air suspension, self levelling air suspension and now fully independent air suspension.
When off-road or in slippery conditions there is and has been traction control, hill decent control, dynamic stability control and thicker anti roll bars.
Proving its off-road capabilities the Series 3 Discovery was used in the 2006 G4 Challenge, a follow on from the Camel Trophy. The event was short lived but constant praise for the vehicle came from many countries, journalists and TV presenters.
Another thing the later generations all share is the use of electronic wizardry inside the vehicles. Aside from the usual electric windows, mirrors and sunroof there are switches to control the suspension settings, cameras mounted in the bumpers and their corresponding TV screens inside, other TV screens showing vital information regarding traction, suspension settings, engine condition ….even the way the wheels are pointing!