We've given this page a whole new look

View the new design

1997 Land Rover Discovery

Change Vehicle
1997 Land Rover Discovery
Available in 3 styles:  Discovery shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

14 city / 14–17 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 2
1997 Land Rover Discovery 4.0 2
$ 2,081-5,337
April 27, 1997
Drive a Chevrolet Corvette and for the moment you feel as if you're living life in Al Unser Jr.'s shoes.

Drive a Land Rover Discovery and for the moment you feel as if you're living life in Ralph Kramden's boots, lumbering along in what looks like a bus.

'Vette is the epitome of style and performance.

Discovery is the epitome of image and snob appeal--a $37,000 ticket that gives you unimpeded entry across the border into Lake Forest or Oak Brook.

What sets Discovery apart from the rest of the sport-utility crowd is that it really is meant to be driven off-road, to be used and abused, ridden through mud and sand and over logs or fallen trees.

Blue-collar dudes buy Grand Cherokees, Blazers, Tahoes, Explorers, Expeditions, even 4Runners and Pathfinders. They purchase them with four-wheel-drive so, if they want to, they can leave the road where the sign says "Detour" and beat the living daylights out of their machines.

Of course, those with blue-collar mentalities--and budgets--know better than to do that to a $25,000 to $35,000 vehicle.

Discovery owners, on the other hand, leave the road eagerly. Live for the moment. Enjoy life. Body damage and mechanical trouble be damned. This vehicle is meant more for Baja than boulevard. It's another toy in a stable that probably doesn't include a Taurus. If soiled or bruised, wash and bandage and go again. When the thrill wears off, trade it in on another trinket.

We test drove the 1997 Land Rover Discovery SE and found it a rather unusual experience. For starters, the vehicle will never win a beauty contest. The most Discovery can hope for is the congeniality title. The vehicle is squarish and the roof looks like a second-story addition to the traditional ranch.

We call it butt ugly; Land Rover aficionados call it "unique." The Discovery we tested came with giant rubber-lipped floor mats, all the better to contain moisture and drain and wash off after slopping through the mud and sand. Carpeted mats wouldn't last long if you took your off-roading seriously.

You sit high in the saddle to allow for the ground clearance needed for this four-wheeler to travel over and through rugged terrain. And sitting high makes it better to see when off-roading and climbing that incline. You feel a tad top heavy on dry, open roads, but that's life in a Discovery.

Though a full-time four-wheel-drive unit, a transfer case allows you to slip into low gear when the mud gets very deep, the hill very steep, the ice very slippery.

To encourage Discovery owners to experience the vehicle to the max, most dealers hold "wheels" events, taking a group of customers to an off-road or park site and teaching them the skills needed to manage when they run out of paved road.

Discovery has a 4-liter, 182-horsepower V-8 with 4-speed automatic and overdri ve. Power is ample, fuel economy isn't. The rating is 14 miles per gallon city/17 highway, but once off-road, ratings no longer count.

The Discovery SE we tested started at $36,000. Add $625 for freight.

Standard equipment includes dual air bags, four-wheel power disc brakes with anti-lock, 16-inch mud and snow tires on cast aluminum alloy wheels, long-travel coil spring suspension with front and rear sway bars, power-heated mirrors, heated rear window, automatic climate control, double folding split rear seats, power windows and sunroofs front and rear, front and rear fog lights, halogen front headlamps with power washers, tilt steering and AM/FM stereo with cassette.

New standard items for 1997 are heated seats, walnut interior trim and Home Link, an all-in-one power-operated unit that replaces separate handheld remotes for garage door/front gate/outside home lighting.

Our test vehicle added a CD player at $625, a brush bar (yu , the bar works upfront to knock down the brush ahead of you when off-roading) at $538 and the rubberized floor mats for $182. Two nifty options available on the SE (standard on the up-level SE-7) are a pair of jump seats that fold out from the walls in the rear cargo area to hold two kids ($1,050 to $1,300 depending on cloth or leather) and a hydraulic fold-down step under the rear bumper ($395) for easier access into the rear cargo area or to reach roof-mounted supplies or gear.

Other than the fact that Discovery lacks style, our main gripe is that the roof line sinks very low where it meets the windshield. Idle at a stoplight and you don't see the light turn green because the low roof line blocks the view.

Not the vehicle for everyone. Land Rover wouldn't want it that way. Nor would Lake Forest or Oak Brook.

Isuzu VehiCROSS

Add Isuzu to the growing list of automakers offering a small sport-utility vehicle.

Only drawback to the new Isuzu VehiCROSS, other than a stupid name (Vee-hih-cross), is that the Toyota RAV4-sized vehicle is sold only in Japan--for now.

While Isuzu says a VehiCROSS offshoot is conceivable for the U.S., the main purpose of the vehicle is to let the world know the Japanese manufacturer has a few SUV surprises up its sleeve that it could spring on the U.S.

And before you ask why sell the VehiCROSS only in Japan, keep in mind that sport-utes are the rage there just as they have become the vehicle of choice here.

"VehiCROSS is meant to focus attention on our being a sport-utility vehicle specialist and the fact that we have some unique capabilities," said Isuzu spokesman Daniel McCue.

Isuzu, in case you forgot, brings out an all-new compact Rodeo sport-ute this fall, followed by the return of the Amigo shortly after the first of next year. Amigo probably will bow at the Detroit Auto Show in January, journey to the Chicago Auto Show in February and go on sale in the spring.

The Amigo will be built off the same platform as the Rodeo and is expected to be assembled at the joint-venture Isuzu/Subaru plant in Lafayette, Ind., though Isuzu won't officially say so.

With Rodeo, Amigo and Subaru Outback production at Lafayette, that plant is going to need an expansion soon, but with the popularity of Isuzu sport-utes and Subaru Outbacks, the problem is shutting down the lines to expand when both automakers can sell everything being produced.

Amigo should be a valuable addition to the Isuzu lineup. Last sold in 1994, Amigo was a small, low-priced, high-mileage SUV in a market without a RAV4 or Honda CR-V. Now RAV4 and CR-V are on the scene with no Amigo.

But we digress.

VehiCROSS is a two-door SUV with a 4WD system that senses road conditions to automatically adjust the balance of torque between front and rear wheels. On straight, dry p avement at medium speeds, it functions as a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. At higher speeds and on winding or snow-covered roads, torque is automatically shifted to the front wheels as needed for traction to make it a four-wheel-drive unit.

It is powered by a 3.2-liter, 210-h.p., 24-valve V-6.

Other features include dual air bags, ABS, 16-inch steel-belted radial tires, spare tire enclosed in the tailgate, recyclable and rust-resistant plastic lower body panels and composite bumpers, air conditioning, split folding rear seats, tinted glass, tilt wheel, power windows, power door locks, heated power mirrors, rearview video system with a dash display screen and optional global positioning navigation system.

Miata caught on Web

Mazda is preparing an all-new rendition of its Miata roadster for the '98 model year. Plans call for a public introduction at the Chicago Auto Show in February, site of Miata's original debut in March 1989, when the first 1990 model made its worldwide premier.

But the new Miata made an unscheduled debut on the Internet, as reported by Auto Week magazine in its April 27 issue.

Pictures Mazda provided for dealers on its Web site were caught by browsers, and though Mazda quickly removed the photos, a dealer retrieved and sent them to the magazine.

Popup headlights have been replaced by large, fixed lamps. Reportedly Miata also will be a bit longer and wider.

>> 1997 Land Rover Discovery SE Wheelbase: 100 inches Length: 178.7 inches Engine: 4-liter, 182-h.p. V-8 Transmission: 4-speed automatic EPA mileage: 14 m.p.g. city/17 m.p.g. highway Base price: $36,000 Price as tested: $37,345. Includes $625 for compact-disc player; $538 for brush bar; and $182 for floor mats. Add $625 for freight. Pluses: Full-time 4WD for poor weather or off-roading. ABS and dual bags. Meant for abuse. Minuses: Butt ugly. Roof line too low at the windshield header. Mileage not for faint of heart or low of budget. >>

    Expert Reviews 2 of 2

Featured Services for this Land Rover Discovery

  • Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.
  • Not sure what auto repair should cost you? Use our price estimator.
  • Get help with car repair now on Cars.com. Visit Repair & Care

Search Inventory Near You

Calculate Monthly Payment

What will my monthly cost be?

Check Payment

Calculate Affordable Price

What is the most I can afford?

Check Price

More Calculators

Compare finance offers to decide what's right for you.

Certain specifications, prices and equipment data have been provided under license from Chrome Data Solutions ("Chrome Data"). ©2013 Chrome Data Solutions, LP. All Rights Reserved. This information is supplied for personal use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever without the express written consent of Chrome Data. Chrome Data makes no guarantee or warranty, either expressed or implied, including without limitation any warranty of merchantability or fitness for particular purpose, with respect to the data presented here. All specifications, prices and equipment are subject to change without notice.