Land Rover is under new ownership. Ford recently acquired the British automaker from BMW as the latest addition to its Premier Automotive Group of luxury brands, where it joins Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lincoln and Volvo.
Discovery is a less-expensive companion to the Range Rover, the flagship model for this purveyor of luxury offroad vehicles. The Series II designation denotes extensive styling, as well as interior and mechanical changes made for the 1999 model year.
This year, a lower-priced base model called SD arrives with standard power front seats and Duragrain upholstery, which Land Rover says has the durability of vinyl but the appearance of perforated leather. Cloth was standard last year.
Discoverys overall length of 185 inches is about the same as the Chevrolet Blazers, but its 74-inch width is 6 inches wider. Discoverys most imposing dimension is height, which at 76 inches, is taller than a Chevrolet Suburban. A full-size spare tire is mounted on the tailgate, which opens to the right.
Seats for five are standard, and a pair of rear jump seats is optional to increase capacity to seven. Unlike older models, the jump seats face forward, instead of inward, on current models.
Options include leather upholstery which you have to buy if you want the dual sunroofs rear air conditioning (which requires the optional rear seats) and a six-CD changer. Both the middle and rear seats fold to create 70 cubic feet of cargo space.
Under the Hood
An aluminum 4.0-liter V-8 engine produces 188 horsepower and comes with a four-speed automatic transmission. A permanently engaged 4WD system that splits power as needed for maximum grip is standard and has a two-speed transfer case with a low range for extreme offroad conditions.
Four-wheel traction control is standard. Hill Descent Control that kicks in on steep declines, Active Cornering Enhancement that stiffens to reduce body lean in turns and an air-spring self-leveling rear suspension are optional.