2001 Land Rover Discovery

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2001 Land Rover Discovery
Available in 3 styles:  2001 Land Rover Discovery 4dr AWD shown
Asking Price Range
$1,646–$9,886
Estimated MPG

13 city / 17 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 3

By 

chicagotribune.com
Talk about diversity.

The delivery man brought a raft of vehicles at just about the time Ma Nature (or is it Ms. Nature; this PC thing gets confusing) dumped on roof and road.

Quite a selection, a Chrysler PT Cruiser, an Audi Allroad Quattro wagon and a Land Rover Discovery II, all 2001 versions.

While the four-wheel-drive Discovery II would appear to be the obvious choice to handle the weather, the all-wheel-drive Allroad Quattro became the vehicle de jour.

Not that the Discovery II isn't meant to play in the snow, sand, streams or mountains, but when it comes down to the basics--good looks--Allroad takes the prize. When it comes to appearance, Discovery II is the Yasser Arafat of motorized vehicles.

As for the PT Cruiser? All-show, no-go in the snow?

Nope, the test vehicle came with optional four-wheel anti-lock brakes and traction control that made it surprisingly sure-footed.

The PT Cruiser, however, could use a little more power, even if the folks from DaimlerChrysler insist that PT stands for Personal Transportation and the vehicle is meant to cruise, not race, which will be the job of the GT Cruiser when it joins the stable.

But don't look for a GT until supplies catch up with demand for the PT. Considering D/C can't build the PT fast enough to meet stockpiled orders though it now has capacity for 180,000 annually and adds 50,000 more next year from its plant in Graz, Austria, there's no need to add another version to attract even more crowds and disappoint even more consumers. So be patient, there will be a GT and there will be a panel van version, but they'll come when D/C needs to prop up sales.

Cruiser bowed last March as an early '01 model. Running changes were added in September for what is called the normal '01 model:

Locating all four power-window switches in the center of the instrument panel as well as keeping rear-window switches in the center console (front-seat occupants had to reach behind the console to use the rear-window controls before this change).

Offering an optional AM/FM stereo with single CD player.

Adding a manually adjustable lumbar support to the driver's seat (a thicker cushion, especially for the back on this rather stiff seat, would have been more welcome).

Adding optional heated front seats as well as an optional storage compartment under the passenger's seat.

The PT continues to command stares, though we aren't sure whether it's admiration or folks simply wanting to look at who was foolish enough to pay $5,000 over sticker for one of these things.

The retro styling is still the reason for getting one. The 20-m.p.g. city/25-m.p.g. highway mileage rating from the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is also a big plus, as is the wealth of cargo room whether you fold the seats or not.

While the base price is only $15,935 (up $485 since May, when the $550 destination charge was raised $1 5 as well), the options just don't quit and boosted the sticker to more than $20,000.

For $1,215 you can opt for a Luxury Touring group, though other than 16-inch tires instead of the standard 15-inch radials, about the only other item in the package worth getting is the softer-sprung touring suspension designed for smoother ride and handling.

And though a stiff $790, don't do without the ABS and traction control, which let Cruiser perform just as well on weather-whipped roads as vehicles twice its size--and price.

Automatic ($825), sunroof ($725) and side air bags ($350) are worth considering, though costly.

Other than stiff front seats, the major gripe is that the low-slung nose is a trap for snow if you leave your prize outside. Buy an optional brush.

AUDI ALLROAD QUATTRO

Audi calls it a crossover vehicle, a combination sedan/wagon/SUV. Whatever the name, it's a station wagon. Get used to the look, b ause every automaker either is offering or is preparing to offer a vehicle like this.

The Allroad has two basic strengths, its twin turbocharged 2.7-liter, 250-horsepower V-6 teamed with 5-speed automatic with Tiptronic clutchless manual shifting, and its all-wheel-drive Quattro system.

With the twin turbos, the Allroad is a bullet. You pay the price in mileage--15 m.p.g. city/21 m.p.g. highway--for the performance of a sports coupe or sedan.

With Quattro, you travel at ease. Whether roads are clean or cluttered with snow and rain, Allroad sits flat in the sharpest corner and the tightest turn. This thing stays glued to the road. When the offramp starts twisting sharply right, rather than ease off the accelerator or gently apply the brake pedal, you nudge that accelerator and gain momentum for your merge ahead.

If you want off-road adventure or if the snow is piled real deep, the variable-height pneumatic suspension allows you to push a button to raise the suspension up to 2.6 inches. At any speed more than 50 m.p.h., the suspension automatically adjusts to its lowest setting.

As an added benefit, Electronic Stabilization Program, or ESP, is standard. Similar to Cadillac's StabiliTrak, ESP is a lateral-movement stability-control system that monitors vehicle dynamics and employs the ABS or regulates fuel flow to the engine when it senses the vehicle is starting to slide or moving from the path dictated by the direction of the steering wheel.

Difficult to find any spot in this vehicle that doesn't hold a storage compartment, including the driver's door. Though this idea is very sound, the execution is poor. If you just touch the door with your foot when exiting, which isn't hard to do, the storage pouch pops open. More than just an annoyance.

Notable Allroad features include side air-bag curtains; pinch-protection power windows that retract when an object is detected in their path; tool and first-aid kits; puddle lamps under the outside mirrors to light up your exit at night; rear parking assist (sensors spot and warn of objects behind when backing up); and an array of cupholders and power plugs.

Base price: $41,900. All the power goodies are standard.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY II

When the going gets tough, the tough run down to the third stall in the garage and pull out the Discovery.

The worse the conditions, the better the Discovery II responds; it's just that you won't find many mountain streams blocking your way on the Edens Expressway or many sand dunes in your path on the Kennedy Expressway.

Discovery is an odd-looking box with a short wheelbase yet high center of gravity that allows for body lean and sway in turns.

You sit high for a command of the road, as well as to keep adequate distance between you and the snow, sand or water when taking an off-road adventure.

The Discovery II is powe red by a 4-liter, 188-h.p. V-8 designed to provide optimum power to get going regardless of the conditions but not necessarily to race the guy in the sedan next to you. The 13-m.p.g. city/17-m.p.g. highway rating is evidence that Discovery II is best suited for stall three in the garage rather than as your everyday, all-season commuter.

Base price: $34,350. Add $1,500 for dual electric sunroofs that provide ventilation for occupants in front or rear cabin.

Standard equipment includes full-time 4WD with a transfer case for 4WD low when the going gets tough; electronic traction control; four-wheel ABS; front and rear fog lights; dual-zone climate control; power windows/locks/seats/mirrors (heated); and AM/FM stereo with cassette.


    Expert Reviews 2 of 3

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