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By Jim Flammang
September 26, 2003
Vehicle Overview Land Rovers midsize sport utility vehicle earned a fresh look, akin to the larger, newly redesigned Range Rover, for the 2003 model year. The interior was refurbished, the V-8 engine gained power, and improvements to the braking and suspension systems were introduced.
Three versions are available: base S, midlevel SE and top-of-the-line HSE. For 2004, a manual locking center differential has been added to the standard four-wheel traction control. A new Aero Roof Rail System is installed, and a DVD player is newly available for the S and SE trim levels.
Owned by Ford, Land Rover is part of the Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover organization. In addition to the posh Range Rover, Land Rover offers the smaller Freelander.
Even though the Discovery retained what the manufacturer calls its iconic profile, the new family face was inspired by the redesigned Range Rover. Turn-signal indicators appear on the upper vertical light cluster for improved visibility by traffic to the rear. Last years new front bumper improved the Discoverys cross-country ability over rocky ground by providing a better approach angle.
The Discovery has a separate body mounted to a ladder frame at 14 rubber-insulated points. The quarter panels, rear door and hood are composed of aluminum alloy.
Four-wheel Electronic Traction Control and Hill Descent Control systems are standard. Options include Active Cornering Enhancement, which minimizes roll through bends. Rear fog lamps are installed on all models. Alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires on the S model, but the SE and HSE ride on 18-inch tires. The Discovery rides on a 100-inch wheelbase, measures 185.2 inches long overall and stands 76.4 inches tall.
The Discovery seats five people in standard form and up to seven when fitted with optional equipment. The SUV features powered front seats and a 60/40-split, folding rear seat. Duragrain upholstery goes into the S model, while the SE and HSE are equipped with leather seating surfaces.
Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, keyless entry with central locking and an auto-dimming inside mirror. The SE edition has burled wood interior trim, a premium 220-watt audio system with 12 speakers, a six-CD changer, dual tilting and sliding sunroofs, and headlamp washers. Automatic leveling, a Park Distance Control reverse warning system and a 320-watt Harman Kardon audio system with Becker GPS navigation capability go into the HSE model.
A Rear Seat option package for all models consists of forward-facing third-row seats and a hydraulic rear step for easier access. Cargo space totals 63.3 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.
Under the Hood
Land Rovers 4.6-liter V-8 engine produces 217 horsepower and 300 pounds-feet of torque. The automaker says the Discovery can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 9.5 seconds. A four-speed-automatic transmission teams with permanently engaged four-wheel drive, which includes a two-speed transfer case. The Discoverys towing capacity reaches 7,700 pounds in Low range for a trailer with brakes. No-brake trailers are limited to 1,650 pounds.
LATCH child-safety seat tethers, electronic traction control and all-terrain antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution are standard. A collision-activated inertia switch unlocks the doors, turns off the fuel pump and activates the hazard lights. Side-impact airbags are not available.