The Land Rover Discovery turns 21 this year, and there's never been a better time to grab a bargain.
In fact, we'd even go so far as to say that, right now, the Land Rover Discovery is one of the finest and best-value used family cars in the world.
It wasn’t always this way, of course. With their blue-grey plastic-and-cloth interiors and patchy reliability, the earliest Discos didn’t exactly carve out a reputation for flawlessness.
But the Discovery improved greatly in its second generation, engineered under BMW, and took a giant leap forward in quality, refinement and dependability when the 2004 version was introduced.
So much so, in fact, that when the Discovery 3 was released, this magazine called it “a superlative all-rounder”.
Now, more than five years later, that car has become one enormously tempting secondhand option; its incredible every-occasion versatility and any-weather usability can be bought for less than £15,000.
Find out how in our guide below. To find out more, read the full story in this week's Autocar magazine, on sale now.
Fuel tank, exhaust and air compressor could be vulnerable to underbody damage by rocks and verges, but Discos are so rarely used off road that it’s not anything to worry about. Disco’s hybrid monocoque chassis is as robust as any.
V6 diesel autos are the most common models. The 2.7 lump is quiet and won’t cause problems if given regular oil changes. Be wary of previous owners who’ve chipped their cars to remedy its Achilles’ heel: a shortage of grunt.
Air-sprung cars have a problem with compressors. “A compressor will only last four or five years,” says Kevin Gallagher of Les Pauls Motors. “They’re £350 plus fitting to repair. Beware of cars that don’t sit level, or that take longer than about 10 seconds to pump up on their springs.”
Smart, well stocked and hard-wearing for the most part; worn or broken seat bolsters are the only things to look out for. “People tend to want leather seats, so expect to pay a bit less for cloth. But don’t worry about those flat-fold seat mechanisms,” says Gallagher.
If you want heated leather, sat-nav and a premium audio system, look towards SE and HSE spec; basic S models are often manuals with five seats, steel springs and matt plastic bumpers and wheel arch extensions. Steel springs are less comfy but more reliable.
Variable service indicator can put 18k miles between pitstops, but oil changes more frequent than that are advisable. A minor one will cost under £300 at a specialist, a major one about £450. Engine is due a belt-change service at 105,000 miles.