It is not easy to find the perfect formula in making a car that does everything, but in 1989, Land Rover seemed to have found it. Specializing in four-wheel drives, Land Rover introduced the captivating Land Rover Discovery, a fusion of the Land Rover Defender and the Range Rover. Other automakers have manufactured cars made from fused models, but this jewel was different in that it was a four-by-four that could assault any condition it was subjected to—a real workhorse, in short. The Discovery has evolved through four generations as of 2012, and through these developments, it has remained a genuine lifestyle accessory that can be pitted against rocks and ravines.
1989: Discovery Series I (the five-door SUV)
The first Discoverys to come out run on four-cylinder engines, which were not again used in the succeeding models. The pioneer units were first available as three-door models, but the five-door versions became available soon after due to the increasing customer favor. The units could squeeze 182 horsepower and 233 pound-feet of torque out of their 4.0-liter V8 engine. Beige and light blue were the available interior colors, and the standard features offered were a keyless entry and cruise control and power accessories. Optional features were a third-row seat, a CD player, roof bars, front driving lights, alloy wheels, and a range of metallic paints.
1999: Discovery Series II (the SUV with 720
The next generation of Discoverys included 720 modifications from the Series I. The models looked less utilitarian from the inside out primarily due to the added body length to increase load space. These units run on an inline five-cylinder engine that could still provide the same off-road capability as the Defender. Cornering roll was reduced with the introduction of a hydraulic anti-roll bar system. The external configurations that were noticeable were the pocketed headlamps, rear turn and brake lamps, and the rest of the lights that were positioned above the window line.
2004: Discovery 3 (the stronger, more luxurious SUV)
In this generation, a new body construction method was used in the units. Land Rover used what is called an Integrated Body Frame where the passenger compartment and engine bay were built as a monocoque, which was connected to the chassis. Having this technology seemed to be a little downside because the models became heavier, compromising agility and performance. The models also had a full independent suspension that enabled ride-height adjustment by pumping or deflating the airbags. Despite some downsides, ride quality could be experienced both during off-road and high-speed driving; the road clearance of the units could be adjusted for better handling. Other improvements included a multiple electronic traction control system, an on-board computer system, a DVD navigation system, and other luxurious perks.
2009: Discovery 4 (the upgraded Discovery 3)
Units made in this generation merely had improvements from the previous ones. The look of the models was made smoother by restyling the front and rear lights, front grille, and bumper. To provide a better engine output, two turbochargers were used; the first one was a variable geometry turbocharger at low engine speeds, while the other one was a standard turbo at higher engine speeds. Of course, the interiors were updated by restyling the instrument cluster and installing a TFT screen that displayed tons of data in different modes and formats. There was an optional Surround Camera System that allowed the installation of cameras in the headlamps, rear tailgate handle, and wing mirrors; this let the driver see the outside of the vehicle from various angles when off-road or parking. These models were also made fuel efficient with the use of a Smart alternator, which only charged the battery during a low-load engine.