Land Rover Discovery promises its target market two things: incredible power and versatility. While it never fails to amaze people of its capacity to easily handle heavy loads in challenging terrain, a car can never be too perfect. Like all other automotives, the Land Rover Discovery also has its fair share of faults. Nothing that can be too name-breaking, but something the consumers should be aware of. Below is a short discussion of the problems that plagues Land Rover Discovery owners.
Sure, the manufacturers of the Discovery made it a point to put comfort above everything else inside the cabin. Who would complain about sufficient leg room, right? However, the number one criticism received by the earlier models of the Land Rover Discovery was the very limiting cargo space inside the vehicle. This problem was resolved adequately when the Discovery made the move from a three-door format, to a five-door set up.
Despite being named the North American Truck of the Year, Motor Trend Magazine’s Sport/ Utility of the Year, and the Best Compact 4x4 by the WHATCAR? Awards in 2005, the Land Rover Discovery suffered several reliability issues. Side airbags and stability control were not available for the third generation model while all of its contemporaries have long been employing the aforementioned safety accessories. Albeit late, this problem was addressed during the introduction of the fourth generation Land Rover Discovery in 2009.
In 1999, the Discovery can be availed in two versions: a utilitarian SD and the high-end Series II. By the turn of the millennium, the SD version was dropped. The 2001 model year resurfaced the SD version but renamed it to Series II SD, on top of the newly-introduced Series II LE and Series II SE. By 2002, the Series II LE was dropped. Until finally, by 2003, all of the other trim versions were dropped and the vehicle returned to being known simply as the Discovery. See the flurry of trim changes? This erratic movement did not help the marketability of the vehicle at all; the consumers found the SUV less than value-oriented, since the trim level changes every year until 2003.
The Land Rover brand is of British origins, and the Discovery model line was introduced in 1989. Since then, the car has been a favorite among England’s royalty when the need for an off-road vehicle arises. The Land Rover Discovery is not just muscle under the hood after all; it also won the British Design Award the first year it was introduced to the market. Talk about utility and design that certainly feels upper-crust!
The first generation of the Land Rover Discovery was based on the chassis of the upscale Range Rover but was priced significantly lower to entice a larger market segment. The strategy proved to be effective since the need to manufacture a second-generation series did not arise after a good decade later.
Upon the opening of the 2001 model year, the second-generation Discovery pioneered the pocketed headlamps trend in the UK. The Range Rover and the Freelander instantaneously received facelifts that year in order to keep up with the fad.
The third generation of the Land Rover Discovery also proved to be cutting-edge as it employed a new type of body marketed as the “Integrated Body Frame”—the engine bay and the passenger compartment was built as a monocoque while the gearbox and the suspension used a ladder-frame chassis. This new format provided sturdier handling off-road.
The fourth-generation Land Rover Discovery garnered multiple awards since its conception in 2009. During a 2011 comparison test organized by Car and Driver magazine, the fourth-generation Discovery came in fourth place behind the Audi Q7, BMW X5, and Acura MDX. It also won Auto Express Review’s Best Large SUV category and Best Towcar category three years in a row, starting from 2009 until 2012.
In March 2012, the one-millionth Land Rover Discovery that rolled off the production line was converted into an amphibious vehicle and was driven from Solihull to Beijing, China to appear at the Beijing Motor Show. The same vehicle subsequently returned to England to go on a permanent exhibition at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust center at Gaydon, Warwickshire, England.
With the ability to plow through perilous ravines and vertigo-inducing mountain paths, the Land Rover Discovery created an SUV that offered road comfort and off-road busting capabilities. Designed to bridge the gap between Land Rover's gutsy Defender and the luxurious Range Rover, various models of the Discovery were released over the years. With the introduction of the the Land Rover Discovery 4, modern features were added to the Discovery which includes an air suspension and the Terrain Response system. Because of Land Rover's efforts to strike a balance between off-road capabilities and unparalleled comfort, more SUV enthusiasts are now choosing the Discovery. SUV owners should be take note of the Land Rover Discovery's common issues to better address them when they encounter these problems.
The Discovery's vehicle speed control is one of its most common problems. The vehicle's steering wheel coupler tends to overheat due to the chaffing of the cruise control wire. As a result, the driver's air bag restraint system is deployed prematurely, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
In 1998, a total of 54,488 Land Rover Discoveries were recalled to fix the vehicle speed control problem. Vehicle owners were advised to bring their Discoveries to the dealer so a fusible link can be installed to prevent the rotary coupler from overheating.
Due to the contact relays of the anti-lock brake system pump sticking and remaining closed when commanded to open by the ABS control unit, an audible alarm will sound off with the warning lamp illuminating. This lead to the anti-lock braking system to malfunction, and the vehicle inadvertently braked for a fraction of a second.
A total of 11,583 Land Rover Discoveries were recalled in 1999 to resolve the anti-lock brake system issue. Dealers were instructed to inspect their customer's vehicles and replace the malfunctioning ABS relay.
Some Land Rover Discovery models failed to comply with the requirements of the FMVSS no. 114, or also known as "Theft Protection". The automatic transmission's oil can be contaminated by water which leads to various failure modes of the transmission system. One of these errors is the Park Lock Function which lets the vehicle roll away if the handbrake isn't engaged properly.
Over 59,445 Land Rover Discovery units were affected by the recall in 2000. Discovery owners sent their vehicles to the dealers and the automatic transmission's breather tube was repositioned.