Discovery I (1989 - 1998)
1989 October: The Land Rover Discovery was released in the U.K. in October 1989 to fill the ever widening gap between the luxurious Range Rover and the utilitarian Land Rover 90 & 110 (later Defenders). Development started in 1986 and was very rapid by British standards, aided by the fact that the Discovery made use of the coil suspension, engines and full-time four wheel drive transmission of the Range Rover (Classic) of the day.
The early Discovery came as a two-door with the 3.5-litre V8 petrol engine, the LT77 5-speed gearbox and LT230 transfer case with centre differaential lock. Later a 1994cc multi-point injection (Mpi) petrol engine was offered in European markets. Normal seating is for five, with two optional folding, inwards-facing seats under the distinctive stepped roof at the rear.
1994: The V8 engine grew to 3.9-litres, and LandRover's 300-series 2.5L 4-cylinder diesel Tdi (turbo-charged, direct injection, intercooled) was offered as an alternative. The diesel has a maximum boost of 0.8 to 1.0 bar and can perform as something approximating a 5L naturally aspirated diesel at full boost. The R380 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic could be had. A driver's air-bag was fitted and a passenger's air-bag became on option. Four-door Land Rover Discovery models were also introduced. (Rounding error increased the V8's capacity to a nominal 4-litres in 1995!)
1996: Bigger 235/70R16 tyres on alloy wheels became the default in 5-door Discoveries, in Australia at least. Other standard items include head-light washers, air conditioning, air bags and ABS brakes.
1997: $39,990 (`S') - $51,570 (`SE7') ($au 1997).
Discovery Series II (September 1998 . . .)
1998 September: The LandRover Discovery Series II, code name Tempest, had its press launch. The series II strongly resembles the series I, but is largely new, a little longer and a little wider, with self-levelling rear airbag suspension (4×coils on the base model), traction control said to remove the need to use diff'-locks, and hill descent control. The optional Active Cornering Enhancement (ACE) system uses accelerometers to sense cornering forces and controls hydraulic rams on the anti-roll bars to resist roll.
The longer rear body allows the optional third row of seats to face forwards instead of sideways - important for the 4WD school run.
Engine options are the V8 4.0 litre petrol 132kW (180hp) and a new `Td5' 2.5 litre five-cylinder turbo-charged and intercooled diesel 101kW (135hp). The new Discovery was at the Melbourne Motor Show, March 1999.
The LT230Q transfer case has been quietened (hence the Q). It does contain a diff' lock but this can only be engaged in emergency by crawling under the vehicle with a spanner - the Discovery II relies on the traction control system instead.
2002 model year: The transfer-case centre diff' lock was deleted - so it cannot be locked not even with a spanner in an emergency if (when) the electronic traction control has gone bye-bye.
2002 March: A face-lifted Discovery was shown at the New York motor show. The revisions included Range Rover SIII -style head-lights and a real, lockable, centre diff' lock.
2003: Rear Watts linkage
Discovery Series III (April 2004...)
April 2004: The Land Rover Discovery series 3 had its debut at the New York International Auto Show.
4.4-litre Ford/Jaguar origin petrol V8 (224kW) or 2.7-litre turbo diesel V6 (142kW, 440Nm), 6-speed automatic gearbox, full-time 4WD, independent electronic air suspension, five or seven seats. On sale in "the Australian market in Q4 2004."
Discovery Series 4 (2009 . . .)
2009, on sale
2011, September, .au:
Discoverey 4s were being advertised from au$75K, drive away.
2012, February 29: Jaguar Land Rover "celebrat[ed] the one millionth Land Rover Discovery manufactured at ... Solihull [by] setting off on an expedition ... to Beijing" -- JLR.
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