Premium midsize SUV; Built in England
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,400 – $3,100*


1994 Land Rover Discovery


1995 Land Rover Discovery


1996 Land Rover Discovery


1997 Land Rover Discovery SE


1997 Land Rover Discovery SE7 interior

Pros:
  • Antilock brakes
  • Ride
Cons:
  • Entry/exit
  • Fuel economy
  • Noise
  • Price

Range Rover/Land Rover is perceived to be a luxury vehicle by some people, but that’s definitely not the case with a Discovery. Interiors are surprisingly basic, unless the vehicle is fitted with leather upholstery. Before spending a wad of money on this vehicle, look at upscale versions of the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Overview

Land Rover expanded its sport-utility vehicle lineup in the spring of 1994, adding a new Discovery model to the existing Defender 90 and Range Rover. The new four-door wagon from the British Range Rover firm used a 182-horsepower 4.0-liter V8 engine. Permanently engaged 4-wheel drive was standard, with a 2-speed transfer case and either a 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic transmission. In standard form, a Discovery seated five, but twin center-facing rear seats were optional. Standard equipment included dual airbags and antilock all-disc brakes.

Yearly Updates

1995 Discovery
Side impact beams were installed on both front and rear doors for 1995.
1996 Discovery
For 1996, three models went on sale: SD, SE, and SE7, the latter with center-facing rear seats for 7-passenger capacity. The SD had a standard 5-speed manual transmission, with a new 4-speed automatic unit optional. A new 2-speed transfer case debuted during the 1996 model year; claimed to be quieter than its predecessor.
1997 Discovery
All three models got a burled-walnut dashboard. The SE and SE7 also gained a wood-trimmed center console and gearshift handle.
1998 Discovery
Only two trim levels were offered for ’98: LE and LSE. Other changes were minimal. Though styling stayed the same, Discovery was redesigned for ’99.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/4-wheel drive

Land Rover’s 4.0-liter, overhead-valve V8 engine produced 182 horsepower. Either a 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic might be installed in a Discovery. Automatic was standard on the 1996-97 Discovery SE, but optional on other models.

ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/241
Engine HP 182
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 233
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
12/16
12/16
12.6

Road Test

Acceleration is fairly lively in a Discovery, but no quicker than the 6-cylinder Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Explorer. Gas mileage is nothing to brag about. We averaged just 13 mpg in a blend of expressway and suburban driving.

Expect plenty of road noise and mechanical sounds, with constant gear whining.

The Discovery’s firm suspension manages to absorb most bumps smartly and does a good job of reducing body lean. Even so, it leans more in turns than a Grand Cherokee or Explorer, and the steering demands too much muscle at low speeds. Tall ground clearance is an advantage when off-road, but a hindrance to climbing aboard or exiting, and you tend to drive with your shoulder shoved against the door. Adults will feel comfortable in Discovery’s first two rows of seats, but the jump seats are best left to children.

Gauges are easy to see and well-lit at night. Cargo space is abundant. As for assembly quality, our test vehicles have felt rock-solid.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1997 Land Rover Discovery

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 4
40%
Fuel Economy - 2
20%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 4
40%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 7
70%

Other

Value - 2
20%

Total: 44

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
100.0 178.7 70.6 77.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
69.8 23.4 7
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.4 39.2 38.5 36.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1998 Discovery 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Front Passenger Injury - 3
60%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 157
Injury 81
Theft 126

Trouble Spots

Climate control
Description: The electrical connector for the rear defroster can short to the center high-mount stoplamp (CHMSL) and blow a fuse. When this happens, the transmission cannot be shifted out of park. (All)
Doors
Description: The sound-insulation pads in the doors can shift and plug the water drain holes which could lead to rust through. (All)
Hard starting
Description: Starting difficulty in cold weather has been traced to oil that is too thick and a computer PROM with the wrong calibration. (1994-95)
Sunroof/moonroof
Description: The sunroof may leak and water may drip from the latch or motor or front edge. (1994-96)
Transaxle leak
Description: The front-axle stub seals and the rear-axle hub seals tend to leak. (1994-96)
Vehicle shake
Description: The vehicle may vibrate when accelerating, especially between 30-40 mph due to a bad harmonic balancer or engine mount. (1994-95)

Recall History

1994-97
Description: Stress crack can develop in some plastic fuel tanks; can ultimately result in signs of fuel from underside of vehicle while filling (or especially, overfilling) the tank.
1994-98
Description: Chafing of cruise-control wire against steering-wheel coupler can cause insulation to fail; electrical grounding could then cause driver’s airbag to deploy.
1995
Description: Wrong-sized driveshaft nuts on some vehicles can loosen, ultimately causing one or both driveshafts to disconnect.
1995-96
Description: Right front door may not latch fully, causing door to “bounce” back off seals; could open while vehicle is moving.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.