Emerging competition from Japanese four wheel drive vehicles such as the Isuzu Trooper and Mitsubishi Shogun saw Land Rover enter the 'lifestyle' vehicle market in 1989 with the introduction of the exciting Land Rover Discovery. Effectively a re-bodied Range Rover 'Classic' using the same chassis and running gear, the new Discovery appealed to a younger, more dynamic, market, and was sold with bright and bold colour schemes and striking interior trim by Jasper Conran, a trendy designer then at the height of fashion.
Originally offered with 3 doors and twin carburettored V8 petrol or an all-new 200 Tdi Diesel engine, the 5 door version came to market very soon afterwards, and a 7 seat option was highly popular with families. The excellent Rover V8 engine later became fuel injected, and by 1993 was available in the larger and more powerful 3.9 litre capacity. Time has proven the 200 Tdi engine to be arguably the best engine ever produced by Land Rover; tractable, simple to maintain, and virtually indestructible, it revolutionised Land Rover's fortunes and cemented their reputation for reliability and cutting edge design.
These days many early Discovery vehicles have been modified or used for off-roading as a cheaper alternative to the Defender, and corrosion has affected their longevity. The stylish interiors have not worn well over the years, and good, unmolested examples are extremely rare indeed. As easy to maintain, cheap, family 4x4s, the early Land Rover Discovery remains top of most people's lists, and will continue to be sought after as we hark back to days when robust vehicles ruled the road without complicated and sophisticated electronic aids. Spare parts and accessories are widely available, and service item costs are extremely reasonable - check our parts website listings for prices.1994 saw the introduction of the facelifted 300 Tdi engined Discovery with larger headlights and modernised interior.