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Old 05-29-2002, 22:15   #1 (permalink)
 
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Disco's Moving To A Quieter Beat

It must be hard living under the shadow of a very successful big brother. But while the all-new Range Rover has been grabbing the limelight and snapping up awards, the Discovery continues to outsell it by four to one and remains Britain's most popular large off-roader by a massive distance.

How can it be kept that way? By copying the much-admired style of the bigger car. To discover if the ploy will work, we were first behind the wheel of the 2003 model year car, priced from £21,995. The new-style nose is arguably the biggest visual change to the Discovery since it was launched in 1989. Even the Series II model looked virtually the same as its predecessor, although nearly every part had been replaced. The newcomer looks classier and more distinctive, with overlapping headlights and stacked sidelamps that recall Land Rover's classic models.

There are changes to the back, too, with the indicators now relocated to the light clusters either side of the door rather than in the lower, bumper-mounted units. The smart Range Rover style is continued inside.

Although the emphasis is still very much on practicality for the family rather than opulence, three new trim colour options and improved materials give the cabin a classier feel. But looking good counts for nothing without refinement and manners, which is why Land Rover's engineers have worked hard to make the Disco quieter.

The engine range is unchanged, with a 138bhp turbodiesel or 184bhp 4.0-litre V8 petrol, and as with the current model the Td5 version is expected to account for 90 per cent of cars sold here. At start up, the engineers' efforts seem to have been in vain, as the five-cylinder unit still sounds gruff. On the move, though, the changes are more impressive, with alterations to sound- proofing and mountings making a noticeable difference to refinement at speed.

The Discovery is never going to slip through the air with the refinement of a Lexus, but it is less wearing on motorways than the outgoing model.

Whereas the old car had an alarming amount of pedal travel before the pads bit to give any meaningful deceleration, the new model has a far more responsive feel from the moment you tap the brakes. The downside to this is less adjustability in slippery conditions, but this is a small price to pay for the additional safety on-road.

But it's not all bad news for mud-pluggers, as the centre-locking differential, which gives extra traction in the most extreme off-road conditions, is back as an option. While the Discovery is just about unstoppable off-road, its ability on the tarmac now feels outclassed beside its rivals, despite the improvements. It's a real shame the Disco didn't get the Range Rover's latest engines to go with that new nose. Tom Barnard


Article from: Auto Express

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Old 05-30-2002, 00:24   #2 (permalink)
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It's pretty sure enough.

Still the Disco has a bit of a crisis of image, who is it appealing to?

The S1 was a simple RR chassis chop with tried and tested mechanicals.

The S2 was a face lift and with full electrics and ECU onboard became a little more distanced from the enthusiast and a little closer to a commodity.

As for the S3, Iím not sure what the market really is. I rarely see S2ís off road due to the additional complexity and Iím sure this will follow suite with the S3. However if the image is leveraged to the BMW and Lexus buyer it will lose an amount of its appeal to the ďenthusiastĒ. It may end up sitting on an uncomfortable fence with saloon car characteristics and an amount of off road ability, whilst being master of neither arena.

The older I get the more jaded I get.
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Old 05-30-2002, 00:33   #3 (permalink)
 
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Like the rangie all over. That got itself into the same mess
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Old 05-30-2002, 00:45   #4 (permalink)
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There is a letter in on of the UK mags at the moment around the Defender replacement.

It goes on to suggest that the image that is most appealing and indeed most definitive is the one it already has.

Surely if LR has a strong product and image the constant reinvention and moving ďup marketĒ only serves to alienate the enthusiast and dilute some of the design purity.

Iím not for an instant suggesting that we should all be running around in Series vehicles wearing green overalls and cursing these modern coil sprung LRís but it would be nice to see a new model introduced with had not only image but also mechanical appeal to the enthusiast.
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Old 05-30-2002, 01:00   #5 (permalink)
 
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I am sure most enthusiast would be aware of the 6 year plan that was announced on the launch of new Rangie.

There has been a change to that in that the defender has been pushed back and the small rangie has been moved forward.

Ford feel they need an X5 / m series alternative. It also gives them more time for the defender replacement. BMW didn't know how to handle it and now Ford don't seem too keen to tackle it
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Old 07-01-2002, 15:52   #6 (permalink)
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I find the change to the Disco ll puzzling. Sure there were problems with Disco l, Cambelts for example, but it is basically a simple car for users to get hands on servicing etc. I like to service mine I get to see aprts I would not otherwise and this means I keep a better check on it.

Disco ll seems to have had a number of recalls, and a lot seem to be about the ACE and suspension system not to mention th ABLS ecus. The new engine has also had some stick for low throttle operation.

I think there are a number of enthusiasts who do not want half or all of the added complexities which all seem to have evoked problems or recalls.

Lets have a simplified, if you like down market, version that is reliable and can be cheaply maintened - but alas I think that is too much to ask for.

When are Ford going to put one of their real diesels in the Disco?
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Old 07-03-2002, 10:14   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Jabber,

A fair set of points all round.

You can probably find my rants on other boards but in essence LR have an unpleasant fence to sit on. On one hand they have to appeal to the company car brigade and on the other hand the boiler suited enthusiast.

Iím happy to sit somewhere in the middle, and most importantly I like to feel Iím in with a chance if something goes wrong.

Still, if LR with the Series III continue to go down the route they are following in 4 or 5 years what chance will the enthusiast have?

If my Series I goes bang big time Iím heading back for a 90 or IBEX with a manual engine and not a new Disco, strange though the dealership canít understand why.

As an aside, did you manage to get yourself out into the Peaks?

Cheers,

Neil
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Old 07-03-2002, 11:07   #8 (permalink)
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No still in London! Hoping to get to the LRE show on the Friday, befroe all the goodies go.

Still wait and see the next revised Disco will be monocoque and I guess totally tuned to be a big tall car.

All the best,

John
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