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Land Rover Discovery

Since its first release in 1989, the Land Rover Discovery has pushed the envelope in delivering a powerful engine but the latest in technological doodads and comfort for the interior. Opinions on Discovery may be mixed, but there is no denying the influence this model has had, nor the devoted following this SUV has inspired.

Discovery was the proverbial game-changer for the Land Rover line, as this model only effectively *created* the very line by dint of its production in 1989 as the third distinct class of Land Rover; the Discovery forced the rebrand of its originals.

The chief technological innovation that Discovery brought to the market was its revolutionary turbodiesel engine, a seriously powerful engine influential enough to change the rechristened original Land Rover Defender – and, let’s face it, most of the SUV market – within two years of Discovery’s launch.

Five generations of Land Rover Discovery

After its first year of release, Land Rover launched the 1991 models with for doors and V8 engine. Discovery Series II was introduced in 1998 and was touted more for its on-road, comfort aspects.

But hey, new century, new sensibility, right? In the 2000s, the Discovery was tweaked once more while model number was stripped of brand name and Roman numerals but augmented with an acronym: The Land Rover LR3 boasted a full independent air suspension and its patented (?) “Integrated Body Frame” design. Announcement of the LR4 was something of a soft reboot, as design-wise little changed from the LR3, but enough changes to engine and transmission apparently warranted this new branding in 2009.

Finally, the “Discovery” returned to the brand for a fifth generation of the model in 2016.The Land Rover Sport, as the name cheerfully makes clear, plays up adventuring-style use of this SUV. And there’s certainly potential aplenty for that in this Discovery, with a 3-liter diesel V8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission.

Land Rover Discovery touted as best of both worlds

Back in its days as the LR4, Land Rover billed the Discovery as a mdi-sized SUV that was affordable yet luxurious, off-road ready yet drivable in the city. Ever since Land Rover got beyond the three-door Discovery of 1989, the company has attempted to straddle the line in an appeal to mainstream North American drivers.

As to whether Land Rover succeeded in being all things to a certain demographic is up to the individual driver (see directly below for a brief bit on Land Rover Discovery Sport reviews), the truth is that the original Discovery took the SUV concept to another level with its powerful engine and spiffy electronics inside.

Buzz on the first Land Rover Discovery Sport so-so

The reboot/relaunch of the Land Rover Discovery certainly piqued the attention of auto enthusiasts all over the world – after all, the name “Land Rover” has become iconic in a world of soccer moms. Though from the vantage point of a few years out, the first Discovery Sport seems to be aging well in the estimation of those weighing in online, critics in ’16 were mostly decidedly indifferent.

U.S. News & World Report’s extensive year-end review of car models that year scored the Land Rover Discovery at a 7.4 on a 10-point scale, resulting in a rank of just 12th in the “2016 Luxury Compact SUVs” category; in the next three years, the Discovery would rank 17th, 14th and 14th. Clearly not fans over there…

By contrast, the guys over at the official website of BBC’s Top Gear have been won over to the Discovery Sport, calling it the best vehicle in the luxury compact class and delivering a verdict of “Close to perfection, and the new TD4 ‘Ingenium’ engine [in the 2019 model] may just have delivered it.

For more news, views, reviews and information on the newest Land Rover Discovery models and technology, bookmark this page of mediaLandRover and check back often!