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2003 Discovery

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 3.5

Reviewed by 23 users

Build Quality
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About the Author

Reviews written: 5
View all reviews by mrcooolman

Less gas mileage but better handling, ride, pickup & power than average SUV.

by mrcooolman:      Jul 23, 2009

Product Rating: 5.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: Great handling, pickup, vision on the road, smooth ride, heated seats, sits super high.
Cons: Gas mileage, a little tippy (what SUV isn't?), replacement parts are expensive, limited dealerships.
The Bottom Line: If you want a vehicle that stands out, handles great, has great acceleration, holds 5-7 passengers, and more, get it! Don't expect a sports car in a luxury SUV.

Okay, so a lot of people start off by reading the cons....so YES, this does:
A) Get below-average gas mileage than an average SUV. (Constant 4WD & V8 4.6 Liter engine is why).
B) It is more expensive to replace parts. (Because it's a rare car)
C) It is a little tippy when taking turns fast. (But what SUV doesn't?)

But hey, it's
A) A unique car that not many people drive around
B) Permanently Engaged 4WD (Causing the poorer gas mileage but great handling)
C) Handles much better than the average SUV
D) Has more pickup than the average SUV (Causing the poorer gas mileage)

Pro's are:
A) The uniqueness of driving a Land Rover around town. 
B) Permanently engaged 4-Wheeled drive to give you much better handling (even on wet roads it handles great!)
C) Much better performance than an average SUV. 
D) Seats are great for road-trips (They are big, comfy, and if you get the cold-weather package, the seats are heated as well!). 
E) The second row seats have a storage net above them attached to the ceiling (cool feature for those riding in back). 
F) It rides really high, so you can see over everybody (you can also spot these in a crowded parking lot because they sit above almost all other vehicles. 

For those who are like me that like the actual specs and numbers: 

-All engines REQUIRE PREMIUM gasoline (rating of 90 or 92 octane)
-Manufacturer MPG Ratings: 10 City & 14 Highway. 
-My ACTUAL gas mileage: 12-13 City & 14-16 Highway (Depending if a/c  is running or not)
-Fuel tank is 25 Gallons
-Max speed (governed) 116 mph
-4.8 Liter V8 Engine
-Engine (from dry) holds 6.9 quarts of oil (5W30, 5W40, or 10W40  depending on climate and/or driver preference)
-Cooling system holds 13.7 quarts

-Overall length (including spare tire) is 185.2 inches
-Overall length (including tow hitch) is 185.2 inches as well
-Overall width (with mirrors folded in) is 77.0 inches
-Overall height (including integral side roof bars) 78.0 inches
-Overall height (open sunroof) 79.5 inches
-Wheelbase is 100 inches

Vehicle Weight:
-Approximate Curb Weights (EXCLUDING options)
-Vehicles with coil spring suspension: 4608-4718 pounds
-Vehicles with self-leveling suspension: 4641-4751 pounds

Towing weights:
-Unbraked trailers : 1650 pounds maximum
-Trailers with brakes: 5500 pounds maximum (in high gears)
-Trailers with brakes: 7700 pounds maximum (in low gears)
-Roof rack load (including weight of roof rack): 110 pounds maximum
-Tongue Weight: 550 pounds maximum

Misc. Specs:
Tire pressures are oddly different for the front and back:
-Normal Conditions: Front: 30 psi, Rear: 38 psi
-Vehicle loaded to max gross weight: Front: 30 psi, Rear: 46 psi

Actual Review:
I read a lot of reviews on this site and a lot of people complained that the gas mileage was poor on these. Obviously they will get poor gas mileage since it's a V8 4.6 liter that has a permanently engaged 4-wheel drive system, not counting that this rock-crawler sits 6 feet, 6 inches tall (not including the luggage racks or the sun-roofs being open (anybody ever heard of wind resistance?). I've only had mine for a couple months, and even though the repairs are expensive, and the gas being quite expensive due to it requiring premium gasoline along with the not-so-great gas mileage, I still love it!

I can smoke quite a few rice-burners out on the road, along with the occasional truck who thinks that he's hot stuff. Great acceleration for on the highway too, I can usually hit 90 mph on the on-ramp and it still wants more. I had mine put in the shop, and I told the mechanic to test it "FULLY and by any means necessary" because of a big road trip that was coming up. He later informed me that mine doesn't have a governor like most do (most are governed at 116 mph), and that without the governor on it, it can do 120 mph UP the Appalachian mountains on I-65. So needless to say, when you drive down the road, you can feel the engine pull effortlessly as it pulls you to your next destination. 

The transmission has a high-gear and a low-gear, high-gear for everyday use, and low-gear for towing excessive weights or for rock-crawling. You can switch the vehicle to a manual transmission (only in low gear) using the "mode" button next to your shifter, and you are able to put it in "Sport Mode" using the "mode" button only when the transmission is in high gear. The sport mode gives you better acceleration and causes the gas pedal to be much more sensitive, burning more gas, but giving you better performance (I can squeal my tires in regular mode, but I can smoke them in Sport mode). 

For it being as big as it is, it's got a great viewing distance when I'm driving, the mirrors are a little small, but cover everything that I need to see. Another great thing about it being 6' 6", is that you can see it in most crowded parking lots because it sits a couple inches higher than all of the other cars. Although, a bad thing about it being so tall is that it's a little tippy when taking turns at extreme speeds (Although if you drive the speed limit, you won't ever have a problem). But for those who do have a lead-foot, they offer a feature in their SE, and HSE versions called an ACE (Active Cornering Enhancement) System. When you take turns/curbs at extreme speeds, or you are just rock-crawling, the ACE system will adjust the vehicle so that the frame of the vehicle is adjusted to the ground beneath it (for maximum traction), while the cabin of the vehicle sits completely level, therefore preventing the vehicle from tipping as bad (and giving the drivers and passengers a smoother ride). 

As for inside of the vehicle, it is a little confusing at first, but fun because it looks so ritzy and quirky (in a good way). All of the "essential" controls are at the finger-tips of the driver; cruise control (with resume, accel, and set on the right-hand side of the wheel), Wipers on the right lever of the wheel, turn signals on the left obviously, with the lights attached to the turn-signal knob, and radio controls with Volume, Scan/Seek, and Mode on the left hand side of the wheel as well.

There are two separate temperature adjusters for the driver and the passenger, which makes it a great plus for long road-trips when you're hot, and their cold. Some of the vehicles are equipped with rear air which also helps out the passengers in back if you have your vehicle loaded up with people. When on road-trips the cargo-netting above the second-row seats works great for passengers to store cell phones, wallets, and such above so that they don't have to dig through their pockets while traveling. 

One thing I don't like is that the power window controls for up front are on the center console, it takes some time getting used to because you have the controls for the rear two windows on the same console as well. Radio is great, some come with a GPS, mine in specific comes with a cassette and a 6-disc CD changer that is located under the passenger seat. The basic stereo system comes with a 6-speaker system, while the premium comes with more speakers, a bigger amplifier, and integrated subwoofers in the rear door. One nifty thing about the radio antenna is that it's located in the rear window, it looks like a defroster. 

If you have the cold-weather package, this adds features to your Disco such as dual-heated front seats, a heated front windshield (yes, there are actual coils in the front window), and rear defrosters as well. All of the rear seats fold down to store larger items such as if you are moving. Most people want to get an estimate of what you can put in one of these, and I was able to put a queen-sized mattress flat on the floor when I moved my two best friends out of their apartment. The mattress didn't fit easily or anything, but it did fit flat. 

An option in all Discovery's was the additional jump seats in the back, which makes the vehicle a 7-seater with an additional third row. When the package is ordered, a hydraulic stair is added to the back of the vehicle so that passengers in the third row can enter and exit the vehicle easier. The fold-out seats aren't terrible to sit in, there is limited leg room unfortunately, but they do come in great handy when needed. Most of the time mine stay folded up and out of the way, and no one even knows that I have a 7-seater vehicle. Passengers that have sat in the third row have commented that the "oh crap!" bars work great back there, and that the side-light windows are a very unique and cool feature on the Disco. 

Overall, I love this vehicle, and I can't wait to test it in the snow this year! Although the gas mileage is less than an average SUV, the handling, better acceleration, and cool design of the vehicle make up for it. 

Bottom Line: If you want a vehicle that stands out, handles great, has great acceleration, capable of holding 5-7 passengers, and much more, get it! Although, beware! As another author wrote: "It's not a sports car!", don't expect a sports car in a luxury SUV, it's just not going to happen. Do all the research you can, know as much as you can about it before you buy it so that there are no surprises. 
Amount Paid (US$): 8500
Condition: Used
Model Year: 2003
Model and Options: Type-S
Product Rating: 5.0
Recommended: Yes 
Build Quality  
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