2000 Land Rover Discovery (282)

Overview:
The 2000 Land Rover Discovery provides a different “touch of class” to the SUV market. It’s not quite as different as the Hummer is, but it does have that look of take’n care of business. You know, safari style. It isn’t without its faults, but by and large there is little to complain about

A few things that I started to be picky about began with the impaired visibility due to the headrest in the middle of the rear seat. I thought I had found a legitimate complaint but it turned out to be one of many thoughtful touches. I simply had to pull the armrest down and down went the headrest. Wa-la, instant improvement of the rear view. Placement of the door handle inside also bugged me. You must reach down to open the door and that could have been rectified by placing the handle higher on the door. I also had a problem with the power seat adjustments placed on the side of the console. It’s more difficult to reach than it needs to be. And finally, I couldn’t fathom why there was a gearshift indicator on both sides of the shift lever. But then it became clear that this SUV is nearly a perfect “mirror image” on both sides of the interior. Most of the controls are exactly centered for equal access by both driver and passenger. I wondered if there was a steering wheel tucked away somewhere on the passenger side to provide a true co-pilot position.

The Land Rover has been around since 1948 and is sold in 100 countries. If you’re like me you visualize it on the sands of some far away desert or parked by a pyramid in Egypt. But you even find them in Beverly Hills where they can be seen scaling the heights of speed bumps or fighting their way through traffic on Rodeo Dr.

Handling & Performance:

Discovery handles extremely well. The suspension and front and rear sway bars give it a solid feel and the V8 engine is very responsive. I really didn’t expect it to handle as well as it does because it is taller than most SUV’s.

Styling:

Different, but it grows on you. The statement it would make if it could talk is that “I don’t care what you think I should look like, I\’m a ‘Real’ off road vehicle. I make no bones about the fact that Function is more important than Form. I am what the Nissan Xterra only tries to portray.” That may even be true, but Xterra is trying to appeal to the younger set and really isn’t competition for this Discovery. Well, you be the judge.

Fit and Finish:

It’s very good but because it has that rugged “military vehicle” look, you don’t pay as much attention. I like the way the two jump seats in a third row fold away easily and neatly. The rear seats also fold away easily as well.

Cost:

The model I tested included some nice stuff but it added about $9 grand that you could live without – like two electric sunroofs. Quite frankly I was surprised at the price and simply had thought they cost more than they do.

Recommendation:

Even if you don’t end up buying one, I recommend you test drive it anyway.

The Competition:

Acura SLX $36,300, Chevrolet Blazer $18,970-31,570, Dodge Durango $25,975-27,975, Ford Explorer $19,970-34,375, GMC Envoy $34,170, Infinity QX4 $35,550, Jeep Grand Cherokee $26,570-34,345, Lexus RX 300 $32,505-33,905, Mercedes M-Class $35,300-64,900, Mitsubishi Montero $31,370, Oldsmobile Bravada $31,398, Toyota 4Runner $21,938-36,466.

Good News:

Thoughtful touches that set it apart from the crowd, handles well, powerful, function over form.

Bad News:

Terrible fuel consumption, poorly placed power seat controls and inside door handles.

Standard Equipment:

4.0 liter 188 horsepower V8 engine, 4-speed automatic trans, permanent four wheel drive, traction control, 4-wheel power anti lock disc brakes, dual airbags, child locks, front and rear fog lights, keyless entry, dual climate control, power windows, power o/s mirrors, tilt leather wrapped steering wheel, leather, 6-way power front seats, 12 speaker audio system with cassette and weather band, dual electric sunroofs, third row seating with audio controls, leather seating.

Gas Stats:

13 City and 17 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $43,375

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