Land Rover overhauled its Discovery model for 1999, giving it a wider, longer body, new dashboard, an updated V-8 engine and the Series II designation to denote the extensive changes. Discovery is built by Rover, a British manufacturer owned by BMW, and is the lower-priced half of the company’s U.S. lineup. The Range Rover models are the upper crust.
Seats for five are standard, and a pair of rear jump seats are optional to increase capacity to seven. The jump seats face forward on current models, instead of inward, as on older models. Options include leather upholstery, which you have to buy if you want the dual sunroofs; rear air conditioning, which requires the optional rear seats; and a six-disc CD changer. Both the middle and rear seats fold to create 70 cubic feet of cargo space.
Last year’s redesign stretched the body more than six inches to 185 and increased the width nearly four to 74.4. Discovery’s most imposing dimension is its height, which at 76.4 inches makes it stand taller than a Chevrolet Suburban. A full-size spare tire is mounted on the tailgate, which opens to the right.
Under the Hood
The aluminum 188-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-8 comes with a four-speed automatic transmission. A permanently engaged 4WD system, whichsplits power as needed for maximum grip, is only the starting point in Rover’s attempts to keep owners moving and headed in the right direction. A two-speed transfer case has a low range for extreme off-road conditions, and four-wheel traction control is standard. Options include an air spring self-leveling rear suspension, Hill Descent Control, which kicks in on steep declines, and Active Cornering Enhancement, which stiffens to reduce body lean in turns.