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Land Rover Discovery, Land Rover Discovery Series II, Audio, Entertainment System, Navigation System, Performance Mods, SUV
#2008 of 5002 My afternoon at the Land Rover Driving School
Jun 04, 2002 (6:01 am)
I received a fabulous gift certificate from my wife for Christmas this year, 3 hours of instruction and trail ride at the Land Rover Off road Driving School in Manchester, VT. I'd been waiting until decent weather to go and this Sunday was it.
My wife and buddy Jack road along, we were met by my instructor, Greg Nicholas who walked us around the 2002 Discovery that we'd be driving. They keep their trucks stock except for a small winch bumper carrying a Warn9000. Stock suspension, stock tires... I was surprised. They only keep their vehicles for 5k miles, and then they get sold to dealerships as demos. Despite their hard use, they are quite sought after since they are impeccably maintained and all the lovely 4x4 bits get a regular workout.
We started out with Greg driving through the terrain of the school's private 4x4 playground. He explained about approach, breakover, and departure angles, demonstrated proper left-foot breaking, and showed how the various electronic traction controls and hill decent control works. The motto was "Slow as possible, Fast as necessary."
I think it is too bad that the Discovery has such a Soccer-mom rep because these trucks are ridiculously capable off road. They have a course set up with huge woopdeedoos, deep holes and off setting hills that put us in teeter-totter positions with the pass-side front and drivers-side rear wheels hanging in mid air with the other wheels on top of hills. There were also off camber side hills that have you staring straight down at the ground. Despite being a tall, narrow vehicle, the Discovery carries 80% of its weight below the midline of the door. This allows for a safe, but panty-twisting 30+ degrees of side-hill travel. Yikes! My wife said that this was the only time she was actually scared.
Then we went on to some hill-climbs. These really let the traction control shine… staying steady on the throttle and letting the truck just pull you up an over. Amazing!
Hill decent control is freaky. You put the truck into 4Low, and first gear, push the button, use some left foot breaking to ease over the crest, then take your feet off the pedals…. All you see is sky.. sky.. sky… then finally you are pointed 45° down the hill and weeeeeeeee…. The traction control uses the ABS and gearing to give you a slow, steady decent that is free of skidding and let's you steer the whole way. It's actually a bit faster then you initially feel comfortable with, but once you learn to trust the system, it is amazingly efficient.
We talked a lot about the advantages of the newer traction controls (99.5+ Discos) over the older Discos with locking center differential. He feels it is 6 of 1, half dozen of the other. Both do their jobs, and both will have scenarios where they will work better or worse then the other. He actually prefers the older, Series 1 Discos(94-98.5) for their mechanical simplicity, tidier dimensions, and larger aftermarket. He said the newer machines are FAT better put together and MUCH better on-road.
For our trail ride we headed to a local mountain trail to tackle a rockslide. This was a steep trail with many rock ledges along the way. Pinpoint tire placement and steady momentum would be necessary to avoid using the ledges in front as wheel chocks, and stopping our accent. Due to the narrowness of the trail, sidestepping the back end could also get us good and wedged in. Greg spotted me up, but 1 big bump caused me to back off the throttle and we were stuck. Lot's of slight back and forth didn't help and we had to winch over the biggest ledge. I wish I'd made it, but it was cool to learn how to properly use a winch.
Overall, it was a great afternoon. It showed me what a properly driven vehicle can do, even when stock. It gave me solid knowledge that I can use when I get my own 4x4, whatever it may be, and I gained even more respect for the British marquee that so vexes me.
I have about 40 minutes of video as a keepsake and a roll of film. I'll post some pictures when I get them developed. I'm off to cruise the eBay Land Rover pages.
A few other random LR notes from Greg…
• The Freelander is a hoot to drive ON-road, almost like a rally car, but can't handle the sort of heavy terrain that the Discovery and Range Rover does. He says you'd be surprised by where you CAN get it though.
• He just got back from CA and driving the new Range Rover and it is amazing. They are doing a big launch of it at the school and I'm hoping to get invited.
• His personal vehicles? Two Jeep Wranglers, based on cost and ability, nothing comes close. He's actually looking for a Series 1 Disco now that his newest Jeep is paid off.
• He started offroading in the Army, and has been doing it ever since. Teaching and guiding at the School is his full-time job. I meant to ask him how to get a gig like that but never did.
• He said most people are nice, but they get some real stinkers at the school too. He hates it when people don't listen and he even had one guy call him "Khaki-boy" once. He seemed happy to be out with just some "regular" folks.
Jun 04, 2002 (7:32 pm)
If I remember right I think he said the 2003 Disco should come out shortly after the new RR. June/July I guess. He said it was going to be "greatly" improved. Hope this helps.
Jun 05, 2002 (3:38 pm)
I will be getting an SUV summer 03 for my wife and we really like the Discovery but sine I am buying and this is no a cheap car, I want it to last and so my question is whether the 03 model will be greatly changing in the next 4 years, meaning since the 03 model is only slightly different from the 02 model (engine and lights) I do no want to have the 03 model and have totally redesigned as the Range is being redesigned for 2003, also what will be the HP on the 4.6 engine? THANK YOU.
Jun 05, 2002 (3:47 pm)
Specs for 4.6 are:
217 hp 4,750 rpm
300 lb-ft 2,600 rpm
the center diff lock is now back
I think the Series lll are due for 2005 and it's a complete redesign.
Jun 06, 2002 (1:44 pm)
Tincup - I read your bio and saw that you are shopping for a 2004 Defender 90. Do you know if LR will release a 110 model or something similar in size in the US?
BTW - I have a 2001 DII and have enjoyed every moment of ownership (yes she goes offroad all the time)
#2013 of 5002 I have joined the club!
Jun 07, 2002 (10:40 am)
Well, after having gone back and forth for the last six months trying to decide between a Freelander SE and a used (circa 1999/2000) Discovery II, I finally pulled the trigger this morning. I've always lusted for the Disco but just could never justify it. Then I started looking at the Freelander and it seemed perfect but in my heart I still wanted the Discovery.
I've just returned home from signing the papers for a brand new White Gold/Beige Discovery II SE. They were unloading it off the truck when I left and I can pick it up tonite at 6:00. I never thought I would have been able to get a new one but apparently there are some new incentives that just started in June so I was able to to get a very attractive lease. They were going to let me have the one that the office manager had been driving. It had 1500 miles on it but it was a Silver/Smoke combo. So even though they were giving me $1900 off MSRP for it, I really wanted White Gold/Beige.
I just wanted to thank the regulars for all the helpful advice/comments you give out, both good and bad. It really helped my decision making process. I'll probably stay in lurk mode most of the time but if I have something to contribute, I'll pipe up. You guys probably never realize how helpful you are for folks like me.
One last thing, the Disco won't be lonely for long. My wife's new MINI Cooper (Indie Blue/White Top) is due in on the 19th. It's currently on a cruise in the Atlantic somewhere. So our all German garage will become all British. With a bit of German ancestry of course. I'll post a picture of them side by side when it arrives.
Jun 07, 2002 (11:12 am)
Congrats on the new ride, and thanks for the post.
SUVs, Vans and Aftermarket & Accessories Message Boards
#2015 of 5002 trailer harness (anyone, anyone???)
Jun 07, 2002 (12:00 pm)
What's the deal with gettin a wiring harness for my 95 disco? I wanna haul a U haul don't have the wiring harness. Dealer in Tampa says," indefinitely on back order". "Or you can order one part then go and get another box to convert a4 lead to a 3 then go to the U-haul dealer to get the rest of the rig. " Anyone having the same problem or know where I can get the simple little $80 wire?
Also for future reference, how big a camper would you pull with a discovery?
#2016 of 5002 skipmcd-Lease Deal
Jun 07, 2002 (12:01 pm)
Would you be willing to tell me what kind of lease structure you were able to get? I am waiting for the 2003 and just was curious of your lease structure. AT $1900 off MSRP, thats a great deal. You can e-mail me at ATK952HOTMAIL.COM if you would like to talk offline. Thanks
Jun 07, 2002 (12:44 pm)
We purchased a landrover in Feb. and thought that we were making an investment on a good, tuff, trustworthy vehicle. However, I feel as if we got duped. It has been in the shop quite a bit for stupid things as well as a coolant leak. I have had it towed back to the dealer twice within 10 days. One of the tow guys commented on how he takes quite a few of these in because they get stuck in "park"- he claims this will happen to me as well. This concerns me greatly. Has anyone had problems with this supposed outstanding vehicle? Does BMW know what they inherited? Since they offer a comparable loaner and the problems haven't neccessarily been safety hazards, the Texas lemon law doesn't apply.....